I was home schooled as a child. That was back when people asked if homeschooling was legal, when mom didn’t allow us to go outside until after the schools let out, and when our neighbors called CPS because they noticed that we weren’t getting on the school bus. That was also back when many curriculum publishers did not sell books to homeschoolers and there certainly was not any curricula written or designed for homeschoolers. I was home schooled back in the dark ages of homeschooling.
God used the amazing experience of my mother being diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live at the age of 35, to push our family into homeschooling. My mom was thirty-five years old and pregnant with her fifth child. I was the oldest at eleven.
My mom and dad were faced with the decision of what Mom should do with her final 6 months. They decided that she would pour her life into mine in a way and to a level that she had not done previously. They would pull me out of school and teach me at home.
My parents had heard of homeschooling before, but did not think it was for them. Even when they made the decision to home school me, my younger brother and sister remained enrolled in Christian school. Several months after deciding to homeschool me, my mom was in the midst of radiation treatments. One morning my younger sister who was then 7, was heart broken and crying because she had to leave for school and was unable to help her mommy. My parents discussed it and the next day gave my brother and sister a paper bag, told them to pack up all the things from their desk at school and to tell their teachers that they weren’t going to be coming back.
When you are faced with death your priorities are much more clear than during the daily grind of life. I was blessed to witness my parents as they traveled that path and it brought clarity to me. I want to make the same decision that they made. I wanted to pour my life into my children, my family. At the end of the day I believe that is what really matters.
I am able to look back on my mother’s cancer as one of God’s greatest blessings to our family. Don’t get me wrong, it was an experience I NEVER want to repeat. It was scary and horrifying and long and hard. I’m sure it wasn’t much fun for her either. However, it changed our family, brought us home and taught us much. It continues to affect my life today as I desired to home educate my children because I was home educated.
I relate this to help explain many of the decisions that my husband and I now make as we home educate our children. We want to be able to look back over our life without regret. We can not possibly do all the thousands of good things that there are to do, so we are unwilling to spend our time doing things that are merely good, we want to choose the best. We want to live each day and make each decision with purpose. Our family’s purpose is to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
One of the ways that we strive to accomplish this is by building relationships. Relationships where we learn to love others even as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. So we attempt to pour our lives into others. One aspect of that is spending time, lots of time each day with our children; teaching our children about our God, talking with our children, holding and loving our children, and yes, enjoying our children. As we are faithful to do the hard work of parenting God blesses us and gives us joys without measure.
The best time every day is the morning when we are snuggled on the couch together reading our Bibles, or maybe it is in the evening when we gather around our table and talk and laugh over the days events, or perhaps when we gather in the family room for family worship, the little kids competing to get in their favorite big kids lap and the big ones asking to sit in mom or dad’s lap. This is life. This is what matters. The piano and ballet, soccer and logic are good, but so many families are so busy running that they don’t have time for what is best, time with their family.
So in our home school, we choose not to do a lot of the extra-curricular activities. We choose to learn together as much as possible. We choose activities that our whole family can enjoy together. We choose people and character over academics. Please don’t misunderstand me, academics are important and we believe that our children are getting a much better education than could receive anywhere else, but if it is a choice between helping those in need or doing our bookwork that day, we choose to serve and are hopefully training our children to do the same.
Did you think I was going to leave you hanging? I nearly did. My mother fought cancer for two years (?) (I was only 11-12 so my memory is a bit fuzzy.) before she went into remission. God answered our prayers that she would live to see her “children’s children” and my mother is currently waiting to meet her nineteenth grandchild! Praise the Lord.
Did you like this? You may also enjoy I’m a Foot: The Blessing of Adversity.
Read more about our homeschool.
Linked to Amy’s Finer Things.