It seems to be the time of year when I reconsider my homeschool plan. The kiddos are getting spring fever, everyone is ready for the year to end, and we are nowhere near being finished. The questions abound:
Are they learning enough? Do we have to finish the entire book? Did they read the right books? Are they where they should be academically? What will someone say if my child hasn’t reached the same academic milestones as other children his age? Will I be able to get them ready for college? Should I just put them back in school?
Homeschooling isn’t for the weak. It is hard. Some days are really great when everyone wants to sit and listen to a history lesson while building a diorama. Other days I’m chasing my daughter out of the glue slime and off of the trampoline, my middle only wants to play music on his guitar all day, and my eldest is planning his next baseball game.
For those of you with younger children, the feeling of inadequacy never goes away. My eldest is a Junior this year. He is receiving college recruitment letters and emails almost daily. Is he truly prepared? What have I missed? Does he know how to live alone on a campus away from home? Will he be ok in a giant class at a secular school? For my middle schooler, who will be in 9th grade this fall, it’s “the critical time”. If he wants to go to high school, now is the time. Is he on track in math (his least favorite subject)? Will he still want to be home once his older brother is gone off to college?
The questions and self-doubts never end. However, God always gives me a clear answer to my ultimate question: Are they better off at home with me and learning from a Christian world-view, or would they be better off in a “real school” setting?
My answer came to me last week at our weekly Wednesday night church youth group. I’m very involved with the local students in our “very good” public school system. These high schoolers, who have been raised in the church, are all so very confused. The culture in which we live tells them so many different things about sexuality, relationships, and purpose. When I speak to the youth, they have so many questions that my children wouldn’t even ask, because they have been taught from a Christian perspective their entire lives. My children understand the purpose on this earth is “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
My children have learned rather than ask, “Is it wrong?” that the better question is, “Is is right?” They have an amazing self-confidence and ability to find out anything they would like to know. They have time to music, time to play, and time to just sit and think.
If there is one scripture passage that I cling to it’s this from Luke Chapter 2:
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Christ was “ready” to leave home and teach as a 12-year-old boy. The wise thing, however, was for him to stay home and be obedient to his parents until he was much older.
Verse 52: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
He was still young, and the best thing was to remain home until he was ready for the great mission that lay ahead of him. For while he was God, he was also man, subject to the temptations of the day. He actually didn’t begin his ministry until much later.
“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” Luke 3:23
So when we all question whether or not we are doing the right thing, remember that Mary herself was in the same situation. She knew Jesus could go out and preach at a young age, but she also knew that the best place for him to grow was at home. I think it best to follow in her footsteps…