What is your ultimate goal for your children?
All of your comments came back to one thing...for our kids to love God, to serve Him, to be fully satisfied in Him.
And I could not agree more.
Now let me start by admitting I am SO flawed as a parent. I am a sinner saved by grace and any good behaviour or godliness they may exhibit comes directly from Him. But I also believe that we, as parents, can do much to point our children to Jesus. We cannot guarantee their salvations, nor can we guarantee they will not "rebel" or struggle with their faith as they grow up. But we can cling to God's promises and do our very best to live with no regrets.
Five years ago, my oldest child prepared to start kindergarten and I had that lump in my throat, that feeling that a season of life that had been oh, so sweet was drawing to a close. I turned to my husband and voiced the concern of my heart...
"Maybe we should homeschool."
"Now honey," he said in the "uh-oh she wants to build a compound in the mountains somewhere" voice, "that's not possible. We just aren't a homeschool family. We don't live that way."
I reluctantly agreed, but still I struggled.
Kindergarten came and went. My son struggled. We decided to have him repeat when we moved at the end of that school year.
A new school and a year older resulted in a much better year. I felt like we were on the right track, but darn it I missed my little guy all day. But, of course, my selfishly wanting him to be with me all day was not enough.
First grade...he had an amazing teacher with the perfect balance of love and limits. I learned so much from her. I still hold her as the standard when I think of great teachers. She GOT boys, and understood that if they had time to run and sweat they might actually sit still and learn to read. My daughter began kindergarten this year and loved it.
Second grade...another precious, godly teacher. But this year he seemed to struggle more. Sitting became harder, his athletic drive often got him in trouble on the playground. He was counseled to play "fair" when the "squeaky wheels" demanded their time on the kickball field then whined when they didn't get chosen for their preferred position. He at times responded in an unkind fashion, but I had a difficult time curbing those impulsive reactions when I was not there and could only talk to him about it after the fact. But we were told these were typical growing pains of boys. So we waited and prayed and tried to help him navigate these sticky situations the best we could. I spent hours at the school helping, observing and trying to be present in his school life.
My daughter came home crying regularly from first grade, either because of a mean comment that stung (How has "girl stuff" started so young??) or just because she missed me terribly and wished I would homeschool her. My heart ached. I even told her teacher (the same awesome women that had taught my son) and said "but I am afraid I couldn't do it. I don't even remember half of this stuff!" Her reply?
"Oh, you could do it. It's not that hard. Why do you think we have all these books? We have to relearn everything ourselves!"
My wheels were turning, but still my husband did not feel it was the answer. So we pressed on.
Third grade for my son, and second grade for my daughter. OH my goodness, the homework. Sometimes 2 hours of it. Is this necessary? They need to play outside for crying out loud. Daddy works long hours, and the necessary early bedtimes mean they get very little time with him during the week. Is this really ok? Is this normal? If so, is it SUPPOSED to be normal? My son begged, again to be homeschooled. My daughter still came home in tears from insensitive comments flung her way and I began to see qualities in her that scared me...defensiveness, anger, insecurity, ingratitude. How do I combat this when we have maybe one good hour of family time in a day and they are battling these things for 7 hours at school? She would cry because I could not go on some of the field trips, but we have two small children at home and siblings are not allowed...period. What is a mom to do when we have a large family and the pressures of school seem to be pushing the family to live separate lives...to fly in 6 different directions and see a family meal as an occasional treat and not a normal part of life? It just bothered me to the core. I felt myself becoming angry that "school" had to come at the expense of calm and closeness. Add gymnastics, dance, and sports and, well things were just insanity. There had to be another way.
But my husband just wasn't sure...just didn't see how taking that on could actually slow things down.
Then one day, an incident happened that caused great distress to our son. We didn't find out about it until three days after it happened. That was it...my husband said "Let's do it. We can try homeschooling at least this year and see how it goes. If our kids are messed up we won't have anyone to blame but ourselves!"
I was shocked! Finally, the Lord was moving! But wait...that means we are doing this! gulp. Are we sure? Suddenly I began to backtrack mentally....can I really do this?
But the answer, the peace flowed over me like rain. Yes, I can. WE can. This is right. The Lord is in this and has been gently pushing us toward this. I don't know whether it is just for a season or for the long haul, but I have no doubt we are in God's will as we move forward. And there is so much more joy and blessing to come!
I can hardly wait!