Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Pep Talk

Over the last few months Duck has been attending singing lessons with a young SAHM who lives just a few blocks from us. We had known this young lady previously from the church circle in town - that was before she was married with kids. Being a homeschooling grad herself, and a SAHM, we were glad to give her some business when Duck expressed an interest in singing.

After a few singing sessions, this teacher started talking about homeschooling. I have heard the story before, "I wanted to homeschool my kids, but didn't think I could manage with two girls of school age and a baby boy, too." It's a widely held fallacy (or sometimes just an excuse) that public school is better for the older kids if mom has an infant to care for, as well. Her husband was not homeschooled, so when she had doubts about it, he encouraged public school.

Our short conversations about how we homeschool seemed to be polite exchange only - maybe a little curiosity, but not real interest in changing her situation. So, I answered her questions and expressed how much our family has benefited from homeschool. With no intention of changing to public school now that we have a baby on the way. She would smile and nod and the conversation ended. Very typical of conversations I have had in the past with curiosity seekers. Little did I know what God was doing.

Soon the conversations became more probing and she told me she had been speaking with other homeschooling parents from her church. Again, I am cautious about 'pushing' homeschool on anyone. Too many times I have seen people jump on the band wagon without really having a conviction from the Lord to train up their children in a homeschooling atmosphere - something that I see as crucial for success. So, I continued to talk positively to this young mom and I gave her Voddie Baucham's video 'Children of Caesar' with a preliminary warning that he is staunch in his homeschooling beliefs.

Well she watched the video - three times in two weeks. She watched it with friends, with her husband and with her parents. She told me about the behaviours she has seen in her public school daughters that disturb her and her husband - and they are only in grade 1 & 2. She wanted more information. I had to be careful not to spoil things for her and not to build her up for a fall either.

Homeschool is hard. Some days it is impossible! Anyone wanting to get into homeschool needs to know this and be prepared. I told her about my experience and how the responsibility falls on me for each day to happen with contentment even when things go awry. I talked about the benefits of my close relationship with Duck and how when things are tense/stressed at home, it is usually me that's responsible for letting it get that far. I told her I wouldn't change it for anything! That my husband and I are committed and convicted to the successful raising of a 'person' - not just emulating public school and creating another clone for society.

Then I held my tongue, 'you take it from here, Lord.'

She has continued to move toward bringing her kids home. I'm glad to see the slow steps she and her husband are taking, because it shows she is taking the whole process seriously. She has borrowed our old grade 1 & 2 school books to look through. She has ordered curriculum catalogues and visited other homeschooling families to see how the day goes. It also appears she will take some of my other advice and attend a homeschooling conference this spring.

It is exciting to see a young family taking the step to be full time parents. It also brings anxiety - 'have I given good counsel? do I pose a good role model? Am I presenting a balanced view of benefits and challenges that will come? have I given a good testimony for the life God has provided by following His will?'

Only God knows - I'm sure He will show me the answers to these questions in time. Until then...

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 3:15


Mrs. Parunak said...

What a wonderful, balanced approach you're taking with your friend! I'm always totally enthusiastic about anyone and everyone homeschooling that it wouldn't occur to me to make sure the person is hearing from the Lord and not just me. This is a wise reminder for me to reign myself in a bit.

Lori said...

As someone who can come on a bit strong about homeschooling, thanks for this posting.