To the millions of parents out there who have found themselves suddenly homeschooling due to the pandemic, I want you to know that I have been where you are! I was not forced into the role but landed there by choice. I thought that now might be a good reason to talk to you about why I decided to make your temporary situation my permanent one in 2005.
If you open your Bible to Deuteronomy 6, you will find this admonition: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (vs.4-9) There is a lot to unpack there, but one word stands out to me: diligently. You shall teach these things diligently to your children. How do we know if we are teaching Biblical truth diligently to our children?
This was the question that was burning in my heart and mind in 2004-2005. I had three children in a good public elementary school. We had no issues with the school at all. Here was the problem: We got up early in the morning, got ready for school, caught the bus, spent all day at school, rode the bus home, went to ball practice/game or theater practice/show, had dinner, got baths, and went to bed, exhausted. We did this over and over – this was our lives. Sure, we said our prayers and tried to speak of the Bible when we could . . . but there was no diligence. This began to really convict me. I just didn’t think we were living out the Deuteronomy passage in our home. I was fearful of ignoring it. I had already observed the moral decay and falling away of young people from the church and life grounded in faith. Would my kids do the same? Would they follow the crowd?
I should stop right here and say that homeschooling was not popular where I lived at the time. There were those near us who were against it. It was not an easy decision. We had to take on the baggage of being different and labeled unjustly. In spite of all that, my husband and I knew that we wanted to try it. So, in the fall of 2005, we took the risk. I was so green and inexperienced! All I knew was this: I was going to start every day with prayer and Bible study. I was going to do everything within my power to point them in the right direction. I was going to teach them to love God and books and nature and traveling and family time and everything good I could think of. Here is what is interesting about it, fifteen years later: I am confident that we accomplished our goals! We had a significant amount of control as to how our children turned out, for one reason: we were with them the majority of the time. We took away the distractions, the tight schedules, the hours away from home, the poor attitudes of other students, etc. We crafted a world at home that we wanted for our children – healthy, happy, kind, supportive, and Biblically-based. I want to say this as humbly as I possibly can to you: it worked. That is not to say that our children are perfect or that we didn’t make mistakes or come up short in areas – we did. But the over-arching goal was accomplished, and we never – not once – regretted our decision.
Thanks to homeschooling, my children spent a great amount of time in the Bible, for which I cannot be more thankful. As they got older, they watched video lessons and got into Bible doctrine and deeper studies. It was wonderful. We had great discussions and saw our children grow not just Biblically but in maturity as well. I saw the fruit of diligently seeking Him in my home. That passage in Deuteronomy is no longer just words on a page to me. I took it seriously and all I have reaped is joy from having tried to follow it.
If you are considering homeschooling, I have some advice for you: do not be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of! Great experiences for you and your family await! This slower pace you are enjoying now can be yours permanently. You can take time for the truly important lessons that you want your children to have. You can discuss life at your leisure. You can diligently teach God’s truth to your children, and I believe with all my heart that God will bless it!