I am sitting at my desk at 11:52 p.m. and the house is quiet. With six children in the house, it isn’t often quiet. In fact, I am expecting one of my three-year-olds to wake up at any moment for a potty break. And the quiet will be shattered. There was a time when our home was too quiet. Before kids.
From our wedding day to the birth of our first child was five years and seventeen days. Not all of that time was spent earnestly waiting. I finished school first, and stopped birth control once I graduated. That’s when the endless wait began. During the waiting period, I spent most of my lunch breaks listening to Focus on the Family by Dr. James Dobson. I would take my sandwich out to my car, turn on the radio, and dream of my perfect-family-yet-to-be.
One day, as I sat there listening Dr. Dobson started talking about homeschooling. His guests were well-spoken, well-educated impressive folk. I was captivated. So, I did what any married woman would probably do in my shoes. I went home and brought up the idea with my husband. “Have you ever thought about homeschooling?” His first response was, “What is that?” After my fumbling explanation, the answer was a resounding no. Not ever.
I brought up homeschooling a few times in random conversation over the next year, but nothing changed. We didn’t have any children and my husband certainly wasn’t going to consider homeschooling unborn children yet to be. So we pressed on in life. Eventually, we were able to conceive and gave birth to a precious baby girl two days after Christmas.
When Clara was about a year old, my husband was listening to the radio one day on the way home from work. He happened to listen to a conversation on Focus on the Family all about homeschooling. And the rest is history. Funny how our perspectives change once we are holding a precious little bundle of joy (who in this case was usually screaming) in our arms.
Perhaps the best book I have ever read on this subject is When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul Jr. In it he says:
God gives us the children he gives us, and gives the lives He gives us for His purposes. he prepares us today for our calling tomorrow, day by day. He does this perfectly because he is sovereign. he is the one who tells us in Deuternonomy 6, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on the gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Here the Expert, the One who knows everything about everything, lays down this obligation on parents. The text, please note, doesn’t say, “Make sure that this gets done. Make sure your children learn these things.”
He then goes on to describe how we as parents respond when our children try to pass the buck.
“In like manner, when God commands that someone do a job, it is arrogant and disobedient to pass that job on to someone or something else.”
My husband and I decided that training our children is so important we would give it top priority. We have given up many things to homeschool. We have given up a second income and a great deal of freedom. We have given up on having a clean house. (It is very difficult to clean with six children in the house 24/7…). We have given up these temporary things in view of six eternal blessings for whose education we take full responsibility. And that’s why we homeschool.