real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

raising homeschooled daughters, part six

Do any of you remember the movie What’s Up Doc? with Barbara Streisand and Ryan O-Neal? The two lead characters arrive as strangers at the same San Francisco hotel, along with 3 other guests, all 5 of them sporting red plaid suit cases. As the story unfolds, the contents of each bag is revealed, along with a hilarious series of events where the cases are mistaken, stolen, and hidden, leading to the climax where Streisand is pedaling a bicycle down the famous Lombard Street with all 5 bags in the front basket and O’Neal trying to stay balanced on the back. They end up under a Chinese dragon in the middle of a parade, narrowly escaping a large plate glass window being moved across a busy intersection, only to end up in San Francisco Bay. And all because no one knows which bag is which.

There is a similar, though not so funny, confusion in homeschooling circles today when it comes to planning and executing the education of homeschooled daughters. Up until a few years ago, it was assumed that homeschooled girls would receive the same education as their brothers and that it would include the option of studying advanced math or science as well as the choice to go on to college. That belief is being challenged and an anti-college-for-girls ideal is being embraced, in part, because of a growing movement whose leaders teach that all women and daughters have been given the life-purpose to be wives and mothers and as such ought to spend their young adult years working toward that end. In fact, to do otherwise is often labeled as “non-normative.”

After spending a couple years reading the books and articles that are promoting this view, it became obvious to me that this agenda has been advanced by using the three words “purpose,” “calling,” and “role” interchangeably, bringing about what I believe is a planned confusion and thus leaving parents perplexed as to what direction to take as they approach the high school and college years. After all, if God’s eternal purpose is for girls to be wives and mothers, and anything outside of that is outside of God’s prescriptive will, as some teach, why shouldn’t a girl’s education focus on homemaking and childcare skills?

Though I have addressed the differences between these three words in more detail in the past,* I thought it might be helpful to briefly revisit them again in light of the topic of raising homeschooled daughters. Clearly defining words and concepts helps us to understand exactly what our own goals are and it also helps us identify and understand what these ideals mean as presented within the homeschooling movement today.

1. God has one purpose and one purpose alone for believers, including our homeschooled daughters, and that is to bring glory to Himself.

Our purpose in life has to be able to be applied to all people, at all times, in all cultures, to both men and women, young and old. Psalm 139 is a lovely picture of God’s intimate knowledge of us and the psalmist’s praise of God, giving Him glory for making each of us. Ephesians 1 tells us that we were created before the foundations of the world to be His children, to the praise of His glorious grace! I Peter 2 tells us that we were created and chosen to be living stones in the building of a spiritual temple, each of us part of His royal priesthood, offering up sacrifices to God. This is our purpose and is the purpose of our daughters. We must impress upon them their purpose in God’s Kingdom.

Our purpose is also an eternal one, a purpose that will never change nor will it be taken away and one that is sure to be accomplished. Psalm 57:2 tells us “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me” and Psalm 138:* says “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.”

We must give our daughters the assurance that God is working in each of their lives to accomplish His purpose for them, which is to bring Him glory forever.

2. God’s callings in the lives of His daughters are unique and specific, though they can change during various times and seasons in their lives.

I love the story of the French tight-rope walker Philippe Petit. After spending several years planning his incredible performance, Philippe, along with a few friends, made his way to the top of one of the World Trade Center towers, carrying a 450 pound cable. Under cover of darkness, they placed the cable between the towers and as the sun came up the next day, Philippe walked on the wire, eventually making more than 40 passes. When he completed his exhibition and was arrested, a flood of reporters gathered around him, asking him “Why did you do it?’ His response was “Why? Why? Why? You ask me why? When I see three oranges, I juggle. When I see two towers, I walk between them. Because I cannot not do it!” I have to wonder how many of us have such a strong sense of the callings in our lives that our response is “I cannot not do it!”

We must help our daughters discover and discern the callings that the Lord places in their lives, encouraging them in developing the gifts, talents, and abilities that the Lord has given uniquely to them. They must also understand that they may be given more than one calling at once and that their callings can change during their lives. They need to know that all callings from the Lord are sacred, that there is no secular realm the is apart from the sacred. And they must understand that their callings are given to them in order to fulfill their one purpose of bringing glory to God.

3. God gives us many roles to play as daughters of the King and those roles are used to perform our callings as we fulfill our purpose.

When I was in high school, I played the part of the Irish landlady in the play Flowers for Algernon. I loved learning an accent, dressing in a funny costume, and making the audience laugh. A few years later while I was in college, I played the female lead, Hesione Hushabye, in George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House, again enjoying the opportunity to slip into an unusual character and entertaining a crowd. And then, many years later, I had another role, that of mother-of-the-groom, complete with a lovely pink dress and matching shoes as my costume. Certainly none of these roles were my eternal purpose but each one helped me fulfill the various callings I had during those years and, ultimately and by His grace, to bring glory to God.

Our daughters will have many roles throughout their lives, though they will not all be the same. When they are younger, they are young ladies, daughters, and sisters within one family unit. If they marry, they take on the role of wife and as they have children, as mother, first as mothers of pre-schoolers and later as mothers of grown children. Eventually they may become widows. During that time they may also be Brownie leaders, choir directors, nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, the list is endless. Others will never marry or have children but they will still fulfill God’s purpose for their lives through various callings and roles. Some of those roles will last for a long time, other roles will last only for a day. And each of those roles will enable them to fulfill their callings from the Lord and, ultimately, to fulfill their purpose of bringing Glory to God.

