Yesterday I enjoyed being a webinar guest on a website that helps homeschooling moms of teens. My topic was Homeschooling Your Teens: A Priceless, Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity. Ray and I sat in our library before the program, enjoying the delicious shepherd’s pie that our friends John and Linda left with us after bringing us lunch and enjoying it with us last weekend (it’s been in the freezer in between) and watching a 1960s episode of To Tell the Truth. Ray and I agreed that those brief moments on the couch and all the moments of our lives are priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Clock in the Supreme Court Chamber
of the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson
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One encouragement I shared with her guests was this:
Many homeschooling parents are tempted to send their children to public school for the first time or back to public school when they get to junior high and high school. I always feel sad when I talk to a mama who has homeschooled her child since kindergarten but is about to send him or her to public school for high school. Parents make this decision for many reasons. Here are a few:
- Genuine concern about whether they can actually do the job they need to do.
- Pleading from a child who wants to fit in with their friends, including other kids from church.
- A child’s desire to participate in an extra-curricular activity such as sports or band that parents don’t know how to provide at home.
I understand all those reasons and I have sympathy for parents who are facing that tough decision. It does need to be weighed prayerfully and carefully, while keeping in mind that every time we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else.
For example, when we say yes to public school band or volleyball, we are saying no to having as much time together as a family. I am not condemning anyone for saying yes to something like band or volleyball, but I encourage you to consider prayerfully what you will be saying no to when you say yes to public school.
A homeschooling mother once talked to me about her decision to send her son to a high school the next year because his close friend would be going, too. The parents of the friend had once homeschooled but they were getting a divorce. As a consequence, they were sending their child to public school. I encouraged the mother talking to me to think very carefully and not to let her son be an additional casualty of that divorce.
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I also shared this:
Parents make the decision to homeschool for a variety of reasons, but a common one is the desire to protect their children’s hearts, souls, and minds and to mold those hearts, souls, and minds in the ways of God. It’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when children get close to high school. It’s easy to be more concerned about high school requirements and college applications and less concerned about reaching those hearts, souls, and minds we started out to protect and mold.
Don’t let fear sabotage you. Don’t let it get you off track. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your original purpose. Make sure that you finish homeschooling with the same goals with which you started. God is with you in this. You are just a helper, a faithful helper who keeps sticking with it moment by moment, day by day.
Don’t be afraid. God blesses those who are doing what is near to His heart and that is what you are doing–devoting yourselves to your children.
You are living in a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Cherish every moment.
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Ray and I look back on our own homeschooling experience with great joy. If God gave us the opportunity to go back in time, we would joyfully homeschool again. I cherish our homeschooling memories. Ray cherishes them, too, and so do our children. I am deeply grateful to God for those years, especially their teen years.
Our experience was the opposite of what many families experience. It was in their teen years that I learned to relax and make homeschooling who we were instead of a burden to bear. That made a tremendous difference. I will always cherish my children’s teen years. They were a blast.
Therefore be careful how you walk,
not as unwise men but as wise,
making the most of your time,
because the days are evil.