It’s messy. Even on the best days, homeschooling is messy. I’m not just talking about the books strewn across the table, the toys strewn across the living room and the dirt, grass, leaves and shoes strewn across the front entryway.
It’s the conflict that can arise when four people are together—all day, every day.
Why did we choose home education?
The reason is simple. Perhaps it’s best summed up by an old Hillsong worship song: “Touching heaven, changing earth.” Our desire is to strengthen our relationships with each other and with God, and our family is called to do so right now through homeschooling.
Strengthening Our Relationships with Each Other
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The days are long but the years are short.” When I look at my oldest daughter, I’m often shocked by the truth of this statement. Just yesterday, I was holding her in my arms. Now, she’s tall, feisty and almost nine years old.
One of the most amazing things about homeschooling is the extra time I’m able to spend with my children. I have the opportunity to develop deep relationships with my girls as we learn and grow together.
There are many sweet, sweet moments that I wouldn’t trade for the world: the girls playing together with their toys, snuggles and stories, learning new things about the world around us, hikes and walks, having the park all to ourselves while everyone else is in school, and so much more.
With the time together, however, also comes increased opportunities for frustration. Let’s face it, I’m an imperfect mother raising imperfect children. I firmly believe that homeschooling brings character flaws to surface that we might otherwise not see. This allows us to deal with them. Conflict weakens or strengthens relationships depending on our response to it. Learning to manage our emotions and apologize when we’re wrong is a crucial part of developing healthy relationships.
Thank the Lord for His grace. It’s the glue that holds us together.
Flowing out of this gratitude for grace is a desire to change the world together. In the past, we’ve volunteered at a food bank, sorting cans and stocking shelves. When my youngest started to walk, that became more difficult. Earlier this year, we started putting together little care packages for the homeless. I love being able to take the time to encourage the compassion in my girls’ hearts. Again, we’re far from perfect, but we’re learning to extend the grace that we’ve received to others.
Strengthening Our Relationship with Jesus
“But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.” (Charlotte Mason, School Education)
All education is divine. I love this thought. Learning about the incredible world that God has made draws us closer to Him.
I’ve always believed this about nature study, but it’s equally true for math, history, and other subjects. We use math to unlock some of the mystery of creation. The unfolding of history reveals the unfolding of God’s divine plan. Geography, social studies and foreign languages teach us about the diversity God has created. Through the study of art history and literature, we see the creative processes that have been gifted to individuals by the ultimate Creator. And through art and writing classes, my children are able to develop their own creative gifts.
One of the wonderful things about home education is that, in addition to pursuing knowledge, we’re able to investigate the way that knowledge points us to Jesus. Knowledge is a gift intended to draw us close to the Father.
The most treasured part of our day is morning devotions—time specifically dedicated to pursuing Jesus. We’re currently still working our way through Hero Tales, and the conversations and prayers it has inspired have been precious.
Ultimately, whether or not my children choose to follow Jesus is their choice. At some point, they will need to make up their own mind about what they believe. A relationship with Jesus is a personal thing—choosing to follow Jesus is not something I can do for my kids, as much as I want to. What I can do, however, is give them the foundation and the tools they need in order to choose well.
Even then, there are no guarantees. But I can pray, I can love, I can teach, and I can point my children to the God who loves us all completely and unconditionally.
Is home education for everyone?
Is everyone called to homeschool their children? I don’t believe so. We’re all gifted with different strengths and abilities. Some women are called to work outside the home and shine their light in their workplace. Others are called to work inside the home and shine their light in their workplace. It’s a personal decision, something that is settled through prayer.
However their children are educated, the one thing every single parent on earth is called to do? Raise their children to love others and love the Lord.