M and Poohby Karen D. Koch

(I wrote this article nearly five years ago, and amazingly, am now on the cusp of graduating my second child from homeschool/high school and my oldest from college at age 19. It’s been  a crazy journey, but I’m sending courage to those of you who don’t know if you’ll make it. Don’t give up. God will guide you.)

Homeschooling through high school is looming large before me. How did it get here so fast? Just the other day Mitchell was wearing diapers, drawing rockets with crayons, and sleeping with a stuffed Winnie the Pooh. Today he is taller than me, a capable 14-year-old and heading into his freshman year of high school.

So much to think about. A few months ago, I feverishly started making plans, lists and flow-charts of all that we “need” to do to pass through this next life challenge: driver’s education, community college credit, PSAT, AP tests, credits, lab science, foreign language, work permits, scholarships, etc.

About halfway through this process it suddenly occurred to me that I’m approaching this far too much like I pursued my own high school years.

Flash Back to 1981, or so
I was what most people would call an “over-achiever.” While hearing the high school valedictorian speak at a junior high banquet, I decided that I would be in her place in four years. My over-arching goal throughout those high school years was to get all A’s, be valedictorian, be and do everything I thought counted as “important.”

I was a Christian at the time, but now I see how horribly skewed my perspective was. Seeking “worldly fame,” was my goal, not seeking God’s best or even His plan for me. I don’t actually recall ever seriously asking God what He wanted me to do. My family and faith were low priorities as I over-committed to clubs, school, volunteer work, the high school newspaper and the all-powerful grades. Note that I said “grades,” not necessarily “learning.”

I got my wish, or so I thought. I was co-valedictorian, Girl of the Year, outstanding this-and-that, scholarship recipient, blah, blah, blah. My classmates even voted me “Most Likely to Make a Million.”

But Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (NIV).” God changed me pretty radically in college and after, and gradually led me to where I am now. It’s a better place than where I used to be.

Flash Forward to 2010
I have been married for 17 years, have four children, and have been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, since the day Mitchell was born. We have been teaching our children in our Christian homeschool for nine of those years, or more if you count “from birth.”

So here we are with my son’s high school years ahead of us. Yes, academics are important, the child needs to learn to drive eventually, and the SAT will be useful for college applications if he chooses to go that route. All these, however, pale before our responsibility to help our children seek God’s direction for their lives.

I desire for all my children to strive toward God’s best for them, not just what the world or even we think they should be doing. I regularly remind them that what God has planned for them is better than anything they could plan themselves. His plan was better for me.

Where’s That Million?
I’m not likely to make that million anytime soon, but that’s OK. My family is a reward I wouldn’t trade for a million. My two-year-old son is now in diapers, sleeping with the same stuffed Winnie the Pooh, and learning not to eat the crayons. He sleeps in a toddler bed next to big brother Mitchell’s bed. Our little guy will be in high school, too, before I know it. It’s going to get here fast.

Copyright 2010, Karen D. Koch, Reprinted by CHEA of California with permission of the author.

Update: Karen Koch and her husband, Monte, have been married 22 years and have been homeschooling for almost 15 years, with four children ranging from 7 to 19. Karen has degrees in journalism and technical writing. The kids still homeschooling are in 2nd, 7th, and 12th grade/fulltime community college. Their oldest, Mitchell, is currently nine credits shy of his BA in Communications.