Dear Parents - Don't Give Up!
By Teresa Nuckols
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7.
Do you ever find yourself wondering what you got yourself into by starting to homeschool? Are you beginning to question if it is it worth it to be putting in all of your energy and sacrificing your time and desires to school your children? Well, let me encourage you, dear parents, at whatever point you are at teaching either younger or older children, please don't give up!
Of all the blessings in my life, I consider that besides my parents leading me to Jesus, the greatest blessing was to be homeschooled from the beginning to the end of my school years.
I graduated from homeschool high school in the summer of 2001. Coming to that milestone in my life caused me to take time to look back on my "schooling experience." I was able to see more clearly the Lord's hand at work in my life. I began to realize even more the blessing of having parents who felt called by the Lord to train up their children at home and who didn't give up homeschooling when things weren't easy, when there was discouragement, or when other people were sending their children back to public school or on to high school.
So it always breaks my heart when I hear a home school parent say, "next year we are sending our son/daughter to public school." I wonder what reasons caused them to give up or give in?
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7.
Be aware that Satan wants to discourage you and make you believe that what you are doing is not important. Don't listen to discouragement, for our God is the God of eternal encouragement!
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
I remember a few times wondering if I was missing out academically by being schooled at home. Now, I have been considering the fact that what I was kept from by being schooled at home far outweighed what I was missing out on. I was protected from being influenced and enticed by so much unmentionable evil! Plus, we found that we did just fine academically when we went on to further education. There really are so many wonderful resources to help homeschoolers through the high school years.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:37 (emphasis added).
Do Christian parents who send their children to the godless public schools realize that they may be causing them to sin? There is such opportunity for evil and sin in an institution that outright refuses any acknowledgment of God, His commands, and even prohibits the very mention of His name!
Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to the person through whom they come. It would be far better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Luke 17:1-2.
I've heard parents say that they believe their children can be missionaries while they attend public school, and I know there are some who have been, but realistically and biblically it just doesn't work! It is like having a child stand on a high table with other children standing all around. Believe me; it is much easier for the other children to pull that child down, than for him to pull them up!
Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. 2 Corinthians 6:17.
I am so thankful for the years that I was set apart from my peers so that I could be free to grow in my relationship with the Lord as my parents discipled and trained me. I was able to seek the Lord's direction for my life and didn't have to worry about going with the flow. I am so glad that I have a mom who is my mentor and a dad who is the keeper of my heart and gives me sound counsel.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
Just as a caterpillar needs to spend time in protected solitude before it can become a butterfly and spread its wings, a child needs the protection of time spent at home before he is ready to go out in the world. This does not mean that we need to be isolationists and hide in the mountains to protect our children from evil influences! We are not to be of the world, but we still are in it! I realize that socialization is always a concern for people who don't know about homeschooling, when in reality those who are in public school socializing with just their age group every day are less apt to know how to relate to people in various age groups.
There are so many opportunities as homeschoolers to socialize with countless classes, and support groups. (Though if you keep running from activity to activity your homeschool may cease to be a homeschool! :-) Some of the best ways to socialize is to practice hospitality in your own home. When we were older, my sister, brother, and I enjoyed inviting groups of young people to our home to play games and have a hymn sing. Our whole family always enjoyed those times, and it was a great way to get together with young people around our ages. I believe that God wants the family unit to be kept intact, with parents training the children, and brothers and sisters learning to be best friends. Being at home together as a family forms a strong family bond that isn't possible otherwise.
As Jesus was training His disciples for their future ministry, He spent every moment, day and night with them, pouring His life into them as He taught them lessons of the Kingdom. He trained them by His words as well as by the life He modeled before them.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. These commands 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. Deuteronomy 6:5-7. (emphasis added).
I realize that there may be different circumstances in which homeschooling isn't possible, and I know the Lord has grace for those in such situations, but how else can parents really follow the above command unless they have their children at home with them? Children easily become like those that they spend time with.
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20.
The tender years of childhood and adolescence are entrusted to parents as arrows in the hand of a warrior. They are not to always stay in the quiver, only until they are ready for battle.
Consider the life of our Savior. After Mary and Joseph found Jesus teaching in the temple at the age of twelve, He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. Luke 2:51. He was being prepared while at home for His life ministry. We do not know much about Jesus' life between the ages of twelve and thirty, but we do know that Jesus grew in wisdom, and stature and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52.
If we want to have any effect on the world around us, we need to be raised and trained apart from it. We cannot make a difference without being different from the world.
There are so many rewards that can be reaped when parents train their own children in obedience to the Lord. Parents themselves can have the opportunity to really get to know their children and understand them. They are able to teach their children practical living skills.
Children also reap many benefits. They are more free to pursue their interests and receive a very individualized schooling.
Yet above and beyond these temporal rewards, there is far more eternal and spiritual value in being schooled at home than can even be perceived now. Sow without sparing in the lives of your children, and even now you will begin to reap abundant blessings.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what He sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7, 9.
To Encourage You
Parents, what you are doing is SO important. With the Lord's commands comes His enabling. He will equip you and make it feasible for you to train your own children. He is more concerned about completing His good work and purpose in the lives of your children than you could ever be. For, "He who began a good work in you [and in your children] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6.
Even if your child doesn't like to be homeschooled at the moment, or if all their friends are in public school, you as a parent have the responsibility before God to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6.
The Lord isn't going to measure the success of your schooling by test scores but by your faithfulness to His calling! My mom has often said that during the times when we weren't able to do a lot of school work due to various interruptions (moving, a new baby, etc.) she always discovered that we children continued to learn from the different life experiences. Homeschooling is really a lifestyle of learning, so it is hard to separate "school" from life.
It is in the little things that God wants us to be faithful in. The little choices, the little steps will all come together to compose a life of faithful obedience that brings glory to the Lord. Take it one day at a time to persevere even through the hard times of homeschooling, in such a way that when you have come to the end, Jesus can say, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." Matthew 25:23.
The Lord promises that His yoke is easy and His burden light. Just remember, when your schooling schedule is not going as you planned, or you begin to feel discouraged, you have a great High Priest who identifies with your weaknesses. Let Him teach your children.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13. ESV
Who better can teach your children than He who is perfect in all knowledge? Jesus will help and guide you each day if you cry out to Him.
How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:19b-21.
So, take it from one who has been homeschooled all the way through. It is worth it parents, so please don't give up!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. II Timothy 4:7-8.
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