real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

my big red suitcase

When my daughter was about to give birth to her first baby, the plan was for me to travel to South Carolina and stay with her. It had been years since I had purchased any luggage and this special event seemed to call for a new suitcase. After considering what I might need for this trip I bought this huge, jumbo sized Pullman bag, bright red and equipped with various pockets and treasure-holders!

It was not until I wheeled that suitcase into the house and displayed it in the middle of the living room floor for the family to admire that I was struck by the fact that the experience was similar to our annual Christmas tree purchase. You see, in the wide open fields of the Christmas tree farm, the trees seem small but once there is one glorious evergreen positioned in the corner of a room, it always looks much larger. That’s how it was with my big red suitcase!

I will say, however, that it did hold everything I “needed” for my trip and I joked that I might be able to even “sneak” my new grandson home with me when I returned. However, I could not carry the suitcase or barely lift it, for that matter, once it was packed. I was depending on both the wheels on the bottom of the bag and the brawn of my son and son and son-in-law, once I reached my destination, to allow me to transport all my stuff.

The size of the bag became comical, even more so when it was moved from place to place in my daughter’s small living room, which had become my temporary bedroom during my stay with her. I was either pulling it out, packing it up, trying to maneuver around it, or find an inconspicuous spot for it when visitors came to see the new baby. The size of that suitcase became a joke on me that still inspires laughter and groans, depending on the person who is telling the story or, more importantly, who had to carry that baggage around!

Sometimes people think that homeschooling will guarantee perfect children or they come to homeschooling with the idea that taking their children out of the public or private system will be the solution for any struggles or problems they may be having, either individually or as a family. Initially this may seem true. Alleviating the negative peer environment of the public education system along with its anti-Christian worldview is a first step toward shaping a family structure around the word of God and the fruits of this choice will soon become apparent.

The truth is, once you begin educating your children at home, sharing the closeness that inevitably comes by working together day in and day out for common goals, any and every personal issue you have stored in your “big red suitcase” will soon spill over into your life, right into the middle of your living room, and usually it will do so in unexpected ways.

In the next few weeks I want to address some of those ideas that we carry around with us when we begin homeschooling that can set us up for discouragement and failure if we do not recognize them and address them. I know this list isn’t exhaustive and, as usual, I welcome your thoughts and comments.


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