What a blessing daughters are to the Kingdom of God. And what a privilege we have as moms of daughters helping them become the very best that God intends them to be, for His glory alone!

* These two podcasts cover the material on purpose, calling, and role in more detail and I would encourage you to listen to them.

Mom on a Mission, Part One
Mom on a Mission, Part Two



  Lin wrote @

1. God has one purpose and one purpose alone for believers, including our homeschooled daughters, and that is to bring glory to Himself.


  suzane wrote @

I am trying to sort this all out ….as a momma of 4 daughters and two son who are growing quickly, I have hashed these thoughts over and over and over….I have come through many of the teachings and still grapple with them if I am honest with myself….I will come back to your site/blog often and read and pray, and pray and read some more….thank you for being that mom…the one who is sharing her walk, honestly about home education and family, it is so hard for some of us who just don’t fit neatly and you have made it easier today….

  thatmom wrote @

Suzane, welcome and thank you for your kind words. We are all on this journey together and if I can encourage you in any way, I am honored. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing what the Lord is teaching you, too.

  Kim wrote @

How fun to see this picture of Chelsey and Kristin! Karen, I have to call you soon!

  thatmom wrote @

Kim, Clay is going to burn some CD’s of wedding pictures for you and I will send you a couple and one to Chelsey. There are a couple I know your mom is going to want!

We will have to chat soon!

  Georgia wrote @

My reason for not sending my daughters to college has nothing to do with education as it does the atmosphere and the environment there. I went to college myself and noted a lot of time wasting and peer influence and other non-necessary things. Besides that, even with a scholarship, there is a tremendous expense, and being a way from home does not suit everyone. My reason for not sending them away was not to deny them education but to provide a better one, which they got, without all the things that go on at college that trip up many a young person away from home. Some people might have been able to handle it all but I could tell that the stress would have taken its toll on my daughters, as well as the fact that once involved in a career (which is mainly what it prepares them for) they would have likely lost interest in marriage and home making. They fared much better getting their education away from the college, and ended up with money to spend on their own houses.

  danae wrote @

Georgia, as a homeschooled daughter myself, I find your perspective a bit confusing. My parents gave me the choice of staying home or going to college and having gone to college (I am almost finished) and appreciated my experience, I am puzzled by attitude that a) college is too expensive, period, b) it’s a waste of time, and c) a career will likely turn a girl away from marriage/family/homemaking. With scholarships and state/fed aid, a person can attend state school or community college for very little cost. While I don’t think it is necessarily the answer for every girl, college can be a very broadening, educating experience – it made my world bigger. I feel better equipped as a wife, a someday-mother, and simply as a person. Further, my experience at college has only furthered my dream to be a stay-at-home mother someday.
You mentioned that “Some people might have been able to handle it all but I could tell that the stress would have taken its toll on my daughter” – but as young adults, shouldn’t that be their choice?
I hope my thoughts don’t come across as critical! I am sure you are a mother seeking the best for your daughters. I just was browsing the site and as a homeschooled daughter who has attended college, those are just some things on my mind. I don’t think every girl needs to attend college, but I do believe that door should be open to them, if God should lead.

  thatmom wrote @

Danae, you have brought up one of those fallacies that keeps being taught in homeschooling circles that really must be reconsidered, the notion that a woman who attends college will lose interest in being a wife and homemaker. From what I am hearing and seeing in the dozens of homeschooled families I know, higher education only enhances and better prepares women who marry and have children. In fact, I have yet to hear one homeschooled college graduate lament her years of education beyond high school. Most of them respond just as you did!

A couple weeks ago we were blessed by a visit from one of our friends who is a retired college prof and the pastor who married us. He and I had hours to sit and sip tea and visit and it was a delight. Our conversations covered everything from current events to books we are both reading to theology.

After he had been gone a few days, it occurred to me how blessed I was to have had the privilege of going to college and getting to know people outside my own circle of acquaintance. Looking back, my own convictions about many things were challenged and made stronger and I was introduced to new thoughts and new words that made me think!

As far as the cost of an education compared to having money to use in your home, that is a choice that everyone must make themselves. Some people see college as a means to getting a better paying job and statistics show that those who have degrees do make, on average, more money. But what is really true is that there is value in the education process itself that ought to be recognized.

Something else that I believe is a great loss for homeschooled daughters who do not leave home until marriage and who do not attend college or work outside the home is the inability many of them have to interact socially with all sorts of individuals. Higher education shared with those who aren’t just like you better prepares you for relationships outside of your own family, such as with extended family, in-laws, neighbors, church members, etc. If we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, we need to be prepared to to so and I believe that means loving others with understanding and being able to communicate with them. If all homeschoolers choose to not go to college, which is something being promoted in certain circles, Christians will eventually lose their voice in the places of academia and in the great conversations that are taking place in our culture and that will be a sad day for Christianity. Those conversations need the voices of women as well as men and our daughters need to be prepared!

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