“The days are long, but the years are short.” That was the concluding line from the encouragement in last September’s SHIELD newsletter. All I can say to that is amen, sister. The boxes of books and curriculum started showing up at our house a couple of weeks ago, and my wife has been vigorously writing in her weekly planner, her accountant’s brain whirring to make sure all things are in their proper order. These are the certain harbingers of another homeschool year about to begin. It seems not so long ago that we started with our oldest girl, homeschooling her in kindergarten when the public-school system said that because her birthday was 14 days after the cutoff she wasn’t ready to start. No testing, no interview, no appeals process, so we figured we’d give this weird homeschooling thing we’d vaguely heard about a try and then put her in “real” school the following year. How badly could we mess her up in kindergarten, right?
What we started with so little knowledge and frankly too little faith ... well, God took that little bit and turned it into one of the biggest blessings our family has experienced. When our skeptical extended family and friends would ask “How long are you going to keep up with that homeschooling?” we replied that we’d do it as long as it worked. And has it ever worked, in ways we could never have anticipated at the outset and sometimes missed when we were in the midst of it all. The things that God has shown us as we’ve taught and learned alongside our daughters are beyond price, lessons about trusting in Him, persevering when you want to quit, leaning on other believers when we can’t do things on our own, and in turn being present to help others in their time of need. Getting to know other Christian families who were striving to live out their faith daily as the teachers of their children has been an unexpected blessing and an incredible inspiration to us. We thought we would be educating our daughters, but as it turns out God has used our homeschooling journey to train us all to live into the reality that we are the Body.
So whatever season you find yourself in with the children God has privileged you to raise up, I pray that you will be encouraged in knowing that He is doing mighty work in and through you. If you’re teaching your kid for long enough, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to make some mistakes ... but all will be well. If I had a RateMyTeachers.com page from my kids I imagine it would say: “Educating elementary school children (girls especially) is not the same as training a platoon of infantrymen; learn the differences. Also, when your student doesn’t understand a concept as you’ve explained it, repeating the same information in a louder voice is unlikely to get the light to come on; look for a different approach.” Yet despite my many faults as a teacher, God has proven faithful throughout. Know that even if that lesson doesn’t go right, or that report isn’t great, or that house is a mess, or that kid is making you nuts ... all will be well, for with God all things are possible and His plans for you are good. There is a country song entitled “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” which like all good country songs is both hokey and true at the same time. With our oldest girl now graduated from college, girl #2 starting her junior year at college, and girl #3 starting high school this year, I remember those early homeschool days with all of their frustrations and their joys and wonder at how fast it flew by. May God grant to us all wisdom in holding tight to what matters and letting the rest go.
Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.