It’s officially summer for the Klickaclan--that's the nickname for my family. It’s a time to celebrate—my second oldest daughter, Megan just graduated from Liberty University Online with a degree in business management and got married less than a month ago. My daughter Susanna just finished homeschooling high school and is on her first mission trip. How faithful God has been to our family—four children now graduated from homeschooling, with two daughters married having received their college degrees.
I remember when all seven of my kids were young. The days that seemed SO far off—those of graduating students from homeschooling and college—seemed like would never get here. Now they are happening fast and frequently! That little speck of light at the end of the tunnel fifteen years ago, looks quite large now, and I realize I don’t want our homeschooling journey to end!
The one downer to the end of our school year for me, is that annual I-didn’t-do-enough-for-my-kids feeling. Even though I am investing my heart, and great energy and time into my children’s lives, all year long I live with the reality that I cannot be both a mom and a dad. I can’t be a full-time stay-at-home mom and work part-time without some things slipping through the cracks, like dentist appointments, or regular weeding of the flower beds. I can’t stay on top of our homeschooling throughout the year…or the yard work…or all the things I need to do as a fill-in dad and homemaker!
If I look back over this past school year and give myself a grade, it would be at best a ‘C’. If I measure myself against other two-parent homeschooling families, I’d score even lower. Now, that's a really encouraging thought, enough to make me excited about homeschooling next year! (I'm being thoroughly sarcastic here!)
I can truly look back and see God’s power and grace guiding us this past year, but it’s when I feel at my lowest, humanly speaking, as a homeschooling teacher, that I use my summer to remind me of a few very important things. I thought if you are a homeschooling mom like me, you might be encouraged to ponder these truths…consider it your summer homework assignment!
- First of all, God has called me to homeschool my children. He has given me a clear sense that He has led me to be the primary one teaching, guiding, and nurturing my children in truth, both in His Word and in all of their other academic studies. (Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 for God’s instruction that we direct our children in His Word.)
- Second, I am not a perfect parent, but I am the perfect parent for my children. God is the one who has not only given my children the mother they have, but has also been involved in directing and using the details of our lives together for their good and mine. My faults may be the very means God uses to impart His priorities and grace to my children. Likewise, my strengths are ones that God is using to knit His character and God-given skills into who they are becoming.
(NOTE: This also means that your children are the perfect children for you...but that's another blog post for another day.)
- And third, although normal homeschooling days are few, real learning is taking place every day by God’s grace. In the 20+ years I’ve been homeschooling, I can count on only one hand the number of ‘normal’ days we’ve had. Because I don’t teach my children in a more controlled environment like a classroom (though I would argue those are not so controlled either at times!), my kids’ education time is going to have repeated intersections with life—chores and responsibilities and a greater variety of unexpected interruptions. And I am going to face the challenge of being both a mommy and a teacher every day. I'm not going to do this well every day, but I hope I can reflect to my kids that I am trying to trust God, "who accomplishes all things for me." ~Psalm 57:2
When I start longing for normalcy, I try to joyfully embrace the variety in our homeschooling lifestyle and accept my many limitations, remembering that God is in the midst of us, helping us each day. Not only that, but He is using all those’ life intersections’ to teach us much more than just academics; He is showing us that we need Him every day, and that everything we do, no matter how normal our day, week, month, year are going--that we do all things in His strength and power!
I am taking my homework assignment seriously this summer because even though I've been homeschooling over 20 years, I still need to celebrate, not just my kids' graduations and marriages, but God's wise, gracious plan for our family in this, our somewhat unpredictable, but exciting homeschooling journey!
There's no place like home,