In 2013, I graduated my son from our homeschool. It was a bittersweet momen, one spent reflectively as I took time to consider our homeschool journey…the good, the bad and the ugly.
Memories flooded my mind with the pleasurable experiences and tremendous progress my children made (especially in my youngest with learning struggles and Asperger traits). But the regrets also flooded – never that my husband and I elected to homeschool our children, but rather the “What if?” or the “What should we have done differently?” I think if anyone who has homeschooled longer than 10 years is honest, they will find that they experience similar emotions and feelings. Each one of us finds it a balancing act to look back on our homeschool journey – that of recognizing the real changes we could have made and releasing to God the choices made which were mistaken yet not intentional. Part of this release is also recognizing that we have an enemy of our souls who will use these “what ifs” to attack us and weaken our relationship with God. As Romans 8:1 graciously reminds us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (NET Bible) Condemnation is not from God; rather grace, mercy and forgiveness are extended to us from God.
If you are feeling condemnation because you chose this journey or you are experiencing condemnation from others, remember this is not from God. God has called you to a homeschooling lifestyle for His purposes and His glory. As you follow Him you will experience His leading and His pleasure. While that will not completely insulate you from the attacks of the enemy, it should encourage your spirit and grant you peace that you are walking in the freedom His Spirit gives.
In the early years of our homeschool, I repeatedly experienced comments and attitudes from our family and church family for our decision, especially when it came to the struggles of my youngest. There were many who decided my youngest would do better in a school setting where trained staff could deal with his emotional meltdowns. These same people were very happy to reveal their opinion to me and on a regular basis! My point in sharing this with you is that one of the most important aspects in your homeschool journey is to remind yourself (daily if necessary!) that if God has called you to this, He will strengthen you in and for the journey. Listen to His voice and not the voice of the naysayers in your life. God has a purpose for His call on your life and while it may not be evident for years to come, as you listen and follow His voice, there is grace, mercy and strength, not condemnation.
Earlier I mentioned my sixteen years of homeschooling; my son with learning struggles is now a college student with a 3.5 GPA and my daughter graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s in Nursing in late December. I share this not to brag on our efforts or even on myself, but rather to ‘brag’ on God. If you had told me 10 years ago that the struggles my youngest experienced would be overcome and he would successfully attend college, I would have never believed you. God walked with me through this journey and I believe He will walk with you. Seek Him and Trust Him.
I want to leave you with this awesome quote our Pastor shared several years ago…it truly ministered to me during the early struggles of our homeschool and pray it will be a blessing to you as well.
“When we depend on education, we get what education can do.
When we depend on organizations, we get what organizations can do.
When we depend on God, we get what God can do.” (AC Dickison)