I originally wrote this article in 2011. I’m so grateful the Lord has answered my fervent prayers for my own growth!
It’s a question I approach with extreme caution: “Where do your kids go to school?”
Apparently, it is impossible to homeschool without thinking everyone else in the world should also. At least, that must be the perception.
My answer that I homeschool is often met with a blank stare. Following the stare, I commonly hear a list of all the reasons my partner in conversation can not possibly ever (Never, ever!) homeschool. Inevitably I hear, “I just don’t have the patience for that.”….
Oh, friend, if only you could see my heart!
Homeschool Problems (Hint: It’s All ME!)
I love books. I love learning. I love teaching. I love my kids. I have felt called to homeschool for years (Years!), and yet, I don’t have the patience for it. I’m not loving enough, I’m not kind enough, I’m just not enough. Period. As with anything else the Lord has called me to, I avoided all mention and discussion of homeschooling–until He hit me with a proverbial 2 x 4.
So now I’m a homeschooler.
I’m still not patient enough, not kind enough, not loving enough. But I am on my knees. I am on my face. I am praying with my husband. My small group prays for me, and I have friends who pray for me. Some days, I lock myself in the bathroom and pray for myself–again.
What do I pray for? I pray for love, patience, and kindness… just enough for the day. I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my path.
I also ask my family for forgiveness often. So often, I’m embarrassed. My children are very gracious and, by all appearances, they still love me.
We have had some excellent homeschooling moments. Days, even weeks, have passed in which everything has gone smoothly; everyone has learned and we’ve all bonded together. It’s in these moments that the temptation arises to feel I am a stellar teacher, and a stellar mom. That’s when our golden moments disappear like a cloud of smoke and I’m left with the realization that I am merely a sinner, with a broken heart and a need for my Savior.
Those are the moments that, again, drive me to my knees in humility and desperation.
I love homeschooling. I love my children, and I love the opportunity to invest some of the gifts the Lord has so freely given me. Never do I forget the reason I shouldn’t homeschool: my own character. Thankfully, in God’s economy, shouldn’t is always can–as long as we walk in His will.
God’s Answer to My Homeschool Problems
Six years later, I can tell you with a good deal of relief, that God absolutely answered my prayers for my own sanctification! I’m calmer, more patient, and more loving. My boys and I have a solid, deep relationship. I am SO glad that we homeschool and that I didn’t let my own sin and shortcomings sidetrack our time together.
I’ve learned that the Lord answers prayer, and that it’s vital to the Christian walk. I’m still praying for my own character and sanctification–but I have a different focus than I did near the beginning of our homeschool career!
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.