As we enter our eighth year of homeschooling--wow, eight years have flown by--I am amazed (and amused) by how we arrived at this point. Our route to this destination included various "stops" along the way --observing my future in-laws (sister and mother, respectively), and thinking, "Oh, that's sweet. I'll never do that,"; getting past the stereotypes; meeting fun, bright, godly women who just happened to be homeschooling mamas; and finally, that Kindergarten classroom visit where my visions of being the ultimate Room Mother and PTA President of the Millennium were shattered--and I came to the realization that I was the one best-suited, and frankly, most enthusiastic about teaching my kiddos.
In our neck of the woods, homeschooling is not unusual. Although some may not understand the how's and why's, most folks express appreciation and/or nearly-embarrassing levels of admiration for embarking on this adventure. While it's easy to become falsely modest, to lower my head in saintly acknowledgment of my lofty pursuits (not), I do recognize that the call to the home education lifestyle is not for everyone. My hope has always been that I would be supportive and affirming of whatever educational options my friends choose--and I trust that those who know me best would call me on that, if my attitude were to ever reflect anything contrary to that position.
And, believe you me, we take each year, one at a time, evaluating, preparing, and reflecting, seeking the best for the students at Barnard Academy.
Ann Voskamp offers one of the most winsome and "yes, that's it!" responses to all of the standard homeschooling inquiries. Written in 2012, as I read her words, it was as though she had read my mind--and my heart. Perhaps that was also true for some of my fellow sojourners on this path. Below is an excerpt from that timely post.
"Because homeschooling is this magnificent crucible, to reveal impurities and sinfulness and brokenness.
It keeps us on our knees. Homeschooling often hurts and disappoints.
You cry and wonder if you are insane to try to educate these children, to disciple these little hearts, while laundering, cooking, cleaning, managing a household, and still being a wife, a sister, a daughter, a missionary in your community, a servant to Christ and in your faith community. And He smiles and say that He walks with you, has grand and glorious purposes, and He understands radical and crazy!
Homeschooling is about going higher up and deeper in, for you learn to sacrificially love in ways you have never loved before. You come to know your own heart in ways you never imagined, the souls of your children in intimate, very real ways.
For you will be together, making memories together, laughing together, crying together, praying together, and asking forgiveness together. Throughout your day, you worship God, together. And you learn to die-to-self together. It’s about doing hard things… together. And there will be no fragmentation of learning, home-life, friends, work, God.
We keep homeschooling to weave a one-piece life – hallowed threads of parenting, love, pain, education, growing, stumbling, creativity, forgiveness, wonder, sacrifice, and God all woven together.
We wear it, and it’s not perfect and it’s messy — but oh, it’s a good fit for us!
Grace, Joy, Gratitude."
I couldn't have said it better myself.