Homeschooling is such a big topic and one that is so close to my heart, it is almost hard to write about it. It’s a topic on which everyone likely has an opinion and just as every family and every child is unique, every family’s education choice is unique. I can only share why we are choosing to homeschool our children, for reasons that are individual to us and our lifestyle. We are relatively new in this journey and just walking by the grace of God each day. With that lengthy disclaimer aside, let’s dig in . . .
I believe a mother is a child’s first teacher and that “homeschooling” begins at birth. In the first years of my children’s lives I hope to have taught them that they are loved and safe with mommy and daddy, that home is a sanctuary of reliable rhythms, that God is our creator, our shepherd, and Lord. As time goes on, before the usual school age of 5 or 6, I hope to have taught the value of obedience, the joy and satisfaction of working hard and helping around the house, the skills of building and creating things, the magic of good books and most importantly, the comfort and authority of God’s beautiful guiding word: our living water, our guiding lamp in the darkness.
Now that my oldest child is five and “kindergarten” age, our learning will not begin, but continue. Perhaps with a slightly new rhythm. I am my children’s most qualified teacher because I know every aspect of their individual needs, strengths, weaknesses, talents and desires. But more importantly, I was blessed by God to be their mother and am empowered daily, minute by minute, by the Holy Spirit to lead, train, teach and nurture them. If God is living in me and working through me to educate my little ones .. . well there is no teacher greater than the Lord of the Universe. I have the great responsibility to be in the word daily and to continually die to self so there is room for Him to work (gulp!)
My kids and I spend hours each day outside. I think this is incredibly valuable. Time spent in nature is time spent with Elohim, Creator God. The lessons in creation, science, the seasons, weather, animals, plants, water and rocks are endless. The fresh air and exercise are so important. My oldest is such an outdoor boy I usually have to drag him inside for lunch and dinner. It hurts my heart to think of him inside a classroom most of the day. The world is his classroom! Look and see what the Lord has done for him!
Two winters ago we had an eastern screech owl living in a tree in our side yard. Talk about endless lessons about Elohim, Creator God! The boys named our owl Humphrey and I will never forget “baking” a birthday cake for Humphrey and standing with my boys in the drizzling rain signing Happy Birthday to Humphrey and leaving the cake as a love offering on the ground.
This February the kids and I planted seeds in tiny garden cups. It was snowing outside the window but the promise of watermelon on a hot summer day was literally in our hands. We studied seeds and talked about the parable of the sower. We learned patience waiting for the first green shoots to appear in our good soil. We learned diligence in watering and caring for our crops every day. We eventually transplanted everything outside to our first garden and ate sun-ripened strawberries off the vine and we are waiting for our first pumpkins to come this fall (wild animals ate our watermelons- good lessons there too, as a wise friend recently said “life is hard, love bigger.”). The garden is a hodge podge of trial and love and we planted everything too close together but we are learning. We are learning first-hand about nutrition and what real food is and is not. Now, when my 2 year-old asks me if chips are healthy I can in turn ask him, “is it God food?” God made potatoes for us but He did not make potato chips. Or french fries (darn it).
In April we had wild bunnies in our backyard. In May we welcomed our 3 ducklings and, along with them, a host of child-friendly chores.
Ever-present and all-encompassing is our desire to teach our children a biblical world view and that God is in every moment and every piece of nature- not just in a sanctuary on Sunday mornings. We check the weather forecast most mornings and see what God is going to do with the day- is he sending rain to water the plants and trees? We put honey on our toast and talk about how cool it is that God created bees and how bees give us honey. We learn to be kind to our brother (over and over and over) because if we love someone we are patient and kind with him.
I have worked on scripture memory with my little ones since they were still nursing. I would gently speak scripture, like John 3:16 and The Lord is My Shepherd over my babies as they nursed. Now, at almost 3 years-old, my toddler boy will interrupt me singing a lullaby and say “No mommy, say Jesus instead.”
To us, family is sacred, God’s creation and blessing! Holy and perfect. It is a privilege to be our children’s primary influence during these critical young years. I won’t let the government at my precious children and I will, gracefully, leave that at that.
At such a young age it seems that children are up in the morning and hurrying off to school (I remember well driving to school in the dark). After a long day at school kids have after-school activities and then homework. I anticipate I would feel a great void of family time if we operated under that kind of schedule. And I don’t mean hot chocolate and Monopoly but time spent learning from mom and dad, modeling Godly behavior, time spent with siblings. This critical time of seeing agape lived out before their eyes. My oldest boy rarely calls me mommy. He most often calls me “sweetheart.” He learned this from his daddy.
