Hi! My name is Susan in the Boonies, which is actually, come to think of it, my name AND my location. I’m honored to be the guest blogger here today!
As I was deciding what I wanted to write about, I thought maybe “A Look at Homeschooling From the Rear View Mirror” would be a great title for a post that would be showing up in a community called Hip Homeschool Moms. (After all, how better to see your hips than to get a rear view in the mirror, right?) So, I brought my hips with me, just to prove I have plenty. Clearly, I have every right to be here.
|Am I hip or what?
Do you have any idea how hard it was to get that shot???
That was my attempt to give a humorous reason for my choice of topic, but truthfully, since I’ve been doing this homeschooling thing for a while, I thought I might have a thing or two to share with people who hadn’t traveled quite as far down this homeschooling road as I have. I’ve been homeschooling for 12 years now. My youngest is 13, and my oldest is a rising senior. Not as long as some of you, perhaps, but maybe quite a bit longer than others of you. For what they’re worth, here are a few of my thoughts as I glance in the rear view mirror.
Thought Number One:
A wise woman, who is further down the road than I am, once told me, “Find whatever it is that your kid is passionate about, and learn how to love that thing as well.” Now, this becomes even more important as our kids approach and enter the teen years. I had to learn to like (or at least pleasantly tolerate) some music that I just didn’t care for initially, because my son is passionately in love with it. Not rolling my eyes or belittling his musical taste has paid off. Today, we enjoy the fact that he still comes to us and shares his newest musical loves and interests. His interests have made us richer as a family, as we discuss the pros and cons of the music we each love.
Not every kid will be passionate about music. There are as many possibilities for interests as there are kids out there. But learning to love what our kids love has paid off, for us, on a regular basis. It has deepened and enhanced our relationship with our children, which makes them far more receptive to receiving instruction and correction from me as their teacher.
|They’ll be gone before you know it!|
Thought Number Two:
It’s true that the world is a dangerous place, and the evils thereof can certainly taint our children. But as unsavory to Jesus as some of the more obvious evils of His day, were were the holier-than-thou attitudes demonstrated by the most religious people of His time, the Pharisees. Remember the story of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Bible? “God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get,” prayed the “righteous” Pharisee. If we’re not careful, there is a danger that we, ourselves can begin to feel pretty darn self-righteous about our own good works, in the area of homeschooling.
“Lord, I thank you that I am not like other mothers. I teach my children with the finest curriculum. I dress only in modest attire at all times. I neglect my own personal health and happiness so that I may give my all in all to the needs of my children. I breastfeed 8 times a day. I grind my own flour and bake my own bread that they might get all the nutritional advantages of whole grains. Yea, my crockpot overfloweth with the bounty I prepare. My children read above their grade level and wander museums expounding upon truths unknown even to the docents. Surely I have produced the next generation of godly offspring. Each night I submissively offer up my body to the desires of my husband. He praises me at the watercooler. My children and husband shall rise up and call me blessed.”
(Honestly, when I read blogs where perfection reigns supreme, my Inner Skeptic® warning sensor goes off. A little humanity, a little humility, a little reality, if you please!)
I started out homeschooling thinking I could protect my children from some of the garbage that I saw in the world. That’s not a bad thought, necessarily. In fact, it’s pretty instinctual for parents to protect their young. But Jesus didn’t isolate Himself from the world. He hung out with the holy ones and the riffraff, and loved them both, right where they were. Somewhere, there’s got to be a balance in homeschooling our kids, where holiness does not equal isolationism, or being out of touch with one’s own culture. Holiness means being set apart for God’s purposes, and God’s heart is full of love for the world. He loved it so much He gave the life of His one and only Son to save it. If that was God’s purpose in sending Jesus, then that’s what Christian homeschooling parents ought to be training their children to do, as well, in my opinion. But how can you love the world if you fall into the trap of completely isolating yourself from it? So, look for opportunities for you and your kids to love, serve, and befriend the unchurched, who are your neighbors. Because that’s what Jesus would do.
Thought Number Three:
Homeschooling can, by its very nature, be an isolating experience for Moms, too. I love that the Hip Homeschool Moms have created a venue where Moms like us can come and interact. I have been a participating member on the Sonlight Curriculum Forums for twelve years, and on those forums, by being honest and reaching out in love to others, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, even after homeschooling is over. I can’t encourage you enough to find ways to reach out to other homeschooling Moms: whether at your church, or through a community group, or through social media (the weird way, and the way I did it ;-D ). Share your struggles as well as your triumphs. We need to run our ideas past others who are doing what we’re doing, and share the wealth of ideas that others have passed on to us! We need a place where we can be real: where we can pray for others, and be prayed for ourselves.
So, here’s one more shout out to the Very Hip Homeschool Moms who created this community, and who invited me to guest blog today. Thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity, and for creating such a great place for homeshooling Moms to come, so they won’t be isolated!
Susan in the Boonies is a homeschooling mother of two. She currently blogs on her own blog Wild Life in the Woods, where she tells tales of faith, food and fun. She also is one of the The Fun Girls, a lifestyle blog written by Susan and three of her very best friends.