The term mantle can be defined as, “an important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another.”
I grew up as a homeschooler. We homeschooled when most others did not. As the oldest child of four, I started out in Christian school for kindergarten and first grade. At that point, my parents felt led to bring me home and begin our homeschooling journey. It was a calling for my parents. They didn’t have a lot of support at first. They didn’t have a big selection of curriculum. There were basically only two textbook companies that would sell books to homeschoolers at the time.
But my parents had a calling. They believed that God had called them to take responsibility for the education of their children. They did not take this responsibility lightly. We homeschooled through grief, through financial difficulties, through church splits and through the storms of life.
God brought companions alongside us and we made so many special memories together. We learned about hard work, dependability, developing good character, and we relied on our parents and on God as we grew up in a solid Christian home. My mom didn’t hesitate to take us all over our state for field trips. I remember these times with fondness.
I grew up, went on to college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. I met and married my husband, and we began to start our own family. When it came time for us to make decisions about the education of our own children, we both knew in our hearts that we would homeschool. At this point, I felt that my parents had passed the mantle of homeschooling on to my family. It was time to begin the second generation of homeschooling.
A Lifetime of Homeschooling
I like to say that I have been homeschooling for as long as I can remember. Homeschooling has become a way of life for me. I had to come into my own as a homeschooling mom. I had experience as a homeschool student and big sister, but I found that the role of mother/teacher required some experience that developed over time.
I tried multiple curricula, called my mom for help, reached out to others for support and eventually, I became more comfortable in my role. The examples that my parents set for me were priceless. They were not perfect, but they allowed us to see their flaws and I was able to be present in their lives and watch as God chiseled away at their hearts through fire and trials and brought them to the place that they are today.
I have precious memories as a child of waking up in the morning and coming downstairs into the living room and seeing my mom and dad in chairs reading their Bible. It was a consistent walk with God that I observed growing up and it made more impact than any other event in my life besides salvation. I have taken those moments and pondered them in my heart. I wonder at times how I can be that good example for my own kids in my homeschool. I have found that by God’s grace, through forgiveness and in his strength, He provides everything I need as I call on Him for help in this journey. I fall down and make mistakes, but He is faithful to walk beside me every step of the way.
For me homeschooling is more than just a job, it is a commitment, a lifetime of discipleship, and a responsibility that I don’t want to take lightly. These little lives are being molded whether I am present in their lives or not. Will I influence them for good, or allow the external influences that speak so loudly take center stage in their lives?
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. “
“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’.”
There is grace for the mistakes and failures I make on a daily basis and God is faithful when I am not, but I want to continue this legacy of homeschooling and pass the mantle on to my own kids.
I want to be committed to my Savior first, my husband second and then to my sweet children. I want to humble myself in the sight of the Lord and seek His guidance for my kid’s lives.
As I take responsibility for my kid’s education and spiritual training, I know that direction will come as I stay on my knees and in God’s Word and I pray that one day when I reach the throne room in heaven I will hear God say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
The little moments of frustration, fear and worry will pass away, but the legacy that I leave on this earth through my children can be something that will impact generations to come. May we all be faithful to the calling that God has placed in each of our lives.
Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue. “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family,homeschooling, saving money, etc. Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories, and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!