Homeschooling Reflections: There is Joy in the Journey
As you finish the school year, we encourage you to reflect and bask in
the Lord's grace. We thought this would be a good time for us to share
our reflections of our homeschooling days. What did we learn? How were
we changed? What would we recommend from this side of the journey?
Homeschooling--just the word evokes so many memories; where do I
begin? Recently a young dad asked me what my favorite age was to
parent and homeschool. It was difficult to answer since every season
had its delights.
The elementary years were so much fun as I witnessed my children's
delight in their discoveries. There were the precious times of reading
aloud while the three children tried to sit on my lap all at the same
|Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more >>
But I particularly enjoyed teaching the middle and high school grades.
The course material and subsequent discussions were fascinating (at
least to me). We took many interesting field trips to supplement
Witnessing the children's blooming personalities and the development
of their abilities was priceless. I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating
that process. My children's expanded horizons brought new people into
our lives who continue to enrich us with their friendship.
No Pain, No Gain
Isn't it interesting and fortunate how we tend to recall the pleasures
while painful memories fade? That is true of my homeschooling journey.
Was it all fun and games? No, absolutely not. My children had minds of
their own--surprise! And they manifested them! During the teen years,
communication with some of my children became challenging. Some days I
was at my wits end to know how to break through attitudes and silence.
The Lord used these times to draw me to trust Him.
Questions arose about God and faith. It was scary to think my teen was
rejecting the tenets of Christianity. I struggled not to constantly
"preach" at that child; but calmly answer questions and provide
Scripture truths to ponder. I made many mistakes, but I camped on Joel
2:25 where the Lord promised, "And I will restore to you the years
that the locust hath eaten." I was the locust, but I believe that the
Lord will restore those times.
The high school years were the launching pad to independence. I had to
learn to be less in charge, stepping aside for my children to make
decisions. It was difficult, when unwise choices were made, to allow
the consequences to come to bear. 3 John 1:4, "I have no greater joy
than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth," became my
desire before the Lord.
The Proof is in the Pudding
What are my children's views of having been homeschooled? Once they
entered college, they recognized benefits that were not readily
apparent to them during high school.
Now as young adults, they appreciate the time my husband and I
invested in their education. It sounds like a long time to wait for
affirmation, but it will come! In the meantime, seek your affirmation
from the Lord, for He rejoices over you in the midst of the work He's
called you to do.
I want to leave you with some suggestions of what I would do if I
could repeat these years knowing what I know now. I would carve out
regular times of refreshment. I failed to do this because I felt I was
too busy with the children, their activities, and all the household
tasks, becoming weary in the process. Staying in connection with a few
friends will keep you from too much introspection and give you stamina
to meet each day.
I realize that I worried about unimportant things. Of course, this is
natural since we can't see the years ahead. However, we can trust the
One who knows and holds the future. I encourage you to keep your eyes
on Jesus and the goal He has set before you, believing that what He
promises, He does bring to pass. It'll calm the worry gnats in your
There were years when our well-laid plans were in disarray due to
various obstacles or family upheavals. During these times, we set
aside the bells and whistles and simply worked on the basics. It was
okay. What our children learned about life and our responses to it
impacted them more than all the academics I taught. Remember that you
make the plans, but it's the Lord who lays out the steps. Let Him lead
your family and homeschool. He will provide for you and your teens
over and above all you can ask or think or even imagine.
My recollections of my homeschooling years can be condensed into two
- 1. Homeschooling was hard
- 2. My thoughts and ways were puny compared to His
Homeschooling Was Hard
Not only was homeschooling hard for me, it was extremely hard. I read
"help" books by homeschooling moms (the experts) meant to encourage
me, but I became more discouraged with each flip of the page. I
blubbered and hyperventilated, telling my husband, "I can't possibly
homeschool like this mom can." My husband replied, "That's good,
Honey. Because if God wanted this woman to homeschool your children He
would have given them to her. But He didn't: He gave them to you."
Those words turned me around. It comforted me to know that my children
were handpicked by the Lord for me.
The Lord waited patiently for me to learn that I could not homeschool
in my own strength. On many days, I played tug-of-war for control and
pulled hard in my direction, but the Lord pulled harder and I had to
admit I lacked the brains, the patience, and the mettle to homeschool
without Him. I recall during the teen years I had qualms that
homeschooling was the right choice for my children. (I'm not sure I
can say that as an HSLDA High School Consultant--we'll see if the
editor takes this sentence out. :) ) On tiring days I struggled
spiritually and emotionally to keep an eternal perspective,
remembering that school books, tests, and papers would one day be
burned up like straw, hay, and wood. I needed the Lord's constant help
and encouragement to rest in knowing that a kind attitude, a gentle
correction, and time for a chat were the important parts of my school
day that would be used by the Lord to bless my children.
Homeschooling was not easy--it was extremely hard. Thank you, Jesus,
for holding the rope.
Higher Thoughts and Higher Ways
My husband and I recently welcomed a new daughter-in-law (really a
daughter-in-love) into our family. We put together a slide show for
the new couple. My eyes glimmered as pictures of my son's life slid by
with every blink. I relived homeschool memories of science
experiments, sports games, field trips, and the joy we celebrated at
my son's high school and college graduations.
But what tugged at my heart was a fresh realization that these
pictures represented the Lord's goodness, power, and wisdom in my
children's lives. They were reminders of precious gifts of time spent
with my children enjoying a new discovery, learning to tackle geometry
proofs (albeit with tears), and most importantly, seeing God nudge
them closer to an understanding of His great love for them.
Only now--seven years after my homeschooling ended--are some things
becoming clearer to me about the Lord's thoughts and His perfect ways.
When I look back, my tendency is to remember my shortcomings and
sinful patterns. But, the Lord desires me to be amazed by His lavish
grace and His complete and perfect forgiveness for the times I wanted
to rush His perfect timing and doubt His steadfast pursuit of my
children. Blessed be His name for daily cleansing, new mercies, and
The Lord has used this quote by Charles Bridges in "The Christian
Ministry" to keep my mind stayed in perfect peace when remembering my
"It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It
commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall
be overruled for His glory: and thus relieves us from an oppressive
anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility. The
shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for
daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking
too eagerly for present fruit."
Remember the song, "I Remember It Well," sung by a couple who have
totally different recollections when recalling the past? Give a listen
if you have a minute and need a chuckle:
That's the song that plays in my mind. I remember that homeschooling
was hard and my ways were puny and filled with mistakes. But, the Lord
sings a different tune. He sings a tune of redeemed love, joy
unspeakable, and a story that continues to be written in my children's
lives. Oh, may I remember it well!
One Last Thought
The Lord keeps His promises--call that to mind on the rough days, and
sing on the good days! Let Psalm 100:5 bless your heart today:
"For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations."
Skipping into Summer
We pray that the Lord uses our reflections to encourage you as you
make plans for next year amid the busyness of life. If you are
graduating your teen from high school, we congratulate you and wish
your teen continued success in his future plans.
Join us next month as we share tips for helping teens with the writing
Cherishing our homeschooling memories,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants