Archives for August 28, 2011

Fear Not Homeschooling

“Fear not,” Pastor Joby said over and over again during this morning’s message. What are my fears? I asked myself. As a homeschool mom, doubts do creep into my heart. I wrestle with questions like, Will my children turn out okay? Will they really excel academically? Will they reach their full potentials or be limited by their homeschool experience? Will I be able to teach them through the years even if I’m not an educator? Will they know how to relate to others without being perceived as “weirdos”? Will they become the people God wants them to be and achieve life success?

He wasn’t speaking this message for homeschooling families, but I was encouraged by what he shared about fear. His title was No God, know fear. Know God, no fear.

Knowing God conquers fear. He is the antidote and answer to every fear we have. This is why he calls himself, “I AM.” He is the “I am” for whatever we need, whenever we need him. For a homeschool mom, this translates to him saying…

I am your patience.

I am your joy.

I am your intelligence.

I am your creativity.

I am your sustainer.

I am your confidence.

I am your partner.

I am your provider.

I am your courage.

I am your hope.

I am your peace.

I am the one who called you and Edric to do this and I am going to make sure you succeed.

I am going to help you be the parents you need to be to effectively raise your children.

As I took in the message and personalized it, I was reminded of this – homeschooling is a life of faith. I have to fortify my mind with this reality. Otherwise, it is easy to get “tornadoed’ by the varying opinions and perceptions of onlookers. Some may call what we are doing radical and counter-culture. Some may think it novel and progressive. Some may think it risky and crazy. Others may think, “Wow, that’s cool but it sounds impossible for our family.”

Whatever statements may be made about homeschooling, it needs to come down to a faith-decision. What does God say about teaching our children? It is our responsibility (Deuteronomy 6:5). So yes, it may be radical, counter-culture, novel (at least in Asia), progressive, risky, crazy, and seemingly impossible.  But we are accountable to God for how we will respond to his word. If we live by faith, the impossible becomes possible. 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

Once parents say, “Okay, Lord, we will homeschool in obedience to you and we will do it in faith,” God performs mini-miracles and even big ones in the family.  I’ve seen families who supposedly “needed” a second income, give up the second income so that the mom could homeschool the kids, and they have done just fine financially. I’ve talked to parents who never thought they could teach their children and decided to homeschool because God confirmed they should. And they tell me things like, “Joy, it’s really amazing that my child is doing so well and I’m really enjoying homeschooling.”

Sure, there are stories of those who struggle through it and even wonder if they will homeschool the next year. But, over and over again, these same people who struggle with doubt, keep at it in faith. God doesn’t promise that teaching our children is going to be an easy decision to make or something easy to keep doing. What he does promise is to equip and empower us when we obey him.

Pastor Joby said today, “God’s commandments are always his enablement.”  This is absolutely true. He does this for every single family that homeschools in faith.

A couple months ago, I wrote an entry entitled “Homeschooling is Not One of the 10 Commandments.” In this post, I talked about a mom-friend who had decided to send her daughter back to the conventional school. Well, I’m very happy to say that she called me a month or two after we had our conversation and said, “Joy, we’ve decided to homeschool again this year.” She talked about how God had spoken to her and confirmed that she should continue homeschooling.  When I ran into her recently, her face was glowing. From someone who, just six months ago, was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged about homeschooling, she is pressing on with renewed energy and determination.

What’s my point? The fears parents have about homeschooling are natural and founded. We go through our moments of doubt, especially self-doubt. But if we are willing to listen to God’s call and respond in faith no matter what our fears may be, we will experience how amazing it is to be upheld by our great, “I AM.” Homeschooling is a life of faith and that’s the best kind of life to live!

 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13