By Paul and Susan Mills
Looking back on our eight years of home schooling, I am reminded of the process the Lord took us through before we ever started teaching our oldest son the subjects known as kindergarten. We were living in Beaumont, Texas, where our first three children were born—Paul, Joshua, and Ashley. Some of my friends had begun to homeschool, and I thought that the Lord might want us to try this as well. At the time our son Paul, Jr. was several years away from school age, but I was looking ahead.
When I first mentioned it to Paul he was less than enthusiastic. Being a conservative person by nature he was not interested in following some “trendy” concept in education, especially one that seemed to be Susan keeping up with her friends. About this time Paul’s job transferred us to Detroit, Michigan. Unbeknownst to me just prior to our move Paul had prayed that if I still felt led to homeschool in Michigan, away from the influence of my friends, that he would take that as a sign that it was from the Lord.
When we got to Michigan we found a small local church, and you can probably guess the rest. We made friends with several home schooling families, one of which the Lord used greatly to influence Paul on the role of fathers in home education. This family had twelve children and the father worked nights at an auto factory so he was free during the day to help teach his children. To this day, we still refer to this family as our greatest influence in our decision to homeschool. Another positive influence was the support group I joined, four moms sitting around the kitchen table. It may have been small, but it introduced me to the importance of support groups, especially for new home schoolers.
Before we left Michigan to move back to Texas, our youngest son, Zachary, was born. By the time we moved to Richardson I had a first grader, a kindergartner, a potty trainer, and one in diapers. Needless to say, I was busy—but committed to teaching my children.
While we were in Richardson we met the president of the Richardson Home School Association, whom the Lord would later use to influence our lives. Paul was moved by the fact that a man cared enough about home education to lead a support group.
As our children all reached school age and I was teaching four different grades, I found myself in need of encouragement at times. Some days Paul would come home to his wife in tears and ready to give it all up (surely I am not the only one that has felt like that?) I remember one day in particular when I was questioning it all and bemoaning the fact that I did not get to just drop the kids off and go home and clean my house leisurely like other moms seemed to. I was pressing Paul to come up with some very good reasons why we should continue homeschooling. As the Lord so often has done, he used Paul to remind me how we have been given these children as a gift from God and that it is our responsibility to bring them up in the fear of the Lord and to protect them from the evils of the world while they are young. What better way to accomplish this task than by having them educated at home and being able to fill their little hearts and minds with as much godly character and training as we can in the short time we have them?
Since that time the Lord has given me a renewed commitment to teaching my children at home. While some days can try my patience to the limits, I rest in the knowledge that the Lord has called me to this job and He will provide the strength when I need it. A verse that has meant a lot to me is Romans 16:19 – “For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.”
After moving to the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio five years ago, we found we were living in a rapidly growing area without a local support group. Remembering how he felt knowing a man was president of RHSA, Paul approached me about the two of us starting a support group. From that first conversation our vision was to get home schooling dads involved in the process. The Lord brought some wonderful families to our area around this same time, and what is now known as Hill Country Christian Homeschoolers was born. From the beginning, we have always stressed that we are a family support group, not a moms’ only group. We include dads in as many activities as possible, knowing that the more the dads stay involved in home education the better it is for everyone.
I am very blessed with a husband who provides me with encouragement and prayer support daily. I am also blessed to have supportive parents and siblings (none of whom themselves homeschool but nonetheless support our decision). As a family, we enjoy evening walks and talks together, family camping, as well as historical sightseeing.
Paul and Susan Mills were selected as THSC ‘s 2004 Leader(s) of the Year due to the nominations and glowing recommendations of their support group members. They live in Spring Branch where they homeschool their four children and actively serve the Hill Country Christian Homeschoolers.