real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

once again, its all about relationship homeschooling

It’s official.  My whole family missed me.  And the reason I know this?  Well, my cat, who is generally aloof and disinterested in our relationship unless Friskies Turkey and Giblets is involved, has hardly left my side all weekend, even sleeping at the foot of my bed two nights in a row.  We shall see how long this love affair lasts but if even the cat is giving me the royal treatment, I know I was missed!

Actually, everyone has pronounced that it is “so good” to have mom home after two weeks and I, too, am glad to be back and enjoying a familiar routine.  I love October in Illinois and am delighted that there are still trees that haven’t yet turned and farmers who are still harvesting.  Nothing smells quite as good as corn and soybean dust blowing across the graying prairie.  Sunday we hiked in the woods and yesterday we drove to the orchard for apples and squash and I promptly tried a pie recipe from the new Apple Pie Cookbook I picked up at the Avila Barn on the coast last week.

While I was gone, I had the opportunity to talk to homeschoolers within four different contexts and the Lord has used that time to impress several things on me, all of which I am certain will affect the topics I will choose to write and speak about in the months to come.  God is doing a wonderful work in the lives of homeschooling moms, convicting them and nurturing them as they raise children for His glory alone.  I am renewed in my commitment to encourage homeschooling moms, knowing their roles during this season of their lives is valuable to not only their families but to the rest of God’s Kingdom and the body of Christ.

One of the most common themes I heard as I listened to these homeschoolers talk is that they desire to build sound and dynamic relationships with their own children.  What a blessing it has been for me to hear moms says things like “yes, I have enjoyed choosing curriculum and teaching my own children, but what I really love is how close my children and I are becoming.”  More than once I heard a mom remark “I came into homeschooling kicking and screaming, claiming I would NEVER homeschool my children, but the Lord has done a wonderful work in my life.”   I praise God for these women, for their tender hearts and their desire to honor the Lord by serving their families.

The concerns I heard from moms are familiar ones to me: finding enough time for each individual child, getting housework done, spending time alone with the Lord, being able to “do it all,” continuing to build solid marriages.   One young mom asked me if it was ok for her to want to spend time all by herself, telling me that sometimes she just needs to be alone for an afternoon to go for a walk and process all she is learning about motherhood and teaching her children.  Another mom mentioned difficult family members and asked how to win them over to homeschooling. The sincerity and maturity of these moms was a blessing and an encouragement to me.

I have also had the opportunity to talk with moms who shared some of their personal issues with me as daughters who were raised in paradigms that have left them struggling with their own methods of discipline, questions about educating their children, and how to deal with the baggage that can come along with those who were raised in abusive Christian homes.  My heart was touched as they shared their desires to forgive their parents and to love their children, practicing the one anothers of Christian kindness in their own homes.  God’s grace in their lives humbled and amazed me.

And, in the past few weeks, I have been struck by how quickly time passes, how fleeting our years are with our children.  As I cuddled a tiny one, I drank in that familiar smell of “new baby” and remembered my own newborns, how their eyes searched my face, each day holding wonder for both of us.  I watched my grandson driving his cars around the room and listened to him chatter, and it reminded me of his daddy when he was three, each day stretching out in front of him with new horizons to explore and discoveries to be made.  As I sat down with my granddaughter and helped her sound out those first words in a phonics reader, I was transported back to those days when I was teaching my own little ones to read and the delight and joy we shared with each newly mastered word. And then, in spending time with my son, I was reminded of this truth…once the phonics workbooks and history flash cards are put away, what is left is the sweetness of our relationships in Christ that we can share with our grown children.

As homeschoolers, we tend to dwell on the mechanics of teaching, the correct tools for the job, the hows and whys of learning, all things that are important.  But we often forget that the end result is to raise children who will see their purpose in life as this, to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, the same purpose each of us must embrace as disciples and disciple makers.  The Lord has given me so many thoughts about accomplishing this purpose and I can’t wait to share them with you in the weeks to come.


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