Spring 2018 / by Davis Carman
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together. Psalm 98:8
What brings you joy or delight? Is it walking on a beach hand in hand with the love of your life against the quiet backdrop of a stunning sunrise? Is it preparing a big holiday meal in the kitchen with beloved family members while mentally making note of your many blessings? Maybe a smile comes to your face, and you experience a deep feeling of satisfaction when listening to the innocent thoughts of your young children during a Deuteronomy 6 moment at bedtime or while running errands together during a normal day.
If you’re like most folks, the moments that bring you the greatest joy in life involve other people. In fact, your highest highs and lowest lows tend to revolve around your key relationships, with the bond between husband and wife and the children that God brings into your family being the highest value.
Then, you make the decision to homeschool.
Now, you’re walking a path that changes everything. Your marriage, your parenting, the education and discipleship of your children. Everything. Homeschooling is often described as a lifestyle, and it most certainly is.
Yes, it is true that homeschooled students score better on standardized tests than their public and private schooled peers. They are also being recruited by colleges in growing numbers because of their social bearing, leadership, and time management skills. Homeschooled students tend to retain the faith of their parents after graduation at a much higher rate than other teens raised in the church. All this is good news, of course, but what about the effect that homeschooling has on the relationships in your family?
Let’s circle back for a moment to my question about what brings you joy in life. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do something everyday that has purpose and mission, requires vision and resolve, and provides you with tremendous joy, primarily because it involves the people most precious to you? That’s homeschooling.
First, homeschooling requires you, as the parent, to make intentional decisions regarding the subjects your children will study, the education philosophies and methodologies you will employ, the unique gifting of each individual child, your daily and weekly routines, the annual calendar, goals for each child, and so much more. Though all this can sound a bit daunting, when you think about it, it’s just an extension of your role as a loving, caring, nurturing parent.
Now, I don’t doubt the love of any parents, whether or not they have chosen to homeschool. Let’s face it, however, homeschooling parents have a lot more skin in the game. Quite frankly, the responsibility (and risk) is greater, but the fruit (and reward) has potential to be so much more.
For example, there’s the effect that homeschooling has on family relationships. Consider that home educating families spend a lot of time together. It’s just part of the deal. Yet contrary to what many might think, the more time you spend together, the more you will learn to enjoy each other! Speaking from personal experience, I find it immensely satisfying to watch my older kids interact with each other as young adults. They love spending time with one another, sharing memories of our homeschooling adventure, and investing themselves in each other’s lives. This is a natural by-product of having shared so much of life, and it is beautiful to witness.
Spending time together as a family is just one of the many benefits of homeschooling, but it shouldn’t end there. If you are going to spend all this time in each other’s company, why not make it meaningful, fun, and enjoyable?
To homeschool is to do life together, and it has the potential to bring tremendous delight and joy to every member of the family. If you aren’t already doing so, start thinking in terms of the joy of homeschooling together. These words really do go well together—in a sentence and in life.
Will you choose to walk by faith and enjoy the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime?
© 2017 Davis Carman