I've always said that my main reason for homeschooling is because I wanted to spend time with my children. I didn't want to send them away for 8-9 hours a day all week long. I didn't want to only see them on nights and weekends. I wanted to be the main influence in their lives and build a foundation of our faith in their hearts.
I also said that since my husband and I began our marriage on opposite views of the whole homeschooling idea, that we would take it year by year and kid by kid and give them what they needed at the time. We were going to be very flexible.
When we moved to our new home in March, our house was located in a prime position with a charter school within walking distance of our home. In fact, I can see the school from my kitchen window. We thought that maybe this would be the year to send the two older girls to school (3rd grade + 1st grade) and I would do Pre-K with our son and really focus on my businesses this year.
We were excited about the thought and I also dealt with apprehensions because I felt like part of my identity was being a homeschooling mom. What if I had to let that go? What would people think? Truthfully, I got over that quick, because it doesn't matter what others think. It matters what God thinks and our obedience to Him. I also knew that I would really miss the girls and it would be a hard adjustment to send them away every day. Regardless, we moved forward and enrolled them in school and waited for them to move up on the waiting list.
At some point in the waiting process, little things began to happen that slowly changed our perspective. And one Sunday at church, it all changed. All I can say is that it was a radical Holy Spirit change and on the way home from church, I turned to my husband and said, "I'm having second thoughts about sending the girls to school." He looked at me and said, "I've been double thinking it too!" Boom. God had been telling us both the same thing. I love when He confirms that in us.
It wasn't a feeling based out of jitters. It wasn't a decision based out of fear. Through our conversation of God's revelation to us, we realized that homeschooling wasn't just a flimsy choice we were going to make year by year anymore but instead, a CALLING on our lives and for our kids. This is what we were called to do and how we are to raise them and we have been given this time to create a firm foundation of their character and faith in these very impressionable years.
Kids are so vulnerable at a young age. My kids are not perfect by any means and teach them about character and integrity daily. But if they spend even a few hours with someone who is very aggressive, angry and hits and kicks people, my kids will begin to take on those characteristics. If my kids are with someone who talks differently from them, within a matter of hours, I can hear their speech start to change. My daughter made a new friend, who didn't like the color pink, and so, she began to not like the color pink. Clearly, that does not mean that I am going to lock them in the house, never to see any other human in life. But it also means, I need to make very conscious decisions to raise them how God has called me to steward them. Because if very little things can affect their thoughts and actions, so will the big things.
I'm not an expert in this at all but I'm trying to lead up to a realization. I had a wonderful conversation with my mom about our decision to choose homeschooling and realizing it was our calling. It was not based out of fear, but it is based on the premise that God has given us these children to raise and steward and we want to protect them and teach them and train them ourselves. And we are capable, because God has equipped us.
I told my mom how I obviously don't want to shelter our kids. We want them to experience the world and learn about life and in that, know that our victory is in Jesus Christ and they are FREE in Him. But I was adamant, that I don't want to shelter our kids in that.
And my mom, the wise woman she is, challenged me in that. She encouraged me TO shelter our kids. The world has such a negative connotation on sheltering. It is viewed as not exposing them to the world and keeping them locked up in a house without any socialization so they become weird and awkward. But no... let's really look at this.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
God is our refuge. He covers us. He keeps us safe and protects us. He is our shield and our hiding place. So WHY... why, would He not want the same for our children. Why would he not want us to create an atmosphere of that protection for the kids he has given us to steward? God is all of those things to His children (us, as parents) and we must honor that and place our children in situations to be protected in that, not shoving them out in the world to figure it out and fend for themselves.
We are called to shelter them. It is a good thing to shelter them. We are their parents. We should shield them from the enemies traps and deceit. Especially when they are young. Their little hearts and minds don't have the capacity to know right and wrong yet, we must teach them. We must shield them and ask God to guide us in protecting them. Giving us wisdom and strength to help them flourish as they grow.
So, I'm not living out of fear of what they might learn from other kids, or what they might pick up in a school setting, but I'm obeying the call God has for me to yes, shelter them. To create a covering over their hearts and lives to raise them protected and comforted within how I feel God calling me to do.
I'm not saying ya'll should homeschool your children. It's not for everyone. But I do want to challenge you, just as my mother did for me, to lose that negative view on sheltering our kids, and instead, hold them close, teach them the Word of God, and position them in a place to meet with Jesus daily. You only have so much time to plant seeds in their precious souls, so make it count now. Shelter them, just as God shelters us all. Implement a little parenting advice from the Almighty Father.