When I told the other teachers at my campus that I had decided to quit my job as a 5th grade reading teacher and stay home with my children, they applauded me. “Good for you!” they said. “That is a great decision for your children,” they went on. My co-workers assumed I was only talking about staying home with my two youngest children, ages 4 and 2 at the time. When I went on to explain that not only was I planning to stay home with my smaller two, but was going to homeschool my older two as well, the teacher’s lounge suddenly got quiet. Gone were the well wishes and up came the defenses. They must have misunderstood. “You are taking your kids out of the district and teaching them yourself? At home?” All eyes were on me. Their skeptical glances suddenly made me uncomfortable. I went on to explain the reasoning behind my decision.
I needed time with my kids. I’m not talking about a few hours or even a few days. It was more than just a break from the busyness of being a working mom. I needed time to disciple them. I wanted to walk through life with them. I desired to have shared experiences that we can learn from throughout the week, the good and the bad.
Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “ You shall teach them (God’s laws) to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
I felt like the hour in between supper and bedtime just wasn’t enough for me to teach them about Christ. In fact, it wasn’t happening. I had stopped talking to my children about Jesus. We went to church twice a week (Dad was the one preaching!) and even had family devotions, but they couldn’t see that in the mundane times as well as those exciting moments, that Christ was my passion. I needed time to live out my faith in front of them.
I wrongly assumed this answer would satisfy my co-workers. They readily dismissed it, and continued hunting for the “real reason,” as if the one I gave simply wasn’t good enough. Did my kids have a bad teacher this year? Was I unhappy with the district? The truth, however, was that both my boys had top-notch teachers that year, and I would recommend our district to anyone that had decided to send their kids to public school.
It just wasn’t working for our family.
I looked up and realized that eventually we would have one member of the family on five different campuses. How would we balance all the activities, much less the many different homework assignments and teaching styles? The only time I would have with my children at night would be filled. There would be no room left for discipleship. Would we really be able to focus on reading God’s word together with the piles of homework stacked on the counter? I wasn’t so sure.
My husband and I decided to embark on this wonderful journey called homeschooling. What have I discovered so far? It involves so much more than just “doing school” at the kitchen table. Whether by words or actions, I am always teaching. It means the trip to the grocery store turns into an economics lesson. Simply playing with Legos become a robotics project. More importantly, arguments with siblings become lessons in compassion, and my ongoing sanctification becomes their daily lessons in grace.
There are days when I want to quit. Days when it seems too hard; too much work. This work, though, this high calling of “training up my children in the way they should go, (Proverbs 22:6)” is part of the mission that God has given me as a mother. Thankfully, He has equipped me through the power of the Holy Spirit to complete this marvelous task of daily pointing their hearts to Him. All that is needed is my obedience.
My name is Andrea. I’m a daughter of the King, church planter’s wife, and mom of four amazing kids. I am a public school teacher that felt God’s tug on my heart to start homeschooling my kids. I have a heart for family discipleship and write about my daily experiences of God’s grace on my blog at gracefoundus.com. I’ve been married for 10 years to my amazing husband, Kris. Our kids, ages 3-8, include three boys, Kaleb, Noah, and Brady, and one girl, Mercy Grace. As a family, we love to work with the homeless ministry in our city. On the weekends, you can find us riding bikes and eating anywhere kids eat free!