Looking back over a lifetime of homeschooling I can honestly say, it was the best thing we ever did.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t a lifetime. It was 27 years to be exact, if you count from when our first child was born till our last one graduated from high school.
Birthing, raising and homeschooling four children was pure bliss. Every day was an amazing joy and accomplishment. Haha. Not really. Real life happened.
Our adult kids were recently reminiscing about the day the pressure cooker blew up. I kept the proof. The open pages of a handwriting book on the kitchen table are forever dotted with black rain. The pressurized black-bean-soup geyser hit the ceiling and covered most of the kitchen. Mama had slipped in the mess and was on the floor crying. While the baby, covered in bean shower, sat confused in her highchair, the oldest child quickly dialed the phone to tell their dad “Come home quickly! Mama has fallen and can’t get up!” Definitely, the news every dad loves to hear.
And I clearly remember the day that a medical diagnosis threw us for a loop. Our precious two-year-old had to endure so many sticks and shots from distraught parents that were shook to the core. Our lives were forever changed in so many ways by Type 1 Diabetes. It was many years before we could ever leave her with a sitter. We had to find our “new normal”. Spontaneously taking the family out for ice cream wasn’t easy anymore; now it involved a needle-stick.
Then there was mom’s year-long recovery from surgery, unable to walk, homeschooling from the couch, with a BABY. We affectionately call that our “year-from-h*ll”. You would have thought, and some actually asked, why we didn’t put the kids in school. But honestly, it never crossed our minds. I won’t lie to you, it was a tough time in our marriage; stress was high. But we endured together as a family and it made us stronger and more committed. I see now how our loving and faithful God used that time to show us the living body of Christ that sacrificially served us in so many ways. We drew closer to them, to HIM and to each other.
Years later, there was the heartache of a broken relationship with one of our teens. It was a crushing, devastating time that drove us to our knees like we had never been before. There were many days that I didn’t think I could keep going. Hubby and I didn’t always agree; that alone could have torn us apart. But here’s the thing. God was so gracious and kind to not only restore fellowship with that child several years later but HE also made our family stronger. The experience made us reevaluate and change how we parented the rest of our teens. We all greatly benefited from this “tragedy” in our lives.
Just two weeks after the homeschool graduation of our last child and my official retirement (woohoo!), my beloved dad, my most enthusiastic homeschooling cheerleader and (next to my husband) my best friend, unexpectedly passed away. We had so many plans for my post-homeschooling season. To say I was devastated would be a gross understatement.
When I look back on our homeschooling years, I primarily remember the Love, the Joy (wish I had been MORE joyful), the funny things, and the togetherness. I am so thankful for my selective memory. It’s kind of like childbirth. We don’t really remember the pain of childbirth. I mean, we wouldn’t really do it over and over again if we did, right? But in HIS graciousness, the tough days and the bad memories fade over time and we mainly remember all the good and the unimaginable love that bursts to overflowing. Now grown up, these children that were created out of your love, nurtured with your best efforts, but despite your many failings have become remarkable and unique human beings. Perfect? Without problems? No. But adult children that will expand your world and your legacy.
If we had known all the heartaches and hardships that lay ahead, maybe we never would have homeschooled. But it is because the obstacles and cost are so great that make it worth it. As the French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, so wisely said, “Those things that are dearest to us have cost us the most.” God used our hardships to make us strong, to build relationships and to hold fast to HIM and to one-another. Our trials taught us compassion, patience and understanding. Be encouraged. Challenges birth some wonderful things just as we’d never enjoy the calm if we never had storms. So keep on – keeping on. It is so worth it. When life gets hard, don’t give up on the homeschooling; just keep on schooling and let God teach the lessons.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.