By the time my oldest two children were in 4th and 5th grade, I had experienced, or my children had rather, more than enough of the public school system. They learned that even though they were taught to use their voice, others were not. They experienced physical aggression from other students without the freedom to defend themselves. And I learned that no matter how well you try to go through the proper channels, sometimes such environments will not be moved to change.
So I did.
After picking my kids up one afternoon and hearing how the school decided to manage a situation in which my child was being victimized, I made the decision to homeschool. Being traditionally opposed to such measures, it was a giant leap of faith, but one I felt absolutely necessary to the emotional well-being of my children. So, into the next phase of our lives we went.
The short version is there was success, failure, and a lot of love and growth along the way. I absolutely loved having my tribe around me every day, while sometimes loathing the process of trying to parent and educate simultaneously. Having given them the choice to attend public high school, I admit I was truly grateful when both decided to go back to the public education system at that point. It seemed wise to allow them the opportunity to take the strength of character, and faith, they had had the opportunity to develop, into an environment where they could actively live out their values, while still being close enough to mama’s heart in the event that they fell now and again.
As parents, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what to do and when in any given situation. When I made the decision to homeschool, it was not necessarily cheered on and in some cases highly criticized. It was most possibly one of the most difficult seasons of my life with my kids, as well as personally, and looking back, I have absolutely no idea how I survived at all. But, we made it, and as I witness the amazing humans they are growing into, I feel so blessed God would lead me in such a way, and that I had the freedom to pursue what I felt led to provide for my babies.
Just a few weeks ago, in a conversation with my 17-year-old, I was blessed beyond measure when she made the statement that she was so glad she hadn’t attended public middle school. She reflected that as a 9th grader, it was more challenging to play catch up with some of the social circles and friends from elementary school, but that as she quietly observed over the next 2 years, she realized it had really been the best thing for her. Heading into her senior year, she is well-adjusted, making school a priority, and a very grounded young woman.
I couldn’t be more proud.
We may not always be able to experience the fruit of our labor in such an immediate way. Or ever. May never hear a thank you for sacrifice and labored over decisions. But do please know that even if our children, spouses, friends or family remain silent, our God will not. He sees every tear, feels every tug on the heart, and hears every doubt that nags in the midnight hour. Rest assured; every seed we sow, we will reap.
Be encouraged today that you are not unseen, and the choices you are making will influence the future. The bible says not to grow weary in doing good. Easier said than done, but a valuable lesson all the same. Press on, my friend! Never doubt that your carefully chosen footprints will leave their indelible mark on tomorrow…and today.