While home educating your children, there are many distractions that need to be dealt with or managed. We are bombarded by expectations, comments, and pressures from relatives, such as grandparents, from our Christian friends, and from ourselves. These could derail our home educating journey if we are not careful.
Often relatives are quick to criticize when they see us doing things differently than what they expect or what they see from other forms of schooling (i.e., public/private). Our friends can exaggerate how their children are succeeding at their public/private schools and how they feel their own time is being used more effectively for Christian service and “the Lord’s work.” This can contribute to our already somewhat distorted thinking that “I’m not doing enough” with my children, that my children are missing out, or that “I’m not pleasing the Lord” because my service time is limited or lacking. To combat these pressures and distractions, I
encourage you to remember to keep the first things the first things, to remember why you are doing what you are doing, and to remember the “big picture” and where you are hoping (and praying!) this effort will lead.
Home education provides the best environment for raising our children in the “training and admonishment of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). For Christian parents, our number one desire for our children is that they would not depart from “wisdom and understanding . . . sound judgment and discretion” (Proverbs 3:21). Within home education, instruction with godly example is the best way for us to instill these truths upon our children. Do not take the discipling of your children lightly. It is the most important job the Lord has for you to do (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Also, why did you begin your home educating journey? Was it to provide your children individualized instruction and learning opportunities, strengthen family relationships, have a flexible schedule that met your family’s needs, less negative peer influences and/or to instill your Christian values and morals on your children? Whatever the reasons, I believe that it is important to “remember” them and to spend time renewing your commitment to these reasons if you are feeling deflated or pressured. More than likely, these reasons are as important now or even more so than when you started. Take time to resolve to continue to push forward with renewed vision and purpose.
Research has revealed that most home educated children turn out to have a deep and meaningful faith as an adult, have strong morals and values, and make valuable contributions to their families, churches, communities, and society. When we are tempted to say, “homeschooling is too hard” or “it doesn’t really matter,” we would do well to remember the outcomes of those that have gone before us, those who made the sacrifices necessary to home educate through high school and gained the rewards. It is important to continue to remember the big picture and how the Lord has brought you to this point and that He can continue to help you to completion (Philippians 1:6).
So, if you are feeling distracted or pressured by comments from others or your own negative thinking, consider remembering the tremendous benefits of home education. Remembering these benefits will help you focus on what is most important, the reasons why you first chose this journey. Focusing on these things will inspire you to continue, and give you the hope for an outcome that will help you to know that it was all worth it. You sacrificed for your children and went against popular cultural norms, to give them the best opportunity to live their lives “worthy of the calling they have received” (Ephesians 4:1). I believe there is a great reward for you in heaven.
Ian Mogilevsky is married to Debbie, and is a home educating father of eight children, three of which have graduated. Vocationally, he is a psychologist with an expertise in working with children, teens, and adults with learning differences. He is also the president of MACHS.