Education

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School starts today, at least for most of the friends in our smallish community. This is the day my Facebook feed will be packed with excited faces, posed eagerly in front of a school building with brand new clothes and a heavily-laden backpack. But for the first time in five years, my kids won't be with them. I won't be driving them to school, and we won't walk down those familiar halls packed with anxious parents to the freshly-decorated room they will call home for the next nine months.

This is the year my kids (and I) begin a new adventure: homeschool.

How and Why We Made the Transition from Public School to Homeschool | www.thereisgrace.com

It still seems a little strange to say, We are homeschooling. Not strange in an uneasy way, but strange in a "we're about to embark on a whole new way of life" way.

I am a firm believer that a family's decision of how to educate their children is a very personal one. In fact, the goal of The Great {Education} Debate series I did a couple of years ago was to explore the different educational options that work for different families in different situations.

In that series, I was very open about Why We Chose Public School, and as I recently reread that post, I realized I still stand behind everything I said. It was the right decision for our family at that time. When I wrote it two years ago, homeschooling was the furthest thing from my mind, but God has a funny sense of humor. In fact, I chuckled when I read this quote I wrote back then:

public-school-3

Ironic, that the very principle that confirmed our decision for public school back then is the same principle that led us to homeschooling now: obedience. Crazy how we simply can't put God (or His plans) in a box, huh? (Even crazier how many times I try to do so!)

So, how did we come to the decision to homeschool? Very carefully. 🙂 In fact, it was a multi-step process that all came down to that one, simple, frightening word: obedience.

Here's what that looked like for us:

Desire

Back in January, in an effort to #BeIntentional in every area of my life, I began to pray--really pray--for God's blessing and favor on our family. After battling cancer for more than a year, I wanted desperately to regain the time I'd missed out on with my family. It didn't seem fair that my kids had been without their mom at times, simply because I was fighting for my life. I believe God desires to do more than simply heal. I believe He also wants to restore what the enemy tries to take from us. So I prayed for God to restore the time that cancer stole from my family.

I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. (Isaiah 58:11-12, The Message)

As I prayed, God began to whisper, homeschool. I chuckled to myself and continued to pray. He would whisper again, homeschool. I would laugh a little louder and whisper back, Disney World. Seriously, wouldn't it make more sense for God to bless us with a trip to Disney World than to radically change our lives with something like homeschool?! And yet, God doesn't seem the least bit concerned with what makes sense to me! 😉

I continued to pray (for a free trip to Disney World), and as I did, the idea of homeschooling began to shift from being "great in theory" to becoming something I really wanted to do. I decided to casually mention it to my husband, hoping he would dismiss it and we could move on with life. But he didn't. Instead, his response was, "Maybe we should consider it." (WHAAAAAAAT?!?!?)

Discussion

I am blessed with a fantastic community of like-minded mamas, many of whom homeschool their children. So I asked them questions...A LOT of questions. I went to meetings. I read blogs and articles on homeschooling. I messaged FB friends whom I knew were homeschoolers. I called my sister (who homeschools) and talked her ear off on more than one occasion!

The more I learned about it, the stronger my desire grew. Isn't it funny how God directs your steps by leading with your heart?

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23, NLT)

I took all my information and research back to my husband, and we both agreed: homeschooling seemed like a good fit for our family at this time. There was one problem: We didn't know how to make it work. I was only a few months from my battle with cancer; was it really a good idea to take on a huge life change like homeschooling? Plus, I had just released my book, and the promotion alone would be a full-time job. Then, of course, there was the financial side. Unfortunately, homeschooling is not covered by our taxes like public school, not to mention that huge pit of medical debt we are still climbing out of.

Decision

By this time, we both wanted to make the leap to homeschool, but we just couldn't figure out how. We were at a crossroads. Then I got a phone call from the homeschool community we were interested in. I'd already met with the director, asked questions, and expressed our interest in the community if we chose to leave public school.

She was calling to let me know the community would be growing in the fall, and they would need to open another class for 9-12 year olds (my daughter's age). If we decided to homeschool, would I consider tutoring the class...which is heavy on English grammar and writing. It would pay enough to cover the tuition for both our kids.

If she had asked me to tutor science or geography or Spanish, I would have had to politely decline (and keep from laughing out loud). But English and writing.....um, let me think about...YES! Sign me up!!!

I kept my composure and told her I'd discuss it with my husband. Honestly, there wasn't much discussion, because when I told him, he simply said, "This is obviously God. Tell her 'yes.'"

That's probably more than you ever wanted to know about our decision to transition from public school to homeschool. So, why share all of this? Maybe your feeling a tug toward home education, or Christian education, or private education. Maybe you're considering a huge life change in another area--a move, a job change, or a relationship. Maybe you simply need direction in your everyday life.

Whatever the decision--whether big or small--remember God is working for your good. Your job is simply to seek His wisdom, follow His leading, and trust His plan.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5,6 The Message)

In what ways has God ordered your steps lately?

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.