Today is a very strange day to me. I have delegated all garden chores and (almost) all household chores to my children for the sake of gearing up for back to school.
This is a tremendous conflict for me for many reasons.
- My basement is full of summer squash, cucumbers and peaches that need “put up”.
- It’s summer.
- I would rather be outside than inside.
- It’s summer.
- I am wholly and completely overwhelmed by simultaneously preparing a 16-year-old, a 14-year-old and a twelve-year-old for the rest of their lives.
We started our homeschooling career for very practical reasons, and we’ve continued it for very practical reasons. There are easily thirty very good reasons for our family to choose home education. These include things like teaching hands-on skills, instilling our values, providing a biblical foundation, selfishly wanting lots and lots of time with our kids, avoiding school lunches, being the biggest influence in our children’s lives, no long lines at the theme parks and so on.
There is one big reason for me to choose NOT to home educate.
That’s it. I’ve called it what it is. I’m afraid. Really, truly afraid that I am somehow not going to give my children exactly what they need. I’m going to scar them in some horrible way and traumatize them for the rest of their lives. They’ll write books about me and my inability to adequately nurture their young, hungry minds. And, even worse, the book’s publisher will print the un-edited version that shows how my kids misused commas, didn’t capitalize proper nouns and forsook all rules of subject/verb agreement.
Oh, the horror.
Seriously, though. I find myself fighting this fear today as I try to get my ducks in a row. I find myself wishing for more curriculum money, better organizational skills, more caffeine, a couple more college degrees and a crystal ball.
As I was searching through old emails to find different helps and resources friends had sent me in years past, I ran across a little something else. Interestingly, I started reading what I found, finding myself nodding and “amen!ing” my way through it before I realized that I am the one who wrote it. After scrolling through the entire thread, I realized that a friend had long ago asked me how I made a decision on what was best for my children. In a culture with so many options, how did I focus in on what is most important for my kids?
Here is my response in part:
Our Goals for our Kids:
1. That they know Who Christ is and what He did for them.
2. That they know Scripture and see Its relevance to everyday life.
3. That they know the meaning of the word “integrity” and that they know how to live it.
4. That they know how to work and never expect anyone else to do for them what they can do for themselves.
5. That they have the means to train and educate themselves to do whatever it is they are called to do, beyond what my husband and I can offer them.
6. That they know how to treat people with respect and dignity.
7. That they understand that God has given them gifts that He expects them to use, and that the world will be a better place because they are using them
8. That they know–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that they are loved beyond measure by God, and by their parents.
9. That people need Christ and that it is their responsibility to show Him to others.
10. That happiness is temporary, but joy is eternal.
When I really break it down to the essentials, I believe that these are they. If I order our calendar to cater to these priorities, there are a lot of things that can be left out of it. I’m not saying that the “extras” are bad, but if those activities are taking away time that I should be spending teaching something that is a greater priority, then I’ve got things screwy. Or (more apt in my case), if I am investing our time in something that brings out qualities in me that do not reflect these points, then I am working directly contrary to the goals that Christ has set on my heart for our family.
From my heart six years ago comes reassurance today. These goals still resonate in me. These goals are timeless for our family, and even now they help me repent of my fear, re-focus my priorities and renew my commitment as the momma of three amazing children.
Just as I have had to continually learn and grow in my adulthood, my children will have the option to continually learn and grow in theirs. They will not have to know everything when they leave the nest, but they will know enough to fly.