Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Reluctant Homeschooler

This is how I categorize myself. 

I've thought of running an anonymous blog where others like me can join and freely share our feelings without our true identities being revealed. No one in our homeschool co-op would know. Friends at church who have us on a super-parent pedestal wouldn't be tempted to remove us. Husbands wouldn't lose confidence in us. Parents wouldn't know our inner struggles. We would be free from judgment!

Alas, that is a pipe dream and no way to live your life. I yearn for transparency and honesty from those around me, so I must also offer it.

I'm not a gung-ho, homeschool is the only way to go, "only parents who don't really love their kids send them to public school", God says every Christian must homeschool, this-is-what-I've-wanted-to-do-my-whole-life kind of homeschooler (at least I didn't start in any of those veins).

For us, homeschool was an educational choice, based on our youngest school-aged child's auditory/kinetic learning style and our local charter school not offering much more than "visual/reading" learning encouragement. For curriculum, I chose Alpha Omega’s Switched On Schoolhouse for several reasons, but mostly because it was a package deal (no lesson planning), on the computer (no papers to keep up with) and the multi-media instruction (no lectures from me).

Over the last year, along with my confirmed suspicion that I stink at being consistent, I’ve learned that I’m going to have to do more. If I want our homeschool to be successful (and I do), then I’ve got to step up to the plate. BLAHHH (I don’t want to!) I’ve got to be more involved, be 3 steps ahead, make plans, research curricula, put together a customized plan for each child based on their individual learning styles and interests.

GASP. I… Can’t… Breathe!

I knew all of this before I started, I just hoped that it wouldn’t apply to me. I hoped that a single source would be the answer, that one-size truly would fit mine. I wanted an easy way out, just like with everything else. (Yes, I’m hearing my parents’ words echoing in my head “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”)

See, the problem with my children’s education isn’t wholly them. I knew this, that’s why I chose to homeschool! The largest problems are the method and approach. So why did I copy the method and approach? It’s a bit more flashy and technical, but it’s still the same approach.

He said to all of them, "Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me. Luke 9:23, God’s Word Translation 1995

The problem with my children’s education is me. Just like the only thing standing in between what God desires for me, and me, IS me. I have chosen to take responsibility for my children’s education, so therefore I must bear that “cross” DAILY. I must “say no to the things I want”. I’d like to fall on the floor and pitch a big fit right now! It would be so much easier to send them back to school, put the toddler in a mother’s day out, and get a part time job so I could afford to go for lunch with friends and pedicures! It would be more fun to be “free” during the days, and I could rationalize it by being active in their school and volunteering at church or a soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter. BUT, that’s not MY cross. My “cross” is my children. And just like the cross of Christ, it is not a burden, it is not meant to be heavy and oppressive.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this:

It is an unspeakable comfort that our Lord Jesus is God's Anointed; this signifies that he was both appointed to be the Messiah, and qualified for it. Jesus discourses concerning his own sufferings and death. And so far must his disciples be from thinking how to prevent his sufferings, that they must prepare for their own. We often meet with crosses in the way of duty; and though we must not pull them upon our own heads, yet, when they are laid for us, we must take them up, and carry them after Christ. It is well or ill with us, according as it is well or ill with our souls. The body cannot be happy, if the soul be miserable in the other world; but the soul may be happy, though the body is greatly afflicted and oppressed in this world. We must never be ashamed of Christ and his gospel.

“It is well or ill with us, according as it is well or ill with our souls”. Again, it’s back to ME, the condition of my soul, my heart, my relationship with Christ. Aye Aye Aye! Where’s the magic bullet? A pill that will solve the issue, a panacea? There is no such thing.

As A.W. Tozer says in The Pursuit of God:

The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul. (Page 70)
(Deep breath)

So, my friends. That is the truth. I am lazy. I would rather sit back and let someone else do it for me, Spiritually and Educationally. I’ve been moved in the last few months to be even more authentic, more honest, more transparent, but most of all to eagerly desire God and accept all that comes from His hand without question or complaint, trusting that He works all things together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.

So, I’m off in search of curriculum, methods and goodies that will empower my children, but first, I’m going to pray. I’m going to trust. I’m going to seek God’s wisdom. I’m going to ask Him to make up for my (serious) shortcomings. I’m going to ask Him to help me be what each of my children needs.

In fact, I just did.

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