Before joining the faculty at TCS, I had the opportunity to serve as a leader of a national homeschool program in the area. Part of my role was to speak to parents who were considering homeschooling as the education choice for their students. I would often begin with the question of “What has made you decide to consider homeschooling at this time?” This question would lead to great conversations about the faith perspective of the family, their frustration with the current school environment, the uniqueness of their child, and ultimately, their reasoning for determining that homeschooling was best. I would inform them that in the great state of Texas there are very few state requirements that govern homeschooling. This lack of governing would be freeing for some and fear inducing for others. In Texas, you are responsible for your child’s education should you choose to homeschool. It is in this knowledge that the fear and doubt would reside.
Parents would wonder if they had what it takes to teach their child the necessary academic and social skills to attend college or simply survive as an adult. They were concerned because they wanted to be assured of the future for their children and they were aware of their own limitations. I believe they were also concerned because there is a continuing national narrative that indicates that parents are not equipped to teach their own children. The number of parents who indicate that “I could never homeschool” is astounding. When asked why, their answers vary but mostly center around the theme of “I am unqualified.”
If you are feeling unqualified or afraid as you begin this academic year, let me encourage you with these two reminders. The first is “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” My mother had many poignant parenting phrases she used often in rearing me and my brothers. Although I grew up in an economically disadvantaged environment, beginning in third grade, I had the opportunity to attend the gifted class at my elementary school. The school had been recently desegregated and I missed attending class with my friends. My new classes seemed to be more challenging than my friend’s classes and when I complained to my mother she responded with her wisdom of “if it were easy, everyone would do it.” I’m not sure this wisdom satisfied my young frustration but it has encouraged me on my homeschooling journey. I have had many friends indicate that they don’t understand why we homeschool or that the schools aren’t that bad or they remind me that I graduated from public school and survived. They attempt to encourage me by giving me their emotional permission to stop homeschooling and do what everyone else does—send them to the experts at the local school. If I’m honest, there are the really hard days that I do wish for a magic school bus to take my children away for a few hours but I know that I cannot give up completely.
We are called to run a challenging marathon, not a sprint. I have a great friend who ran her first marathon in celebration of her 50th birthday. She informed me that I was mile number sixteen for her. When she was running mile sixteen she would reminisce about our friendship and pray for me so that she would remain encouraged and focused on getting to the next mile. This verse in Galatians reminds us that when we are frustrated and fearful and want to give up on this homeschooling journey that it is not God who distracts us but the enemy.
Galatians 5:7-8 says: You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. We need to remember that this journey is not easy but it is absolutely worth it. This is also a journey that requires God’s grace and the support of others. When we want to give up it is usually because we have forgotten that we are not alone in this endeavor. We cannot accomplish God’s will for our lives without His amazing grace and Holy Spirit to sustain us. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have challenging days but if we can remember to rejoice, pray, and trust we can continue to run on.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. These verses remind me to stop worrying because God is near. The Almighty is concerned for me and the situations that I am anxious about, if I will trust Him. In every situation, I can submit my concerns to the Father and He will trade my worry for His peace. Isn’t that amazing?! When we started TCS last year I was worried that I had not adequately prepared my children for the rigor of the curriculum, that they would not make friends, and that the students in my class would hate me. Yes, I was full of fear and doubt. But I was quickly encouraged to remember this verse of exhortation. Was the transition to TCS community challenging for our family? Yes it was, but God’s Grace was sufficient. Were there moments when I wondered if I had really heard from God because surely if He loved me then Latin would have been easier? Indeed, but God’s Grace is sufficient and He does not vacillate.
As a homeschool family you have chosen to do the difficult but best thing. It would be much easier to simply drop your children off at the local school and pray for the best. You would not be alone in that choice and would likely be applauded for that decision. Homeschooling is not the easy choice. When your children do not listen, obey, or remember anything you just taught them, it is not easy. When Latin is tough and Math is overwhelming, you can begin to think that you are not ready for this race. Let me remind you that you are not alone. You are part of a community that wants you to be successful and is in the race with you. The support built into this model of collaboration at TCS is such a blessing. I encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to connect with other families so that you have support when you are feeling overwhelmed. I encourage you to utilize the resources within the TCS faculty to help you with your academic questions. I encourage you to be a beacon of light for some family that is feeling lost or disheartened.
Trinity Classical School is what is best for us but it is not always easy. I guess if it were, everyone would do it.