Just recently my good friend IRL (in real life), The Scooper, dished on her family’s transition from homeschooling to school in her most recent post:
I’ve walked beside her as she took the brave and scary step to enter this realm of the unknown. As homeschool moms there is so much encouragement in our decision to homeschool. Although there are adversities if you have “your people” you have lots of support. Scooper admits she has ONE friend who has gone before her on this journey. ONE.
I can say I have Two. Two, including Scooper, who have walked this path just one year before me. I am so thankful for their support in our family’s decision. Their encouraging words have been a life line to me at times. Scooper says it well: “Even though homeschoolers are still greatly in the minority, there is a lot of online support and often much personal, community support for making the switch. It’s a countercultural decision and as I’ve said before, you need your people. I know I did. I’m thankful that such support exists; I know it hasn’t always been the case.”
The switch is difficult. I, like Scooper, yearn to base my decisions on what God wants for my children. I am a Christian. I’m a Believer. And in my heart of hearts I long for heaven. When my kids were little my life required a lot of physical work. As they have grown into 14, almost 13, 11 and 8 I find I now spend more time and energy on emotional things. I no longer change diapers, rope them in for nap time or feed them with those sweet baby spoons.
Now I spend my energy tightly curling back fingers that I have woven into their lives, allowing them to grow into the person God wants them to be. For me, this means learning to let them fail within the safe confines of our home so when they leave they do so as strong, God-loving adults.
I know many moms struggle with some of the same voices I do. We often feel entirely responsible for our children, their grades, their dress, their friends, their attitudes. But I’m learning, ever so slowly, to remove myself from their lives in healthy ways as to allow them growth and maturity.
And again I find God leading me through these unchartered waters. From Scooper: Allow me to share what I’m discovering:
- Sometimes God leads us through His word. This was one of the ways he confirmed, for us, the decision to homeschool nearly six years ago.
- Sometimes God leads us through prayer and meditation as we seek answers.
- Sometimes God leads us as the Holy Spirit moves and leads in powerful and unmistakable ways.
- Other times it is a still, small voice. Sometimes God leads through wise counsel.
- Sometimes God leads through the guidance of our spouse.
- And sometimes God leads through circumstances and common sense.
For me it’s been the prayers and love of good friends, words from my husband, circumstances and God slowly opening my eyes to see that he has something better for my family than “the stuck place” I’ve felt we were in. The merry-go-round of life. The beating my head against the same wall and expecting different results.
I tend to glorify our years of homeschooling when I think back. Yes, they were precious and they were sweet as we intertwined our lives with the sweet families God placed around us as “our people”. There were park days and field trips and snuggle days with Barney, Blues Clues and lunches filled with jelly beans and PB&J. There were also times I wanted to bang my head against the wall and scream, “I’m only one person!” With four children depending upon me I took it upon myself to be their all and all. Dare I stop her to ask myself, “In what way was I serving myself and not my kids?” How does that get all messed up inside? When did I depart from God first; me, my husband and my marriage second; and my children third? When did they become the rulers of my universe? Why did I let them?
I’ve never been one to say I need to be needed. But as I dig deep within myself I wonder……”Did I need to be needed without even realizing it or did I accept the role of caretaker of the universe because I felt it my duty?” Or maybe it just made me feel important. (ouch!)
The transition from homeschooling to school has been so difficult for me. However difficult I’m beginning to learn to walk in the FREEDOM God has set before me. I’m taking baby steps. It’s hard. Sometimes I cry all the way home from dropping the kids off at school and walk into a quiet house and wonder what to do with myself.
The Lord cautions me away from busyness. He calls me into quiet. There are days I feel I’ve accomplished nothing and days I feel successful. And I wonder about the labels we place on things. What is success? I think back on Scooper’s words: “Trust that God has the right training ground for your kid and it may not be the one you’d planned. Your hope is not in a formula; it’s in a Person. Though we lead and guide our children, we too are led and guided by our own Shepherd.”
I’m holding tightly to my Shepherd’s hand as I continue down the path into the realm of the unknown.