I love knowing that my boys will grow up learning together. If they went off to school they would be in separate classrooms, maybe even separate schools. I pray this gives them a foundation and bond that will stay with them.
My children are still so young and I am inexperienced and I am learning along with them (every time I correct poor attitudes and selfishness, I know God is correcting me too!!!) Only God knows what the future holds. But for now, our days at home are more precious than gold. Many days are long and hard. There isn’t anything about raising Godly children that is easy. Kingdom work is hard. There is deep joy in it, yes, but ease? No way. It is worth it, I promise, it is more than worth it. Time invested in the lives, character and hearts of our children is time best spent.
For me, homeschool is just one ornament hanging on the Christmas tree we have chosen for our family. It isn’t a separate decision unto itself, but one part of a greater whole.
Thank you, friend.
And your children will rise and call you blessed… because of the wonderful self-less visionary mother and teacher you are daily. Most of us would consider your lifestyle to be idyllic… it’s an amazing treasure to give to your children. Godspeed!
Thank you, Diane. What a beautiful compliment!
Erin this is so inspiring and heartwarming. You are an amazing mother. If I could stay home with my boys I would love to homeschool them…I’m already dreading the routine that is going to begin next week.
I love this and you are so encouraging Erin! It is such a leap of faith to homeschool and we are just beginning our journey as well. We have not been met with a lot of support from our families yet but as you say it is an emotionally charged topic and every family and every child is so unique. God is able to redeem the many mistakes homeschooling and non homeschooling families make and we have to do what we feel led to do after a lot of prayer. It can be so hard to let go of the culture’s ideas of success. The most important gift any parent could have entrusted to our care is our children and I believe that passing on the faith is vital. Personally I feel that protecting my children from the culture so that they can someday impact the culture for God is what our family has to do even though we have to “do it scared” and depend on Him completely even though starting out there are so many choices, curriculums, and expectations. Cheers to faith, family, and FREEDOM! I hope you keep writing about this from time to time!
That’s TOUGH, Vanessa. We are so encouraged to have our parents’ support but if God is calling you to homeschool, you have your Heavenly Father’s support and that is all that matters, the rest will fall into place with time. Two verses that I love in regard to homeschool that will encourage you (and probably already do!):
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” -Galations 1:10
I am so easily overwhelmed by curriculum choices, I purposely avoid any blogs dedicated entirely to homeschooling. I think when they are little it is best to keep things as simple as possible. I think it was Charlotte Mason who said something along the lines of “simplify, simplify, simplify until there is peace in your home again.”
Amen! Loved every word. Can I bring Maley and Will to your homeschool? 🙂
Hey Erin, I love how beautifully and simply you put our “job”. God calls us to follow Him and you do that. As many of these women have already said, you are inspiring with how you wake up each day. You see a healthy challenge from our creator while many of us see stress and negativity. Addy, 4.5, will be going to a church based Pre-K next month for half days. Im excited fornthr one on one time with Jackson, 22 months but its going to be tough too. Still debating what I will do when sending them to God’s house is not an option. Excited to read about what you discover 🙂 Praying for you and your family. The birth of your daughter, and finding a new normal for all of you 🙂
No greater calling than to lead a child in learning.
Thank you for writing this! I am so encouraged. A little overwhelmed to start our homeschool journey, but encouraged by being reminded of why you (and I) have chosen to homeschool (because I see we have similar motivations…if not exact!).
And that Charlotte Mason quote is so helpful! My friend is going to give me a book by her next week and I can’t wait to read it.
So timely! I love that scripture, I think I might put it in my bathroom mirror to meditate on it. ☺️ I have the book For the Children’s Sake in my queue which leans heavily on the Charlotte Mason philosophy. You’re right, I should avoid all of the crazy for now and just keep on reading a ton of good books, enjoying nature, and building good habits and solid relationships with my children. I know our families will support us, they just think we’re weird which is okay by me! . Worry and fear is such a stumbling block for me and how many times does the Bible say not to worry?! . Thank goodness his mercies are new every morning!
Erin, your words resonate so powerfully with me today. We are just beginning our homeschool journey and you’ve so beautifully articulated the thoughts and feelings of my own heart. My husband and I are dedicated to teaching and training up our children in the ways of the Lord, and although we don’t have our family’s full support I know that God should be the only one I seek to please. It still doesn’t make it easy when discouragement comes our way but that’s the time to lean into Him even more. Thanks for the scriptures, I’m going to print them and place them where I will read them often. Many thanks for these words and please write again on the beauty that is homeschooling.
