Choosing to homeschool our children was the best thing we ever did. We have a plethora of wonderful memories and experiences to take with us for life. I feel blessed to still have two years left of shared learning to take place with my youngest. Our homeschooling days are not over yet and I plan on treasuring Every.Single.Moment that we have left.
Today I want to talk about something that can steal our joy along our homeschooling journey and that is the gaggle of ‘voices’ that come at us from every side. They are most often voices that mean well, that wish to be encouraging but end up being damning. Sometimes those voices are our own fears and insecurities that whisper quietly at first but then become an avalanche of doubt that immobilizes us from pursuing God’s best for us and our family.
These are my own ponderings on these two things, perhaps you will read my words and find something that resonates with you, or perhaps you won’t and that’s okay.
The Voices That Mean Well
Who do those voices belong to in your life? In my own experience, these voices can come from the blogs I read, the online groups I belong to, the books I choose to read, or the podcasts I listen to, even fellow Christians whom we love and respect. Sadly I don’t have an actual real-life community where I live. Most homeschoolers with children in their mid to late teens have sent their children back to college or school to tackle their A-Levels. Not all I must stress, but in my vicinity, it is the case.
Perhaps we read the blog of someone who follows the same educational philosophy as we do and that we admire. She seems to have it all together, she has the loveliest blog and shares some amazing things that she does in her homeschool.
Or ‘that’ podcast that everyone seems to be listening to, clearly what they have to say is exactly how I should implement ‘a thing’ because they have such a following and is so popular.
How about that subtle ‘peer pressure’ exerted on us by other well meaning Christians? We’ve all experienced it. Opinions that creep out in conversations that make you feel that if you allow your children to watch ‘that’ program or read ‘those’ stories, then you are not in God’s will or you are somehow not that holy/good/obedient?? (struggling for the right word here).
These voices, if we allow them a platform, drown out the quiet and gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
The Voice of Fear & Doubt
Oh my, I’ve struggled with this one over the past two years, but interestingly I’ve only struggled with it when I have not been in community with like-minded homeschooling mums.
10 years ago, God spoke to our hearts and called us to homeschool our children. God laid upon our hearts the desire to first and foremost lead our children to know and live for Him, and I feel that by God’s grace we have done and are doing that. However, when you are responsible for the education of your children it is hard to shut out the voices of the world and continue to trust God’s plan for each child, especially if that plan follows a different direction to what the world deems ‘normal’.
When you are in community with others who share that same vision you are able to encourage one another, bounce ideas off each other, talk through things you are thinking about, concerned about etc. Pray together. You are less likely to fall prey to fear and doubt when you are with others who have walked or are walking the same path. You are less likely to make decisions based on fear and conforming to the ‘norm’ if you have others to encourage you.
Here’s my own real-life example. My daughter is about to start her AS levels this year – she is 17 years old now which means by the time she finishes her A levels she would have just turned 19. For some reason, I just freaked out about this because everyone else finishes at 18. Why I let this dominate my thoughts I really do not know for I have never been one to see age as forming anything of importance with regards to education. In fact, a friend of mine who is a high school English teacher told me that it is NOT unusual for some children to complete their A levels at 19 because often children will change their course after the first year if they are not coping or change their minds etc meaning they get their certification at 19.
But this was like a huge boulder that had been placed in my path. I worried and stressed and then worried some more. I questioned, ‘how would we fulfil certain university requirements as a home educator’. Then I wallowed a little more in the pit of stress and worry.
Then God in his mercy spoke to my heart through a very simple conversation I had with a friend from up north. She and her family were down in Devon where they attend an annual home educators camp. I was visiting another mutual friend at this same camp. As we were eating lunch we fell into conversation about what we were planning with our teens and the directions each of us was taking. She calmly said that her son would be starting his AS levels in September and that they were doing this at home. She was not putting him into 6th-form college, they would simply continue as they were, as God leads them. She told me that her son too would be just about to turn 19 when he finished his A levels.
I questioned her, what about ‘this’ what about ‘that’. She calmly answered all my questions, making valid cases for all my questions. Bearing in mind, this lady has got two homeschool graduates already so she has walked the path before. I came away from that day refreshed and repentant. I prayed and repented of living in fear and not trusting God, and refreshed by the fellowship I had shared with my friends. Just talking to them had reminded me that a) God is in control, and b) I’m not the only one walking this road.
You see, since moving to Devon I have not had much contact with other Christian homeschooling moms with teens. I do know a few families but we live far apart and it never crossed my mind to make the effort, perhaps I didn’t think it was necessary to meet with these mums regularly. But this conversation convinced me that it is very necessary. Being able to talk to someone else in the same stage of the homeschooling journey is very, very important.
I am pleased to say that I have since contacted the lovely ladies who live within an hour of me and we are all going to meet once a month to just be an encouragement to one another.
Fear and doubt have a very subtle way of creeping in – guard against it by being in communion with the right people who will be an encouragement to God’s calling in your homeschool.
Wishing you all God’s richest blessings today 😘
Linking with Strangers & Pilgrims On Earth’s ‘The Art of Homemaking Monday’s’