Even before my first child was born, I knew I would homeschool. It was perfectly logical (I like logical) and I truly felt called to do so. In fact, it’s one of the first things I can remember feeling called to do. A divorce changed the circumstances in my life dramatically around the time my daughter Kathryn was preschool-aged, and for a while I wondered if I would ever be able to homeschool as I’d planned. I ended up working at a church-run preschool for two years, and my daughter attended there during that time. When she reached kindergarten age, I was finally in a position to homeschool as I’d hoped. Those years of not knowing if I’d be able to homeschool has made me appreciate home educating my children as the blessing that it is.
Years later came another significant call in my life: to adopt a child from the state foster care system. As God orchestrated it all, we adopted a fourteen year old girl named Lindsey. She had struggled through the public school system and had never even known anyone who homeschooled. This was a completely foreign concept to her. To make a very long story short, we tried two different hybrid academies (part private school/part public school) as well as traditional homeschooling, but we battled through them all because she’d made up her mind to hate homeschooling. It broke my heart, and I was at a loss as to what to do.
Finally one day, after another fight over her desire to go to public school, I felt the Lord tell me to send her. She’d made public school an idol, but I was dangerously near making homeschooling an idol. When my husband and I talked it over, he agreed. So this diehard homeschool mom sent her child to the local public high school.
Although I felt strongly this was what God wanted us to do, I still felt like we were throwing her to the wolves. Over the summer, when I took her to meet with the guidance counselor about registration and classes, I felt a little bit like throwing up. But the fact is, God is BIG enough to handle this.
This experience hasn’t been all good for us, but it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, too:
- I’m never really in control of my child’s education (or anything else), but God is.
- I must constantly work on keeping my children’s hearts and guiding them spiritually — regardless of where their academic education takes place.
- Being together in the same house does not equal quality time. I can have that whether they are in my home most of the day or not, but I must be intentional about it either way.
- God can teach lessons I can’t.
- Being faithful to Him often takes me out of my comfort zone.
- Sometimes he brings things around full circle. Lindsey is already talking about the possibility of homeschooling next year so that she can graduate on schedule, something she won’t be able to do if she continues in public school. She’d also like to have a job so that buying a car could be something in the foreseeable future, and that won’t happen anytime soon with the stricter schedule of public school.
Someday life circumstances may change what you have planned for your children’s education, so I want to encourage you that it things change, it will be okay. If God leads you there, he will lead you — and your child — through it all.
Jamie is a wife and homemaking mama in a blended family that includes three kids and one exceptionally intelligent dog. She thinks most clearly with a steaming mug of tea in hand, and adores all things retro. Follow along with her journey of homeschooling, adoption, family life and more at See Jamie Blog.