Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our first homeschool graduate {Part 2}: A Mom's Reflections on This Journey of Homeschooling

As we were preparing to graduate our very first home-school student, my heart was so very full.
It's nearly impossible to express the emotions that sweep over you when you realize that all those years of trying to impart knowledge and facts, choosing curriculum for each subject that would best help that child learn and understand the concepts, begging God for wisdom, all the tears, all the adventures, all the planning, all the scheduling are culminating into this one moment.  How do you encapsulate all the lessons learned, all the answered prayers, all the joys, all the agonies, all the victories?


               
As a homeschooling Mom, the experience is naturally all different from that of the Dad's.  Typically, because of work schedules, more of the responsibility for planning and executing the schooling falls to the Mom.  So, naturally, I had more to share.  My prayer was that my reflections would not only encourage our daughter as she remembered all we had been through together and the miraculous victory it was to complete high school successfully, but to also encourage fellow homeschooling Mom's on their journey as well. 
I want to share this today with continued quiet prayers that it will bless another Mom who is struggling and encourage her to remember that our God is very real, He is very aware of what we need, and He delights in bringing about His glorious purposes through our weakness!!


"A Mom's Reflections on This Journey of Homeschooling"

"Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen!!  Thank you so much for coming to this very special day for our family!  It’s really hard to believe that it’s here!  Not because it seemed to go by “in-the-blink-of-an-eye,”  but because there were many days and YEARS that I thought we weren’t going to SURVIVE much less finish.  My heart is so full, but I want the testimony I’m going to share today to, first of all, encourage all our friends here who are in the throes of homeschooling and are doubting themselves.  Second of all, I want to point to Jesus and give Him all the glory for the amazing things He has done in Lexi’s heart and in MY heart through this process.

 
                I did not start out Lexi’s education with the intention of homeschooling her!  On the contrary, we considered every other option out there.  Both her dad and I were convinced that public school in our area was not an option for our family.  So I began touring the local Christian schools.  The sticker shock was overwhelming especially for a one income ministry family.  I soon realized that my ONLY option was homeschooling.  I had never taught an elementary class of any kind outside of Sunday School and Junior Church.  I thought, “What in the world does a HOMESCHOOL even look like?  On a practical level?  How do you feed a baby, do laundry, answer the phone, go to the grocery store, clean up kid messes AND do school work all at the same time?”  But God gave me some answers straight from His Word.  I’m sure you’re all familiar with the scripture passage found in Deuteronomy 6: 3-9. 
I read this passage of scripture right about the same time we were wrestling over what to do about Lexi’s education.  It was just what I needed in that moment.  I thought, “How am I supposed to do this {talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way} if they aren’t even with me?  If someone else is having a heavier influence on my children than I am? 
                Another verse that God used to confirm our decision is another very familiar scripture found in Proverbs 22:6.  For many years, I thought that verse was admonishing parents to raise up their children “in the way of the LORD,” in a Christian home, and it would become a part of his life and he would “not depart from it.”  But over time, I realized that we all know parents who’ve done just that and their children grew up to make terrible decisions and would leave their Christian upbringing behind.  The Lord came to show me that another way to apply that scripture is through HIS eyes.  “Train up a child in the way HE should go….”  Not the way I {as the Mom}  WANT him to go or think he should go, but in the way GOD HAS DESIGNED HIM or HER to go.  To follow God’s plan for her life.  And we learn what that is by spending lots of time with our children.  Finding out how God has gifted them.  Wired them.  And encourage them in THAT direction whatever that may be.  It made sense to me that the very best way my children could explore their gifts, could hear God’s voice in their life, was by keeping them in a place where they heard less of our society’s wooings and less silly, distracting nonsense from their peers. 
                Armed with these confirmations from the Lord, we jumped right in.  Has it been all fun and games?  Has it been like all the cozy, romantic Victorian pictures of Mothers sitting near the fire with her children gathered all around her while she read lovely picture books?  Hardly!!  But I have learned and am STILL learning several important things:



1.)  If you are a married, homeschooling Mom, you have to have a husband who is 100% on board with this kind of lifestyle.  Because that is what it is.  A lifestyle.  It is infused into every part of your day.  “When you lie down, when you rise up, when you walk by the way.”  You are always looking for ways to teach your child life principles and social skills and God’s way of treating people and learning about the world around you.  And you NEED the Dad to be willing to be a part of that!!  Mutiny is the result of the uninvolved Father.

2.)  The best catalyst for revival in your life is to become a homeschooling Mom. 
I can remember many days simply crying out to God for answers.  How do get through the day.  For a breakthrough.  For an intervention.  For God to get a hold of my children’s heart before I strangled them.  You learn quickly that your children have a filthy sin nature, and that by simply keeping them home you’ll end up with lovely, Christian adults is a myth fabricated from the pit of Hades!!  I still cry out flare-prayers when World War 3 breaks out for wisdom on how to teach them to love each other!    I’ve learned that these children did not come with instruction books, but that God gave me his Word to guide me!  So I began scouring through its pages for a theme verse for each of them that encapsulated what God has been doing in their lives individually.  God gave me this verse for Lexi many years ago that has become my theme for her.  Turn with me to Psalm 90:17.  She has always been busy with her hands painting things, tying things together, catching creepy amphibians, and playing with her siblings.  It has been AMAZING to watch the Lord work out this scripture in her life!


3.)  I am still learning that homeschooling is less about the education of my children and more about what God wants ME to learn and the areas in my life that need growth!!
If you are searching for a closer walk with the Lord, if you really want to see the power of God in your life, answered prayers…..then homeschooling is for you!!  Because you will NEED Him.  From curriculum choices, to daily routine decisions to contentment with what your husband and God provides, to the results God produces in the hearts of your children.

4.)  Finally, God really does work all things together for good!!
Sometimes following God’s leading in our lives requires a great amount of living by faith.  Of radical living.  Our situation has not been ideal.  We do not live in a giant house with a room dedicated strictly to education.  We do not have endless sources of income to allow for exciting vacations and top-quality educational equipment.  But He has provided just what we needed to help us through each obstacle just in the nick of time!  In ways that we never saw coming. The homeschool assistance program here at Galilean Baptist Church became one of those ways.  Who would have dreamed up something so wonderful, so ideal for our family except the Lord.  The Lord also changed the course of our lives 9 years ago when He led us to Worth Baptist Church!  We were nervous about where He was leading us and the dramatic change for our children that it would be, but God is faithful and omniscient.  He knows exactly what each of us need!  My children have been afforded more opportunities for learning about God’s grace, what down-and-dirty ministry looks like, travel to foreign countries, and summer camp than we could have ever imagined!!  God keeps His word and answers prayer!!
 

Lexi,
I love you with all my heart!  I am absolutely amazed at what God has done with your life since the day you were born!  I admit, I have had my doubts about how this was all going to end up, but I couldn’t be more thrilled!!  You have persevered.  You haven’t let one single obstacle stand in your way.  You looked at each one as a challenge and simply laughed in it’s face!!!  You are an overcomer!!  You are fearless!!!  You are brilliant and you are beautiful!!! Keep your eyes on the Lord.  Look to Him to guide you in every decision.  Stay in His Word.  Let it comfort and guide you!!  He’s designed you with untapped potential and if you stay surrendered to Him, He’ll do amazing things in your life!!   A little Dr. Seuss book that we read once fully says what is in my heart and I’ll close with this:"


"Congratulations!
Today is your day!
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!



You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know
And YOU are the girl who'll decide where to go.

 
You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.



OH!
THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!

You'll be on y our way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

 
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.

 
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

 
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!


You’re off to great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"














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