I just shared this with my sister- she is about to start a classical homeschool curriculum with her soon to be Kindergartner and 3rd grader in a few weeks (and she has a 2 year old). We’re all very excited for them! My daughter attends a small Christian classical private school and we have hopes of switching to homeschool in the future so this was fun and inspiring to read!
Beautifully said and very encouraging. Thank you for sharing your heart and articulating so well the heart’s desire of Christian homeschoolers. What a wonderful gift it is to your family when you choose them over any other pursuit in life, no matter how difficult it may be some days. Dying to self…painful…being refined for His purposes and His glory…also painful, but so worth it! Praise the Lord He gives us strength, directs our steps, is the author of wisdom, & is WITH us! May you have a blessed homeschooling journey. 🙂
Erin, thank you for these precious words … such an encouragement. I am a grandmother — Nani — to 5 precious grandboys. My oldest grandson has Fragile X Syndrome and has learning disabilities. He is now almost 14 years old. I have homeschooled him since he was 7 years old. He went to public school for PreKindergarten and had a very good teacher. Then, he went to Kindergarten and had two different teachers who really didn’t know much about teaching someone with special needs. So after that, by the grace of our Lord, I was laid off from work and in most respects retired, so I told my daughter I would love to homeschool Brandon. What a joy it has been…I, like you, didn’t really know what to do, but have learned so much over the years. I now choose various pieces of curriculum that fit the need of where Brandon is in learning. And I now homeschool my next to the oldest grandson with Brandon…Oh how God has blessed me, girl. Jesse is my younger daughters son — she has 4 total. The younger 3 are homeschooled by their dad who is the Pastor of our Family Church — we are a Home-based church of about 12 families. My son-in-love, Chris, is a juvenile diabetic and is blind in his right eye. He hasn’t been able to work outside his home for about 3 years now…so they, too, decided to homeschool their boys. I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been. Chris and I co-teach on Science and History. And we take field trips together. Chris and I, as well as the boys, have grown so close together. We love Chris as our “son” as well as he is our Pastor in every sense of the word. Well, enough about my family. I so enjoyed reading your story and I pray God continues to bless you and your family as you travel this journey along with us. I know you and your husband will do GREAT! I am thankful the Lord led you to share your experience. It is encouraging to hear these kinds of stories to all of us who The Lord has led to lead our children and grandchildren by teaching them with God’s help through these formative years. Bless you, Erin.
YAY! I found you on Pinterest and read your blog when your oldest boy was a toddler. Homeschool will be a continuation of your life like it is now! My children are 7, 5, 3, and 5 months. I just want to encourage you! You will do great when baby leaves his womb home. Just keep doing what you are doing now. There will be lots of time to do everything else. I promise. Hugs!, from one hs mama to another.
lovely! I hope it goes well. we’re into our second year of official-school-age homeschooling now, and we have really liked it.
You always have such beautiful words! I don’t homeschool my three boys and I have different perspectives, but good for you for following your heart and doing what you see best for your family. I wish we could all lift each other up and encourage each other more in our choices as Christian mothers and learn that Christ calls us all to be mothers in different ways but still with the same goals. I wish you the best with your homeschooling and adventures with your beautiful babies!
I’ve popped in on your blog from time to time since just before Wynn was born. Or maybe right after…. I really enjoy your writing and find that it helps center me often. You are gifted.
Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you.
I homeschooled/am homeschooling my 7 boys. There were times when it was hard, and I doubted my ability, but I have no regrets. Those are precious relationships.
Jesus will most definitely give you grace sufficient.
THIS is homeschooling at its very finest. What wonderful years you have ahead of you!
Hi Erin! I’m taking the AO class with you right now and I’ve just been having so much fun going through your lovely website and heartfelt blog. I was homeschooled, k-12! I was the oldest of 5 and my youngest brother is graduating this year. I have my MBA, my 2 bothers both went to the Naval Academy and are now navy pilots, my youngest brother wants to do the same thing, and my sis is working on her MBA/JD. Homeschooling totally works. If you aren’t part of co-op or other type of homeschooling groups, I totally recommend it. It helps you feel less alone (or crazy since some ppl are so negative about homeschooling) and it helps you stay abreast of any legislative issues that may affect you. Hugs and encouragement to you <3