On the podcast this week, Greg offered encouragement to those who are considering homeschooling their children (or already working hard at it) by reading a letter sent to him by a friend of Stand to Reason. Here is that letter:
Thursday last week was a rough day in "Mom" land. I failed to get up and going before my kids, and for me, this usually means I am playing catch-up all day. I didn't have an aim for the day, our baby decided to take the opportunity to eat much more often than usual and so our routine was out of whack, and my two five year olds were bored to tears and solved their boredom by bickering with each other constantly. I didn't get a chance to have a meal, let alone a shower, until mid-afternoon and generally felt like the worst version of myself as a person, mother, wife, you name it. I called my husband in tears, pleading with him – or perhaps, with myself – to change our minds about homeschooling that will be starting in a week. I was convinced that not only couldn't I do it, I didn't want to! I watched all my friends on the street happily walk their kiddos to the school bus (which a good family friend is driving this year), wave goodbye, and have a day to themselves to get things done, have a break, run errands without tag-alongs! The ease. The simplicity. The peace and quiet.
Thoughts began to invade, like perhaps I couldn't give my daughters everything they needed for their education, like socialization. P.E. Reading Group. And all the other things I enjoyed about school as a child but that my girls wouldn't experience in the same way through a homeschool co-op. I started to spiral into imagining that I would perhaps be harming them by homeschooling, and that I would certainly drive myself nuts! Suffice it to say, by bedtime my heart was heavy about the decision we had already made.
As I prayed in the shower the next morning, heart still heavy, I asked that God would break through the emotions and the mental fog and bring clarity and direction for me in regards to school. That He would show me the "why" if, indeed, the Classical homeschool co-op is still the best course to pursue at this time even if it is the most challenging. As I got ready for the day, I decided to listen to a sermon podcast, but for some reason our church website was down. So I thought I'd double check the STR site for any podcasts I had missed. Imagine my curiosity when I saw the title of the newest podcast: The First Day of School.
Greg, your words literally brought tears to my eyes and fresh hope to my heart. The truth that "there is no such thing as a neutral education" struck me to the core. And as I heard you describe the first day's chapel, the instruction and the singing, and the praying afterwards, my heart was tenderized with the fresh realization that academics are secondary to what my husband and I really value in our educational "aim" for our girls. It is the development of the soul, providing a firm foundation not only for this life but for the life to come, that is of highest priority. The weight of this responsibility is, at times, crushing. But I believe that God crushes us to rebuild us into His likeness, and that He promises to carry the burden with us. Let me be crushed and rebuilt for my children, the most precious of burdens I will ever carry!
I am so grateful that while we don't have the ability at this time to send our girls to a Christian school, we do have the opportunity to homeschool them with a fabulous Classical Christian co-op. I trust that as we proceed, even though aspects of this path seem daunting at present, I am confident that God will bring provision in ways I can't expect or anticipate from this vantage point. I believe that simply being faithful to Him will bring joy, peace, and fulfillment to our family, and maybe I will absolutely love educating at home! Regardless, after listening to your podcast and discussing it afterwards with my husband, we are renewed in our conviction that this is the best path for us at present, that we must educate our precious girls in light of eternity, with the best of our ability as God gives us grace to do so.
For more on classical Christian education, see here.