Amidst the messiness of everyday life with young children my husband and I decided to homeschool our three boys a couple of years ago. While I envied the break traditional school days afforded some of my friends, I felt called to spend these formative years with my sons. Heart-work was the main reason - and I just needed more time with them then hurried mornings and evenings balanced between homework and sports. With a few obvious learning challenges thrown in, and a huge homeschooling network in our community, it seemed the right fit.
Now, many months later, and for numerous reasons I've decided not to share publicly (my children will not always be young, and may wish I was a little less free with their challenges), we have decided to send all three boys back to school five days a week.
I was originally going to title this blog post "Why we stopped homeschooling", but after writing that last line I've changed the title to "We stopped homeschooling." I've come to see that the reasons people stop homeschooling are nearly as varied as testimonies of why families choose to start. Each story is entirely it's own. So, this isn't about why, but the journey this choice has led me to take.
GREIF - I've had to grieve these past two weeks as I've transitioned my children into a new school. Grieve as I repurposed my homeschool cabinets, shuffling through all of the lovingly poured over books and lesson plans. Grieve as I looked through the school papers that taught them on work sheets what I had planed to explore with them through great books and conversations. Grieve the vision I had caught. Grieve the joys I had thought would trail like a wake from this sweet time together. Grieve.
FEELINGS OF FAILURE - Hot tears ran thick and heavy, multiple times for a couple days straight. I worried about my tender-hearted child, the one who pleaded to be home schooled two years ago, the one I wanted to give this gift to. It seemed just what he needed; what would fit his needs, interests, and personality best, but it wasn't working. And I felt like a failure that I couldn't muscle through and make it work for him. But I couldn't and it wasn't.
As I dwelled on my failures, asking "What if" and "If only...", my husband lovingly but firmly told me I was believing lies. I had not failed. I had given our son exactly what he needed, but now it had become obvious he needed something else. Wise counselors said the same; even a behavior therapist who specializes in the special needs of children. So many true words of encouragement were lovingly said, texted, prayed on my behalf. But I still had to journey through the many stages of grief.
WHAT IS TRUE - The journey thus far has taken me through the valleys of sadness and down the rapid falls of failure. But all the while I felt God calling me up to the high places where He would reveal many wonderful things to me. So up the side of Mount Horeb I followed.
This is what I heard. "Do you trust me?" Over and over again, "Do you trust me?" While no burning bush flashed, I still discerned the voice. "Do you know that I AM the same God who parted the Red Sea and made a way for my people Israel? Do you know that I AM the same God who overcame death? Do you know I AM the same God who gave sight to the blind? I AM He who redeems brokenness both physically and spiritually. I AM the One you pray to about all of your concerns, the same God who ordered the Universe into place and balanced the planets perfectly."
And I heard in my heart these words, "I AM the same God who parted the Sea, and I can make a way for your children."
"Do you trust me?"
The words went deep-down-deep. Deep to the core. Deeper than the fear. Like light displacing darkness.
"Do you trust me?"
Suddenly I felt empowered to trust Him anew. I confessed my fears as lack of faith, and told my God, "I trust you." And what came next was the most beautiful thing of all. The whisper of God in my heart-of-hearts said, "I AM good and kind... expect good, not evil."
I have learned from experience that when we confess sin in our lives, change is not always miraculously immediate. But in my heart it was that day. From fear to trust. And in my child's life, God's goodness has been on display in powerful ways already. The child who has always been so easily overwhelmed and emotional, has come home from school steady and sure. The academic holes I feared have becomes fountains of papers written in Red Ink A, 100%, Outstanding!
"Do you trust me?... then expect good from Me!"
This post wasn't worth reading if you were looking for the reasons we stopped homeschooling. Those reasons aren't important, I see that now. Everything in our lives, the hard and the happy, and the reasons for them, pale beside the One who orchestrates it and calls us to trust Him amidst it all. Each blog post, each story of His love, every one is a testimony of Him working all things together for good in the hardest parts of our journey here.
Do you trust Him? Expect Good!
Categories: Learning at Home