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A Look At Homeschooling From The Rear View Mirror

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.

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  1. Thanks for the great post! I am a first year homeschooler and can always use some insight. Your thought number three really struck home because I only know one other person locally who homeschools. I am really looking forward to connecting with other homeschool moms online! 🙂

  2. Susan, again, you have hit the nail on the head. I appreciate your wisdom. Liking what my kids are passionate about… I need to be deliberate about this.

    1. When my mentor/friend said that to me, it hit me up the side of the head. It was so obvious, but so true. They hold their loves out to us for us to share their wonder, the same way they used to show us the frogs they’d captured in the creek. We need to stop and carefully examine what they love, because it affirms them that we think their opinions are worthy of examination.

  3. Thanks for this! We just have our first eval done and are on to our second year in Sept. Loved this post.

  4. This was a refreshing post. In my experience, Thoughts number two and three when combined can make for some lonely homeschool moms. It’s hard to find homeschool groups to be a part of when most/all of them are very secluded and you must sign a statement of faith you may or may not agree with to join. I’m glad I followed this link. I’ve never heard of Hip Homeschool Moms! Now I will subscribe. Thanks, Susan!

  5. Great post! I love what you’ve shared about finding other homeschooling moms to share the journey with – even finding them online. I’m on the tail end of my homeschooling journey – excited and sad about that! – and I’ve loved being able to come here and share things that I’ve learned along the way. Not to say that I’ve got it all figured out by any means, but after eleven years of homeschooling and having graduated one, I love being able to help new moms get started. Seeing the excitement in a new homeschooling mom and knowing what an awesome experience is before them is just a wonderful thing to me! This has been a great site to be able to do that!

  6. Susan, once again you hit the nail on the head — well, actually, you hit the nail on the head three times. Thanks for the gentle reminders. Love you! Scoot

  7. Fun post and so true – too many people think they have to be perfect. it is much better to be real, love your children, their interests and seek out friends to help you do this… than to isolate yourself in fear. Thanks Susan 🙂

  8. I don’t know much about homeschooling but I can vouch for Susan in the Boonies as a blog, it’s funny and honest and well worth your time if you haven’t visited it yet. Perhaps an entire homeschooling course could be built around it (and I’m only half-kidding!) Great job Susan!

  9. Wonderful post! It took me a few years to convince my husband that homeschooling would be good for our family. I think it was your reason number 2 that gave him pause. This will be our first year diving into teaching at home and reading your post was so helpful. It’s such a help to us newcomers to hear from those who have walked the path before us. Thanks!

  10. What a great post, Sooze! I appreciate the reminder to find what our kids are passionate about, and that “socialization” is just as important for the homeschool parent as it is for the kids!

  11. “Holiness means being set apart for God’s purposes, and God’s heart is full of love for the world. ”

  12. I L-O-V-E-D this post! These are great reminders of integral things that propel us towards success. So nicely written with realism. Thank you! ;0)

  13. I am beginning my first year homeschooling my daughter, and as a home school graduate myself, I appreciate your words.They are refreshing and encouraging. Thank you!

    1. I think anyone who was homeschooled, Rebecca, who decides she wants to give that experience to her own daughter, must have had a pretty great teacher. Kudos to your mama, and blessings on you and your daughter, as you learn together!

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