Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do Not Be Conformed

I am not your average homeschooling mom. I didn’t come from a homeschooling family; in fact I didn’t even know there was such a thing as homeschooling until after my second daughter was born-and she’s only eight now. And although I am now saved by grace through my faith, it wasn’t until about that same time that I found that salvation in Jesus Christ. So while we sometimes went to church while I was growing up and I heard about God here and there, I was well into adulthood before I truly became a Christian.

Becoming a new creation in Christ is a process that happens over time. I had many, many strongholds that I needed to break free from. Thankfully, and only by God’s grace, I am a different person now than I was before I knew Jesus five short years ago. While I’m a different person than I was, I’m far from done. I am thankful to be a work in progress; to know every day I have the opportunity to grow a little closer to the person God meant for me to be.

Homeschooling is challenging, and sometimes I let my fears and feelings of inadequacy get the best of me. Sometimes, like this past year, I let those fears win. We moved into a new house at the end of December. I was overwhelmed with the work involved in moving, at the point of the year that I always tend to get in a funk anyway. We were in a new town with a new school system, and very long story short we decided to send our kids to public school. It was January at this point and we figured it was just a few months. “Let them try it out” we told ourselves. “It’ll be good for them” we rationalized. I was tired of being different. I wanted to be like all my friends; to experience the same things they did, to have something in common. I wanted to pursue my dreams, to go to school so I could be something the world viewed as successful, instead of “just” being a homeschool mom.

And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God   -Romans 12:2

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful-Matthew 13:22

The girls did fine academically; they were so far ahead of their classmates after being homeschooled for the past few years that class work was a breeze for them. However, those few months in public school did nothing for us but reinforce why we chose to homeschool in the first place.

  • God. Our relationship with God is of eternal significance. It is my greatest desire to nurture the love my girls have for Him into a life long walk with Him.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. –Deuteronomy 6:5-7

       How do I impress these things on my children if someone else is responsible for teaching them eight hours a day?

  • Family. I want our most important earthly relationships to be with each other. Homeschooling allows us to foster these relationships without my girls taking their cues from society as to how they should treat each other. It allows us precious time together that we wouldn’t have otherwise. The American family isn’t what it used to be. We are all so busy doing things that time with our kids can get lost in the shuffle if it isn’t made a priority. Time passes by so quickly, before we know it our kids will be grown and living their own lives. What a blessing it is to be able to spend this time with them now, when it’s most important.
  • Character. When our girls are grown we want them to have an unshakeable relationship with Jesus. We want them to have a firm knowledge of the Word of God and to trust in it absolutely. We want them to be confident in who they are and what they believe, to know they are loved unconditionally. We want them to be kind, joyful, loving, compassionate, giving, humble, respectful, and faithful. We want so many things for them, things that we can more firmly lay the foundation during these impressionable years.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

  • Our girls are gifted academically. The absolute best learning environment for them is at home. We can go at their pace and tailor the curriculum to their interests. Statistically homeschoolers are exceptional, often performing well above grade level. As for the socialization issue, which is a favorite topic in my extended family, putting a bunch of six year olds together in a room isn’t socialization. At least not the type I want my girls to take part in. My girls can carry on a conversation with people of all ages. They have friends. They go on field trips. They play soccer, take dance, all kinds of things. They aren’t sitting at home isolated with nobody to talk to because they homeschool. Enough said.

Homeschooling is hard work. It’s an all-consuming, never-ending, test your resolve, make you question your sanity type of hard that some people may never be called to experience. But I’ve been called. I’ve been called, and that’s what I need to keep my focus on during those times of doubt and feelings of inadequacy.

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. –Romans 8:30

The other day I was baking muffins and the little girls were at the table, talking to me and to each other while working on some math work. It was late afternoon and my kitchen was warm and smelled good, and there was a nice summer breeze flowing through all the windows. It was in that moment of complete contentment that I realized we are exactly where we should be, doing exactly what God intended us to be doing. There’s no feeling in the world like it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.-Romans 8:28

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