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Take All the Time You Need, But Hurry Up!
Posted by Barbara Smith (BWSmith)
This message was originally posted on
Christian Homeschool Fellowship on the Web
http://www.chfweb.com/


One crisp September morning, many years ago, I snapped a picture of our son going off to second grade. He is perching on our porch — scrubbed and grinning. As I relived this "Kodak" moment, a familiar sad feeling flooded my heart. That feeling always edged in around the feeling of joy when I watched him begin a new school adventure. As I saw him bound down the steps, lunch box and sweater flying, to meet his ride to school, I understood that he would never simply be around the house again, albeit under foot. I realized I was feeling was an emotion akin to "homesickness" for our son.

That fall, some friends began homeschooling. I reacted immediately. The idea of taking children out of traditional learning environments and bringing them home to learn boggled my mind. They took their daughter, a senior, out of high school. Their son, barely entering middle school, also came home.

Well! I thought this was unwise, a conviction I did not mind expressing when I wasn't belittling the whole notion of homeschooling.

However, our friends reported on their children's progress periodically on the deepening bonds of fellowship within their family. Intrigued by these developments, we accepted their invitation to dinner and a discussion with a group of home schooling parents.

The speaker, Gary Cox superintendent of Walkersville Christian Family Schools, got right to the point: "Home is where they learn the greatest lessons."

Silently, I recalled some lessons I had been teaching our young son and daughter by my conduct and conversation, and they were not so great! So I decided to pay attention.

Foreseeing a lecture on how to protect our children from the evils of society, I was unsettled when Gary instead said the goal of home schooling was to release children into the world prepared, to stand for Christ.

"The point of home schooling is not academics," Gary said.

"Oh, really? Then what is the point of educating children, Gary?", I silently wondered. He continued, as if responding to my unasked question, "The point of home schooling is to develop a spiritual heritage." Gary supported his argument from Deuteronomy 6 and Luke 2:41-52. "And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him." (Luke 2:50)

Moses said that the parents were to teach their children and grandchildren to fear the Lord. And he really would have known! I asked myself, are hurried family devotions and delegating our children's education to a Christian school what God had in mind for our family?

Did I know what was going on during those hours the children were away? Were their hearts even responding to Jesus Christ? What did it matter if our children excelled at school and missed heaven? Guardedly, I continued to listen and worry.

In my mind, I raised still another objection. "How will our children learn if they are not in a classroom?" Again, Gary's comments countered to my objections. "‘Socialization' of our children is best done in the home where children can learn by doing, in the security of their home."

I began to wonder if God might want us to consider home schooling. "Na-a-a-a-ah, surely not me!" I assured myself.

However, one thing I did learn that night, was that God is going to hold my husband and me accountable for our children's training — wherever they went to school.

Late bloomer that I am, the question of whether to home school germinated for two years while we appraised our children's academic programs and their social life. It was a full three years before we took steps to bring our son and daughter home, and another two to turn to the Lord to guide us to the curriculum we should use. And we spent a long time unlearning negative habits, both theirs and mine.

Many more falls have rolled by now. We've learned many lessons in and out of the textbooks. Finally, at age eighteen, our son again left for school, for college, and this he would not be returning in the late afternoon. I again snapped pictures of the "Kodak" moment, and now remember with bittersweet joy the farewell embraces and waves. He left the nest for his first long solo flight. When he returned, the grinning little boy had become well hidden in a self-possessed young man.

Of course we miss him, and we are still homesick for him. Nevertheless, God gave us the remarkable privilege of overseeing our son's preparatory schooling at home and watching him grow into a man. And God also has allowed our two children to watch their parents grow up a bit. The Lord nurtured our relationships while teaching all of us that He delights to instruct both children and their parents. He gave us all an appetite for learning. He accomplished through us what we could not do on our own, and what others could not do for us.

If you wonder about bringing - or keeping - your kids home, LISTEN carefully for God's voice. He will direct you in the midst of all the good advice you are receiving, mine included. If you have doubts, ask Him to give you His direction. Then do the very next thing, OBEY Him. The Creator of the Universe, who is your heavenly Father, is more than able to direct your steps to the books your kids need to read to be "educated." And, He is also the One who can shape your children's hearts and minds to obey Him and get real wisdom.

So take all the time you need to decide about homeschooling, but hurry up.


Taken from:
Growing Up Homeschooling,
(or learning what we wanted the kids to take to heart)

Due Summer, 1998
Pre-publication order from:
Third Floor Publishing
PO Box 827
Arnold, MD 21012
$8.95 plus 3.00 postage (Maryland residents add 5% MD sales tax)


© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
Please contact Barbara Smith at workbook@toad.net before reprinting any of Barbara's messages. These messages are taken straight from the chfweb.com Message Board and Barbara may want to check them over for publication. Please include, in the body of your message, which message you are interested in reprinting.

Please send a copy of the publication to:
Third Floor Publishing
PO Box 827
Arnold, MD 21012

We hope our thoughts encourage you in the Lord Jesus Christ who has enabled us to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined -- please let us know what YOU think. E-mail us at workbook@toad.net. (Please don't forget to include your e-mail address with in the body of the message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient e-mail addresses.)




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Barbara & Douglas Smith
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul ..."
Hebrews 6:19

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