Now that the decision to homeschool had been made, I was ready to fully embrace this new adventure. I decided I would attend the state homeschool conference. This was definitely new territory for me. My teen daughter and I went and knew absolutely nobody. I felt many new things, but as a former educator, lack of confidence was not one of them, nor was loneliness, boredom or lack of fun. I enjoyed all of it!
One huge negative weighed heavy on my mind, though, and took me by surprise—guilt, not just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill guilt—it was mom-guilt, the worst kind! I had tremendous guilt and regret for not making the decision to homeschool earlier. I wondered if anybody else felt like this. Certainly, I couldn’t be the only one.
I was feeling down until I heard one particular speaker at the conference, and my thoughts turned to faith and family as he explained the basic values of most homeschool families. It was then that some of the guilt started to fade. I thought about the morning devotions that we did as a family before the kids rushed out the door to the neighborhood public school. I thought about those day trips we took as a family all around Arizona when our kids were studying their state. I recalled the times my husband taught our children many facts that he’d learned about WWII from all of his reading about it as a young man. Memories came to my mind of the numerous Bible stories we read to our children and about the times we discussed what they’d been learning at church. Then I remembered all the Bible verses our kids memorized. I also remembered the numerous times we told our children about all our traveling in Europe when we both lived there because our fathers were in the military. We taught our children patriotism. We taught our children to respect their elders. We taught our children manners. We taught our children many things! We taught these things to our children at home. Could it be that we really weren’t that different from homeschool families? We knew that even though our children were attending public school, we were their biggest influence. God reminded me, perhaps in a whisper, that although I chose a different path for educating our children, it was okay because I was still their first teacher. We were always involved in our children’s education, we’d just partnered with the public school system. My husband and I had not failed them; we had not let them down.
So here we are now, finally homeschooling. Instead of using that word finally though, I’ve decided to just simply say, we are homeschooling. We will move forward in a new direction, a different path, but not with regret for the past. I will let go of those guilt feelings. There was more homeschooling going on than I actually realized. God leads us to different things at different times in our lives for different reasons. I am thankful that we are able to homeschool right now, and I look forward to this new adventure. And to any other homeschool parent that might be feeling guilt, I encourage you to let God show you how you’ve already been teaching your children—you might be surprised at just how much homeschooling you’ve already done!