by Kathryn C. Lang
Many prayers have passed through my lips while homeschooling. Many prayers continue to pass through now as the older boys go on to pursue higher degrees of education and the youngest contemplates his next move.
“Please, God. Don’t let me mess them up!” became my most common prayer. When others would question my choices, or when I would question my choices, or when the choices of my children would leave me with my head in my hands, I would whisper that prayer.
In truth, I still whisper that prayer over the boys (now men).
My oldest son was only five when we decided to homeschool. It wasn’t a big movement in our area, but it felt right to me. I had dreams of owning a trailer and traveling the country with them.
The first time I attended a homeschool gathering, I began praying: “God, what have I gotten us into?” The people gathered at the park were not what I had imagined. The nicest way to explain it is that they took “Unschooling” to a whole new level.
The next time I attended a homeschool gathering, I repeated the prayer (probably with a bit more emphasis). This time the organizers practiced what I deemed “school at home.” They had desks and followed the same schedule as a traditional school.
Eventually, we found our way. The boys learned about wildlife by putting out feeders behind the house and identifying who showed up. We fostered squirrels and possums when we had a permit to do it. We went on field trips with groups from all around north Alabama. And we took off the month of September to study and track hurricanes.
Many hours passed with laughter and conversations between us because we were together all the time. Serious conversations about faith. Silly conversations around rewriting the lyrics of a song. Annoying conversations about nothing, but everyone had different opinions about the nothing.
Social media did not get involved in our lives until after my boys were older. Its limits left us blessed and cursed: cursed because finding other homeschool families could be challenging; blessed because we weren’t bombarded with what we were doing wrong.
Seeing pictures of all the events other kids participated in often left me questioning my choices. I wanted my boys to have the friendships portrayed by others. “God, please don’t let me mess them up!” Bad Mommy Syndrome runs rampant on social media.
A few months back, my son shared a decision he had made. I didn’t agree. Because he had engaged me in his plan, I made my thoughts known.
He looked at me for a moment and then smiled. “Mom, I didn’t make the choice lightly. I followed what you taught us, doing my research and backing up what I researched with three sources. I’m talking to God about the direction I need to go.” He paused again. “I believe this is right for me.”
I still didn’t agree, and I definitely didn’t understand, but I realized at that moment that we probably all will mess up at some point. Whatever direction we choose or whatever path we walk down, if we rely on our directions and go it alone, we are apt to get lost.
We will never have all the answers. The more we think we have them, the crazier things become around us—proving we don’t have all the answers. All we can do is learn what we can, share what we learn, back up our learning with multiple sources, and always be talking with God about the steps we take.
My new prayer will center on this truth: “Thank you, God, that you make treasure even out of my messes. Thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to be a steward in the lives of these boys you love even more than I can imagine. Thank you that no matter what my doubts, You’ve got this.” I’m putting my trust in God instead of my abilities.
In the end, keep the focus on what you can do. Enjoy the journey and fill the time with love and laughter. Make the time together as valuable as the activities. Remember we are all unique. The learning process will take on unique turns and twists for each child in each season (and that’s okay). Keep learning together and keep praying, both alone and together.
Homeschooling is not just a job. It’s not just a learning choice. Homeschooling is an adventure you take as a family.
As a former homeschool mom of three boys, Kathryn knows that life is full of interesting moments, so there’s no need to make it more complicated than it has to be. The power of words drives her to find more ways to share words. She put her words to work in a full-time freelance career in 2004. She expanded her platform by penning books and eBooks. She invests with words in others by speaking at events, on podcasts, and through live streaming because it is all about relationships. www.kathrynlang.com/.
Copyright 2021, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.