In this post, I want to examine the first of two things I think you need to equip yourself with before beginning this journey. If you buy into these now and invest deeply in them at the outset, you will lay the groundwork for longevity and success. There is nothing to purchase, so get your head out of the curriculum catalog and the school supplies. Instead, open the Word and get in there, and we'll talk. Two things--have you guessed them yet?
In my homeschooling journey, the thing that has supported me the most is the absolute certainty that I was doing the right thing, the best thing, and often the hardest thing in order to educate my children. Above all, you must know your reason for doing this. Is God calling you to do this? Are you leaving a public school system because you think you can provide a better education? Are you taking on the education of a special needs child who has been sidelined by the system? Are you a free-wheeling libertarian-type who thinks that children need to be unhindered by walls and textbooks? Is it some combination of all of this? I cannot stress this enough--Know. your. reason. Write it down, talk it over with your spouse, your best friend, your children (who, frankly may not share your conviction at first). Write a mission statement, cast a vision.
Every summer I spend time reviewing my reasons. I have a mission statement that my husband and I wrote together, as well as several verses that encourage me as I go. The first is a pretty common one, and one that many Christian homeschool families have identified deeply with, but it embodies in very clear verbiage the depth and gravity of the call that God has placed on us to raise and educate our children.
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 upon 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 door frames of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)The second verse is a prayer that I pray every time I look at it hanging over my desk or stuck on my refrigerator, and I spend a lot of time in both places.
Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. (Psalm 144:11-12)Finally the third verse is a praise--a joyful refrain that I believe God has placed before me to remind me that in time our efforts will bear fruit.
One generation will commend your works to another; they will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. (Psalm 145:4-7)But these are my verses...Yours will most likely be different. Ask the Lord to clarify for you the vision he wants you to cast for your household, for each of your children, for future generations. When you have done this you have taken the first and most important step in this journey.
In Part 3 I will examine the second thing that I believe you must possess in order to homeschool well, and it is possibly the hardest thing to acquire and manage...but you must. Ready? You may not like me as well once you read that post...Click here to satisfy your curiosity. (Part 3)