To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool?
I had homeschooling on my heart for a year before the 2020-2021 school year began.
I was wrestling with God, throwing many excuses at Him.
“There’s no way Caleb will listen to me the same way he listens to his teachers.”
“How do I know if it’s for me? If it’s what You want me to do?”
“How do I convince my husband?”
“If I homeschool, I can only be comfortable with it if we use a specific curriculum. How on EARTH would we come up with the money for that?”
“It might be worse for our family if my kids are home all the time with me. Sometimes I think my head is going to explode with all the chaos.”
Through asking all these questions and throwing all these excuses God’s way, I was reminded he has a sense of humor. I’ve learned this time and time again. You’d think it would stick with me!
God Answers Me
Covid hit and I experienced Caleb, my oldest son who was in second grade at the time, being home from school from March to June. Caleb did so well and was extremely motivated for school. We were also blessed with an incredible teacher who made things very easy to follow. It wasn’t difficult to have him finish his work each day. He listened to me when I said it was time to do his work with no issues. God addressed that concern.
A week before Caleb was to begin third grade and our twin boys to begin kindergarten at our local public school, which I LOVED, I started listening to Mother Miriam on the Stations of the Cross radio station. And of course, someone brought up homeschooling.
I then emailed her and simply asked “How do I know if I am called to homeschool? I’ve talked to many mothers and I heard them either say ‘I knew I was called to homeschool’ or ‘I knew it wasn’t for our family.’ How do I know what my call is?”
She actually answered my question on the air the next day! And she said, “This is a great question. You know you are called to homeschool if you are a mother.” I was taken back by that. Then she went further, saying, “You may have gone to public school and turned out fine, but schools are VERY different now than they used to be.” God answered that question, too.
It just so happened I was surrounded by a group of friends from our parish who homeschool (I see what you did there, Lord) and began asking lots of questions. I decided I loved the Seton Home Study curriculum because everything was already laid out for me. But two huge obstacles remained that seemed impossible to overcome. My boys were supposed to start school the following week, and I had no idea how to convince my husband, whose faith is not as strong as my own, to allow me to homeschool. I also had NO idea where we’d get the extra $1,000 to pay for the curriculum for the three boys. That was not something we had budgeted for.
I prayed and prayed and prayed. I asked my husband and he asked that I allow him some time to think about it. A couple days later, he and I went on a nice date, bike riding and then dinner afterwards. At dinner, he suddenly said, “Your reasons for wanting to homeschool are morally better than my reasons for not wanting them to be homeschooled.”
I was in shock. God had addressed that hurdle as well. But I still had no idea where we’d get the money for it.
Then my husband said, “I just found out I’m getting a bonus next week.” Turns out it was $970.
All right, Lord! I’m hearing You loud and clear!
Swimming in God’s Will
The day we officially decided to homeschool and order our curriculum, we also found out we were expecting baby number six. To say I was overwhelmed was an EXTREME understatement. You’re just going to throw a little more of Your Will in the mix aren’t You, Lord? But I gave it to God, trusted in what He was asking of us, and tried not to think about how I’d homeschool through morning sickness.
I began our school year completely insecure about everything, but as the weeks went on, it became very natural to us. My boys were extremely motivated to get their work done, which I know is a huge blessing. A few times already, I’ve come downstairs in the morning and Caleb has said, “Mom, I finished these three subjects while you were all still asleep.”
And I realized that instead of it being worse for our family if the kids were home all the time, I noticed I was becoming more patient with them. I was learning more about them, about how they learn, about what they are learning.
And Caleb, at one point while studying one of his daily religion lessons on the archangels and guardian angels, said to me, “Mom, I really like this.”
My heart burst.
God Truly Knows Best
I learned that if I opened myself to what God wanted for me and my family, if I gave Him my “yes,” He took care of the rest. He always does and always will. Homeschooling may not be in God’s will for every family, but God no doubt wanted it for my own. He provided everything we needed when I opened my hands to what He asked of me.
Trust in God, dear mommas. If something is on your heart, talk to God about it and be very open to His will for you. Tell Him your fears about that nudge He’s giving you, because they are very real to Him as well. Be honest; He completely understands. He knows what is best for you and absolutely WILL provide if you’re open to His plan for you and your family.
Is there something on your heart you feel God is calling you to? Are you avoiding it or embracing it? Have you sat down in the stillness and had a conversation with God about it? Consider journaling, starting with prayer, and seeing where God leads you.
Copyright 2021 Elaine Sinnott
Image: Jessica Lewis (2020), Unsplash
This article was originally posted on CatholicMom.com and is reprinted here with permission.