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6/6/2012 2:49:32 PM
Becky Cooke, Diane Kummer -- HSLDA
Homeschooling High School--There is Joy in the Journey

Homeschooling Thru High School
HSLDA Homeschooling Thru High School Online

June 6, 2012

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October 12, 2012, HSLDA Teacher Training, Purcellville, VA (Becky)

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Homeschooling Reflections: There is Joy in the Journey

Dear Friends,

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?

Becky's Thoughts

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 time.

Becky Cooke
Becky
Cooke

Diane Kummer
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 classwork.

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.

Recommendations

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 mind.

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.

Diane's Thoughts

My recollections of my homeschooling years can be condensed into two main thoughts:

  • 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 great faithfulness!

The Lord has used this quote by Charles Bridges in "The Christian Ministry" to keep my mind stayed in perfect peace when remembering my homeschooling days:

"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: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=14811 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 process.

Cherishing our homeschooling memories,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants


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