Tuesday, August 11, 2015

6 Things Learned From Our Journey Out of Homeschooling

This year, our family made a hard decision to move our family away from homeschooling and into a local Christian school. It wasn't a quick or easy decision, but with lots of prayer and tears, was confirmed by God to us.

But even while knowing we were prayerfully following where we felt God was leading, there were many things that God had to teach me through this...and even now, I am still learning.  Here are a few things that our journey out of homeschooling has taught me:

1) Even good things, when done outside of God's will, are not good things.  Have you been told that too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing? Take eating ice cream, for example.  I tell my kids this little "quote" frequently, but sometimes it isn't so easy to apply it to yourself.  Homeschooling is great in so many ways.  We love {the idea of} homeschooling, but just because we love it doesn't mean that God has it planned for us.  And, no matter how good something is, if it isn't where God is leading, I don't want to be there doing it...and trust me, neither do you.

2) Each family and their dynamics were designed and created perfectly by God, but are all different.  Just because homeschooling {or not homeschooling} is right for one person definitely doesn't mean that it will be the same for someone else.  It just doesn't work that way.  And, just because it worked one year, doesn't mean it's going to work every year.  Life changes...seasons change.  The book of Ecclesiastes is all about changes of seasons in life.  God told us to expect it, embrace it, and learn from it.

3) God fully intended and expects us to put away worry.  Don't waste your emotions, time, and energy worrying about how good or bad you did as your child(ren)'s teacher.  Don't make yourself miserable over whether or not they matched up to the levels of the others their age.  Don't worry about whether or not they are going to thrive or merely survive the change.  In short, the Bible tells us not to worry about ANYTHING.  {Yes, I am guilty...and have to make this a conscious effort daily.}  But God told us that His yoke is easy...He'll handle our burdens if we just give them to Him and trust Him with them fully.

4) Self-given guilt trips are not recommended or productive.  It does no one any good whatsoever for you to make yourself feel guilty about your family's decision for change.  The "If only I had..." or "I should have tried..." or "Maybe I could have..." is not helpful, but harmful for you and your family.  Just don't go there.

5) I does not matter what anyone else thinks about your decision, your reasons for your decision, or the details surrounding it.  I am the world's worst about worrying about what others will think about what I do/wear/think/say/write/whatever....and you know what, that's PRIDE, and it's a sin!  It doesn't matter what others think as long as you and your family are following the direction God has called you.  He gave you the child(ren) you have for a reason, knowing that you would {and should} sometimes do things different than those around you.  So, don't worry about anyone else.  Don't worry AT ALL {remember #3???}.

6) Following God's direction out of homeschooling {or whatever your decision may be}, does not make you a failure.  It was very hard for me as the "homeschooling mom" to accept that our choice to enroll the kids in a local Christian school was not, at least in part, because I had somehow failed in my job.  I didn't work at it hard enough...I didn't balance school with life enough...I didn't separate mom from teacher enough...I didn't choose the right curriculum for their learning styles...and I could go on and on and on.  But, the fact of the matter is, something changed for all of us.  It wasn't anyone's "fault" that we changed, it was simply us being willing to follow Christ even through in and out of different seasons of life.  {That "change" thing that the Bible told us about...see #2 again, if needed.}  You didn't fail.  I didn't fail.  Well, I do fail...every day, actually {if we're honest about it, we all are...we are all sinners -- Romans 3:23}.  But my failure isn't the reason my kids are no longer homeschooled.  

I don't know what change in season you may be experiencing, or may be about to experience, but if you find yourself in a changing season, I hope these things help you on your journey, as they have me.  {And maybe you'll learn them earlier in the process than I did, since I am only able to see these more clearly as I look hindsight.}  Bill Hybels, author of Simplify, our current Life Group Bible Study states about learning to transition to the next season of life that "we must learn and move on.  Moving on means I must be willing to say yes to the unknown ahead of me and trust God's leading."  That's where I am right now...learning to be willing to say yes to the unknown...the unfamiliar...the uncomfortable...and trust that God knows what's best for me, my family, and my life.