I remember playing the game, “Never have I ever…” back in high school and college. “Never have I ever been to Australia, run a full marathon, eaten…” You fill in the blank.
In my adult life, I’ve often said, “Never would I ever homeschool.” And here I am, into my second year of homeschooling my kiddos. 😉
A little background information on me: my degree is in Elementary Education and I taught at two different Title I public schools for a cumulative of 5 years after graduating college. When I had my first child, we as a family decided I would stay home instead of trading my paycheck in for daycare and doctors visits. I have been teaching for VIPKID for the past 4.5 years since being home.
My son was enrolled in kindergarten at a private school for the 2019-2020 school year. He had a scholarship called Step-Up which covered about 70% of his tuition. My plan was when my youngest, Lillian turned four, I would get a job at a local private school to cover the cost of tuition for both my children.
When the pandemic hit, life changed dramatically for us all.
My son’s school year ended online, and public and private schools were scrambling with how to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Virtual? Mask mandates? Social distancing at lunchtime and recess? Honestly, I was sending my son to school mostly for social purposes. Now that those were being taken away, and that the cost of tuition would still remain the same, we had to reevaluate. (Even 30% was a big committment for us.) We began to make a long list of pros and cons and to pray. Lots and lots of prayers.
Continue with private education or pursue the land of “Never Will I Ever?”
I had this plan that I had been holding tightly to for a long time now. I told this plan to many people over the years. I kept my teacher certificate renewed with the possibility of going back into the classroom one day. The plan as I mentioned earlier was to get a job at a local private school and my kids would attend where I taught.
Here’s the thing with my plans. I like planning. I like filling my family’s social calendar with events. I like setting goals for myself. And there’s nothing wrong with those things.
But, God’s Word says, “The mind of a person plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
I began to have conversations with other local Mamas that homeschooled, I met with them and picked their brains. I am so thankful for these conversations and the time they took to share their wisdom with me.
One Mama encouraged me to I ask myself “Why am I doing this? What is my purpose in homeschooling?” She also said, “As you are doing your research I would encourage you to pray about what the Lord would have you do. At least that’s what I’ve done and it’s never steered me wrong.”
Another Mama shared that she asks the Lord for a theme or verse to be her family’s focus for the year. An area that the Lord wants to grow them in as a family.
In the midst of all of this, I as an educator kept seeking all kinds of curriculum, homeschool groups, etc. But most of all I desired clarity.
Is this what the Lord had next for our family? Was I willing to step out in to faith and obedience?
As I prayed, I confessed to the Lord that I didn’t want to be a homeschool martyr mom. I didn’t want to talk about homeschooling as a burden, or something the Lord made me do and choose a bad attitude. If the Lord was calling our family to this, I desired to do it joyfully and for it to be a blessing to our family.
I struggled. I wrestled. I prayed. I surrendered. And boy did I cry. Lots of tears.
I asked the Lord for a sign, for confirmation in His Word. In many different seasons of my life the Lord has always been faithful to speak to me through the Scriptures. I wanted something to look back on and cling tightly to, a landmark of sorts at the beginning of this journey.
I woke up on June 17, 2020 to do my quiet time. (I only know this date because I journaled it!) I asked the Lord to speak to me through His Word. A lot of times I do this, but then I rush forward to reading my Bible and don’t take time to pause and listen. This particular morning, I felt strongly to pause. So I did.
When I closed my eyes, I saw a picture of two oxen and a yoke. I heard the Lord say, “My burden is easy and my yoke is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I needed to be reminded that homeschooling was not something I would do on my own strength, but in His strength!
When I opened my Bible study, the scripture was Proverbs 14:4, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but increase comes by the strength of an ox.” You can get more insight on this scripture here.
I was stunned, shocked really when I saw that scripture with oxen after I just was told about oxen. Then as I continued on with my study (which I was about 2/3 of the way through) for the day, the woman who wrote the Bible study mentioned for the first time that she homeschooled.
I had the clarity I’d been seeking.
Now, the point of this story isn’t to say that homeschooling has been all rainbows and unicorns (although Lillian does enjoy both of these). We have had some very hard, intense moments, and even days. We’ve also had dance parties in tutus and knight outfits, and lots of intentional time together as a family.
The purpose is not also to say that I think everyone should homeschool, or that this is what we will do forever and ever. We desire to continue to seek the Lord and ask Him for guidance as we enter each school year, saying “What next?”
The purpose of me sharing the beginning of this journey with you is to ask you, “What do you sense the Lord is calling you to do next? Have you asked Him for confirmation and clarity?”
Mama, The Creator of the Universe desires to speak to you and your heart. He has good plans for you and your family, way better than anything you can plan yourself.
Seek Him, get into His Word, and He will lead and guide your steps.
What about you, Mama? What are you doing now, that you once said, ”Never will I ever…?”