You didn’t know there were dangers to homeschooling? Let me enlighten you!
There are no guaranteed outcomes. You might have a STEM focus and your kid ends up a little nerd. Or you might never do science experiments and your stalwart student blows up the shed, feeding their insatiable curiosity and love of lab notes.
More to the point, and to the heart of the matter, for those of us who homeschool for reasons tied more intimately to our faith, your kids might grow up and fail to embrace the structure or style of the faith you’ve so sacrificially hoped to instill in them. There are no grandkids in the kingdom. Everyone must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. This means that no matter how sincere, fervent or sacrificial we are our kids might go their own way. No matter what perfect curriculum we chose, or how many conferences on world view or apologetics camps our kids attended, they might choose a crooked path. The siren song of the world is clarion clear and the enemy hates us and our children. We can fireproof them all we want but in the end, eternity is between them and God. If we homeschool, it must be from an attitude of obedience and not expected outcomes. If we homeschool with expected outcomes pre-determined, we open ourselves up to a grand poombah attack from the enemy.
You will be challenged to learn and grow beyond what you know. One of the Laws of the Teacher is that the teacher must know what they would teach. Homeschooling is going to stretch and grow you in ways you never could have asked or imagined. You might become an expert at planning (just to keep your sanity) the Medieval Ages, Algebra or Horseback riding, educational method or pedagogy all because you homeschooled and it has take you on a unique path.
The road less traveled will define you. The longer we have homeschooled and the longer we have walked a non-conventional path, the less conventional looking, sounding, feeling and seeing we have become. Homeschooling, as an act of faith, has taken us away from government schools, the passive acceptance of “what’s next” for our kids (college and it’s debt, and then a traditional life style of middle class consumerism); to seek new understandings about faith, entertainment, worship, fellowship and a myriad of other issues. We’ve embraced far more of some things and far less of others.
You won’t be able to do it all, or do it alone. Sooner or later you will have a subject, student, or situation that cooks your grits. Having a team will strengthen your ability to get through it all. No-fail teams include God and your spouse. Trusted friends, support group members and extended family are an added bonus if they can be trusted to support the vision that God has given you. There are plenty of naysayers it the world. While they have their place, on your team most likely isn’t it.
You will have the opportunity to really get to know your kids at a deeper level and vice-versa. Having the opportunity to know my children and live life with them is one of the strong motivations for us to homeschool. The down side is that we also get to know their areas of weakness; we see them as humans, with struggles and sin. And guess what? They get to see us as humans with struggle and sin. And furthermore, we become more aware of our own weaknesses, struggle and sin. Homeschooling, like marriage, is often a crucible, where we are being refined by fire. This gives us a unique and beautiful opportunity to develop a Godly community with Godly fellowship; or conversely, really not like each other. One of our mantas is, “What does God want me to learn from this person or situation.” It is often a challenging question to answer because it gets to the heart of who we are, our motivations, and our willful obedience to God.
Do we love homeschooling? Yes, we do, but it’s not a safe storybook path with a lovely pre-determined ending. It is a dangerous adventure that will offer, and demand, and deliver, more of this and less of that.
Lisa is a faithful, fallen follower of the One who has called her by name, beloved wife and homeschooling Momma. Her plans for fame and fortune are continually way-laid by the Master of the Universe whose plans for her are more humble and far greater than anything she could imagine. She blogs at Golden Grasses about a plethora of topics, most of which really have to do with working out her faith with fear and trembling.