If you have been called home to educate your own children, WELCOME to this wild and crazy adventure we call HOMESCHOOLING! If you have been traveling this road less traveled for a few years now and God has called you to continue homeschooling, WELCOME BACK!
Like with most family trips, those traveling probably have different feelings about the trip. You might be kicking and screaming as you begin your new homeschooling journey, you might be excited about the new possibilities that educating your own at home brings, or you might already be tired just thinking about what you need to “pack” as you prepare for another year of homeschooling. In the past few years, there has been a mass exodus out of the traditional school system as many moms have felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit to come home and homeschool their own. Many of us, who are already homeschooling, continue to hear the calling to stay home and to continue home educating our own. No matter where you are on this homeschooling journey, have no doubt!
You were called home for a reason! That reason may be abundantly clear to you, or you may still be struggling to figure out God’s master plan for your “call to come home.” Where ever you find yourself today, rest in the assurance that God has called you home, and He has called you to HOMEschool. As you embark on another (or your first) homeschooling adventure, take some time this summer to reflect on four key points about being “called home.”
First, what does homeschooling look like to you and your family? It seems in the past few years the term “homeschooling” has been hijacked. Today’s homeschooling doesn’t look much like the “vintage homeschooling” of yesteryears. In the age of the internet, homeschool conventions, and abundant homeschool curriculum and class choices, it is tempting and super easy to do more of your homeschooling outside of the home. Don’t get me wrong! We are blessed with much freedom and flexibility in today’s homeschool culture. However, we may find the freedom of homeschooling a paradox. With so much freedom and flexibility, we can quickly and easily become slaves to it.
What do I mean? Well, with so many wonderful curricula, classes, and co-ops to choose from, you may find yourself doing them all! Is that a bad thing? No, not really. But can it steal your time, your freedom, your flexibility, your joy, and your pocketbook? Most definitely, yes! We might find ourselves so busy participating in all of the awesome educational opportunities available to us, that we are never really home to actually homeschool together- as a family.
“Vintage” homeschooling (Charlotte Mason verbiage) or “OG” homeschooling (igeneration terminology) looked very different to what homeschooling is morphing into today. It is quite ironic that opponents of homeschooling criticize homeschoolers for not being out in the real world, for not learning how to “socialize,” and for not learning alongside their peers when in actuality today’s homeschooler is hardly ever home! My neighbor used to joke with me every time the kids and I packed ourselves and our stuff into the car. “Where are you off to today? Are you sure you homeschool because you guys are never home!” How true this is for many homeschoolers today. And yes, because of this phenomenon, carschooling has become a thing!
My prayer for you this year is that you will be intentional about putting the home back into your HOMEschool. You don’t need all of the bells and whistles. You don’t need all of the charter funds and all the fancy classes. You don’t need all of the A-G and AP accredited classes. It is absolutely ok to learn science and/or history together as a family. It worked for Laura Ingalls Wilder and the pioneers of California homeschooling; it will work for your family too! Don’t feel guilty that you are reading your way through history or that your older daughter is doing the same physical science experiment (or exploding mess) as her younger siblings, or that your morning hike was also your science lesson for the day. You have permission to stay home as often as you want in order to learn together at home and as a family, and you have permission to take advantage of as many field trips as your heart desires (and pocketbook will allow). It is perfectly fine to take a break one day (or even a whole week) from endless math workbook pages to spend the day playing number and strategy games instead. Sometimes the brain just needs a little break to chew on and marinate in new concepts in order to understand and apply them. It’s not only permissible but highly recommended and much needed that you follow God’s plans (not yours) for your day and for your teaching. He called you home for a reason, so He will provide the wisdom, strength, and perseverance to get you through it. And don’t forget to have some fun together and to get a little silly!
My challenge to you this school year is to reflect on how you can put the HOME back into your homeschool. If you are new to homeschooling, my challenge to you is to not pack your days with so many activities and outside classes, that you never have time to enjoy the freedom of being HOME with your kids.
Second, what is the main reason you decided to homeschool? I suspect it was a myriad of academic, social, and scheduling reasons: too much homework, sleep deprivation, wasted time, schoolwork not challenging enough, invasive secular worldview agendas, teaching to arbitrary standards, a wasteland of busy work, school safety (or lack thereof), mindless testing practices, inappropriate lectures, and /or array of mind-numbing books and textbooks. However, I know the main reason the majority of us accept the call to homeschool is because we feel God is calling us to it. We long to make God’s Word the focal point of our lessons, to use curriculum with a biblical worldview, and to teach values that are in line with our Christian beliefs. In essence, we want to teach and live out Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
“Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
As your schedules begin to fill up, curriculum begins to arrive, and autopilot begins to take over your car, take a moment to remember your calling and why you came home in the first place! God first, then everything else. Family first, then everything else. Home first, then everything else. Pray about ways you can keep God and His Word as the focal point this coming school year. Spend time in God’s Word and on your knees asking God what that might look like for you and your family this coming year. I promise you won’t regret (and your children won’t mind) that you chose to not only learn together, play together, eat together, but to pray together, study God’s Word together and grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ together.
Thirdly, find a support group you can call your “home away from home”! Is it possible to take this homeschool journey alone? Sure, but it is easier and more fun with others! “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT). Find like-minded moms who are on this homeschooling adventure to support you, pray for you, and even learn with you. Finding a community is just as important for your kids as it is for you. Sometimes it can feel like it is us against the world. God calls us to fellowship and to do life in a community. This year, make sure you find the time and make community a priority.
Finally, why has God called you home to homeschool? Is it to mend a broken relationship? Is it to work on character and heart issues? Is it build family bonds? Is it to keep God and His word a priority (or to make it a priority)? Is it to pour into that strong-willed child? Chances are the main reason you were called home to homeschool has very little to do with academics and everything to do with God. Sometimes we don’t really fully understand God’s call home until much later in the journey.
This year’s theme for our special weekend for homeschooling moms is Homeschooling Adventures: A Weekend to Rest, Refresh and Rejuvenate. “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths” (Ps 25:4). We will explore how to follow God’s path for educating our own at home and how to turn our homeschool calling into an adventure! In keeping with our travel theme this year and the topic of this post, “Called Home,” I wanted to end with an important reminder about our walk with the Lord, our ministry of motherhood, and our homeschooling journey.
We are only sojourners here. Our home and citizenship are in heaven. (Phillippians 3:20). If you stand out like a sore thumb doing what you are called to do or if you feel like you just don’t fit in because you are following God’s path for your family, that is a good thing! So don’t set your mind on earthly things. College acceptances, scholarships, academic accolades, musical and/or artistic excellence- they are definitely well-earned and well-deserved fruits of your mothering and homeschooling labor, but they are not the reason for your calling. You are set apart, you are chosen, you a royal priesthood and a holy nation. (1 Peter 2: 9-12). Walk in the confidence that God’s plan for you and your family is exactly what your family needs in this season and step out in faith that home (with your kids) is exactly where you are supposed to be this year. WELCOME HOME!
May God richly bless your homeschooling adventures this year for His glory,
Carrie De Francisco
For more information on our special weekend for homeschooling moms in March 2020, click on our “Upcoming Events” tab. We hope you can join us!