The mid to late 1980s were tumultuous times for our family. Three of our children were born in less than three years. I left a part time teaching position shortly before the arrival of our youngest. My husband worked in the city an hour from home. We moved four times. One of those moves was forced upon us when the landlady we rented from decided she wanted to live in “our” home herself.
But 1989 was the year we came home.
Several families from church had made the decision to homeschool – either years before when doing so meant flirting with the law or more recently when the number of homeschool families mushroomed as a result of the hard work of those brave pioneers. I felt certain homeschooling was something I would never do. Yet when our oldest child, a bright first grader, was dismissed by her teacher as “lacking confidence” and forever branded with the assessment that “she was simply a B math student”, I took a second look at home instruction.
And we came home.
Those around us, family who cared about us, were concerned. “What about socialization?” they asked. “What about grades?”
“How will you teach all the different ages at once?” queried some.
“They’ll never want to leave home,” cautioned others
But after inspecting both our classroom and curricula, they politely (because, remember, they cared for us) decided to bite their tongues.
So we came home.
How can I describe those early days? Warmth is a word that comes to mind. Fullness is another. Arms full. Minds full. Days full. Days of discovery – of discovering the beauty of God’s design in creation, in history, in learning. Days of laughter and others of tears. Days in which we had to figure out how to be siblings/classmates, children/students, and teacher/mom all at once.
I recall sunshine in those days – even days that were dark and nights long and a little boy’s chin quivered as he begged me not to make him reeeeaaaad. I remember our classroom extending beyond our home into a real world where people of all ages interacted with one another and science experiments found their way from the kitchen sink onto a snowbank in the back yard.
Today, the house is quiet. The children are all grown – some with children of their own. They all became quite social, and none lives closer than two hours away. Looking back through the corridor of time is often bittersweet, and my memories of homeschool are no exception. Happily, the sweet outweighs the bitter for the distance time puts between today and yesterday colors my memories a warm mauve like a beautiful rose bouquet. But the truth is, homeschool was hard. I became frustrated too often, prayed too little, trusted myself too much, and tried to prove my worth to too many people. If I could do it all over again there would be many things I would change. But there is one thing I would not change because when the Lord prods you to come home, trust him.
And come home.