It has been said that there are only two reasons anyone would make a major change in his or her life: fear of loss or hope of gain. Otherwise, it is easiest to do what has always been done. When I look back at the reasons we decided to homeschool, this is certainly true.
Twenty-four years ago (has it been that long?) we had no children. I was taking courses toward a master’s degree, and one of my study partners homeschooled her young son. I had never heard of such a thing. The family was not Christian; they homeschooled for academic reasons. Though I found her son’s unrestrained behavior hard to handle, I was impressed with his eagerness and range of knowledge. I remembered having that same delight in learning when I entered school myself, but by about third grade it had nearly been driven out of me by the restraints of the system. Whether one struggled or was bored to tears, the system ground on at the same lock-step pace. Hmmm … could home schooling preserve a delight in academic excellence?
When our children arrived, I was like someone planning a garden. I must tell you that I have never had any interest in raising children. By that I mean that it was my goal to raise adults; children were the raw material with which God gave me to work! Whenever I saw “fruit” I admired—teens who were bright, polite, and spiritually exemplary—I paid attention to the “seed” that had been planted. Time and again I learned that these were Christian home schoolers, and I wanted a harvest like that.
Academic and moral excellence were the things I hoped to gain by home schooling. What loss did I fear? I hoped to avoid the heartbreak of watching my children succumb to the snares of this world—drugs, alcoholism, promiscuity, rebellion, and godlessness.
I did not realize it at the time, but one of the secrets of setting and achieving high goals is to “begin with the end in mind” and to hold on to that vision when the going gets tough. I believe one of the best things young parents can do is to pray earnestly about the priorities God has laid on their hearts. Write those down! It will serve you well on discouraging days to remember the things that are worth diligently pursuing.
This is the first of three articles. The second article, Tend Your Garden, appeared in the February 2010 issue of the THSC REVIEW. The third article, One More Lesson from the Garden, appeared in the August 2010 issue.