The decision to homeschool Lil’ Man was one of the biggest and hardest decisions we have made at this point in our parenting. So many factors were at play with choosing to send him to public school, private school, or to homeschool him. It was not a decision made lightly or without much thought and many prayers.
Initially, I was on the fence about homeschooling. My husband and I had talked a little about it and while he was for it, I felt a little reserve about committing to the decision to homeschool. I guess my feelings of uncertainty are to be expected from someone who was homeschooled and then taught in the public school system for 8 years…I had such mixed emotions. I made my list of “pros and cons” and my husband and I thought of various scenarios, good and bad, for all of our options.
You see, I don’t believe there is “one right way” when it comes to education. I believe that God lays different paths for different families. As parents, we are to equip our children to go into the world and make a difference…to live for God and unto God in all they say and do. Public, private or homeschool…all are places for our children to learn; All are places in which God works in and through for His Glory.
Seeking God, together as a couple, when deciding the path your family will be traveling on is so very important. There are reasons and excuses we come up with when choosing public school, private school or homeschool. While it is easy to use lack of socialization or fear of what kind of teacher you will be for your child as an excuse not to homeschool, if it is God’s call for your family, all those excuses are negated. If you use the excuse to homeschool rather than attend public school as a way to “protect” your child from the outside world, but God has lead your family into the public school setting, then you are abandoning your trust in Him. I surely had my list of reasons laid out for why or why not to choose certain paths. It wasn’t until I gave it to God that I had a peace about which path our family would be taking.
For us, in the end, we both felt that to homeschool is where we were being led. After we made that choice, God began to assure us that this, was indeed, what He wanted us to do. Little by little, He began to take away some of my own fears and feelings of uncertainty and began to replace them with peace and confidence. I knew that He was going before us on this journey.
It wasn’t long after we made our decision, God then placed people in my life who shared the same calling for their families. I was introduced to a program called Classical Conversations. After hearing about it, I went to their website to learn more (you can read more about it here). “Classical Conversations supports homeschooling parents by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families. We believe there are three keys to a great education: Classical, Christian, and Community.” This was it. I was starting to see God taking care of my specific fears, needs and desires.
Now, here I am at the end our first year of homeschooling with Classical Conversations and I am so thankful. Yesterday was our last day of Classical Conversations and I can’t believe that the school year is already over. While here at home, we still have some math and reading to review and some more fun stuff to learn, we are finished with the bulk of our studying until August. I am so very thankful that God led us to this program, to our Classical Conversations campus and to the decision to homeschool.
I feel that this first year of homeschooling was such a success. I give God complete glory for that…because there are so many ways it could have gone wrong. Trying to homeschool with a 1 year old is, interesting. Trying to homeschool while pregnant, then having a baby (c-section), and then taking care of a new baby along with a 1 year old is, at times, like juggling three cats with your hands tied behind your back. God is good, y’all. Even in those days and weeks I completely messed up as a teacher, grace was there to pull me through the mess. God is showing me that he doesn’t want perfection from me, he just wants obedience; a willingness to yield to His will. He will take care of the rest.
God gave me strength when I had none. He gave me amazing family and friends who supported our decision to homeschool and encouraged me along the way. He sent me friends who could share resources and ideas. He guided me to a Classical Conversations campus that completely exceeded my expectations; A campus that provided a learning experience which challenged and stretched Lil’ Man, took me to a place beyond myself and my own knowledge of learning, provided some special friendships for both Lil’ Man and I, and, ultimately, a campus that strived to reveal how the glory of God is woven through all subject matters.
Today, I reflect on how this year has been for Lil’ Man.
I am amazed at the growth and change that has transpired in just one school year. His social skills have massively improved. He began the year as a shy and timid little fellow and has emerged as a much more confident and engaging boy. Again, God taking one of my initial worries about homeschooling and diminishing it.
I’ll never forget his first presentation to his class. He was beyond nervous. I had to go sit next to him and help him as he nervously stuttered out words for his “about me” presentation. His last presentation was a couple of weeks ago. The mom in me, wanted to cry at the transformation. He, now, likes to comes up with his own presentation ideas and delivers his presentations with a little reserve, but ultimately, with confidence. He delivers his presentations by himself, with sufficient knowledge and welcomes questions from his classmates. The soul in me, whispers prayers of praise to a God who provides.
The amount of information he has been exposed to at such an early age is crazy, yet wonderful. He is learning all kinds of things in ways that will be retained and put to good use in the future. Right now, he thinks he is just singing fun songs about the periodic table, irregular past tense verbs, The Missouri Compromise, or the 50 states. But in a few years, those fun songs will become facts and information in which is strongly knowledgeable.
Yesterday, as we drove away from our campus and our friends for the last time, I felt a little emotional. Our campus has many changes coming its way. Changes that have, in turn, led my family down a path to being part of a new campus next fall. I am excited for the new things to come, but will greatly miss our friends and the times we enjoyed this last year.
Goodbyes and endings have never been easy for me. Lil’ Man definitely feels the same about them. I believe we both had that same lump in the back of our throats as we looked back on our campus one last time. He was feeling a little morose after leaving yesterday. He said he doesn’t ever want his school to end and that he doesn’t want to leave his friends. I get it. While I welcomed the end of the school year, I was not ready to say goodbye to a place that has been an amazing extension of our schooling at home.
But, like I said, we have a new campus to look forward to attending next year. One of my close friends attends this same campus, so, I am very excited about that. It will be a new and different year at a new and different place. It will be a place to begin new friendships and new experiences. Although normally, I would be anxious because of all of this, I instead, am at peace with it all. God is faithful and He is not just walking this path with me…He created the path for me to walk on.
What are your thoughts? Which path has God called your family to follow? How have you seen God bless your decision to yield to His will?