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Homeschooling For Eternity
by Skeet Savage
By Israel Wayne (*)
One of the advantages of growing up in a ministry family is that you get to observe many other Christian leaders first-hand. Growing up with a mother who was the editor of a national homeschooling magazine, people tend to assume that your family must be perfect. They think that because you know how to lay out a publication and edit articles that you are somehow, inately, more spiritual than "average" people. Having the opportunity to personally know many Christian leaders, I have come to realize that they are just like everyone else in many ways. They struggle, make mistakes and often miss the mark they are aiming for. It helps to know that you are not alone; that others, even those who are well known, have the same struggles you do.
One of the disadvantages of growing up knowing other Christian leaders is discovering how many of them care more about preserving their pristine image than they do for the true spiritual condition of their family. On more than one occasion I remember hearing national Christian homeschooling leaders being applauded from an appreciative audience, only to have the leaderís child (one of my peers) turn to me and say, "Yeah, if only these people knew what my parent is really like!" I was always saddened by this.
I always knew that my mother was imperfect. She is the first to admit that. I always knew that our family had a long way to go before we reached sanctified perfection. But one thing that could not be said is that my mother was a hypocrite. She always made it clear that she would abandon the publishing ministry if we couldnít walk the talk. I admire that.
Now that I am a parent myself, and my mother is a grandmother several times over, I look back at the trail my mother blazed in the early days of the modern homeschool movement. She never wanted notoriety or to see her name in lights. She never tried to be a "mover and shaker" in the political world, or in Christian leadership circles. She always reminded us that the Lordís work is the only thing that matters. If our labors become about us, we need to shut it down.
I really think if Mom wanted to be remembered for doing one thing well, she would desire the simple title of "mother." I respect her dogged determination to do what she felt God was calling her to do despite who approved, what opposed or how impossible it seemed. If not for her and others of her ilk, there would not be a modern homeschooling movement. Those of us in the younger generation of homeschoolers owe a lot to these pioneers.
As her only son amidst five daughters, I think God sent me into her life to make sure that she didnít skate by on Easy Street when it came to parenting. I was hyperactive, strong-willed, learning challenged, attention deficit, and approached almost everything differently than she would. I donít think she did everything right. I think she made mistakes. But I think she did the most important thing right. She was successful in the only realm that mattered.
She passed on to us a spiritual legacy that will follow us as long as we live. We learned apart from abiding in Christ -- as she done for many years -- we could do nothing. We learned that itís all about Jesus, and itís not about us. We learned that to have a close family, you have to work at it. We learned that if you sin, you repent and you move forward. We learned that there is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ -- you wonít be popular and you canít be like the rest of the world. We learned, "Only one life, tíwill soon be past, only whatís done for Christ will last."
I think the fact that Mom asked me to write her introduction, instead of many other nationally-known leaders, demonstrates that she is more concerned about reality (loving her family) than she is with making people think she loves her family. That makes this book valid and worth your time to read it.
(*) Israel Wayne, author of Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview, former marketing director for Wisdom's Gate, a national publishing company that produced the Home School Digest. Israel is a homeschool graduate whose family has been involved in homeschooling since the late 1970's. He now resides in southern MI with his wife, Brook, and their son.
Before We Begin.....
By Skeet Savage
"Help! Iím a homeschooling parent!"
Excuse Me ?!? I beg your pardon, but if youíre looking for a shoulder to cry on, youíve come to the wrong place...
Now, donít get me wrong -- lest you think that Iím some heartless, ivory tower-dweller whoís just not living in the real world, as a homeschooling parent myself, I really do know just how challenging this business of homeschooling can be (which is why, for over fifteen years now, weíve gone the extra mile beyond our own homeschooling efforts, to publish our 96-page quarterly the Home School Digest!).
However, it is simply beyond my ability to grasp the mentality of parents who would rather be anything but parents! I cannot comprehend why a father, who has been away from his family all day, would rather sit alone in a recliner reading the newspaper, than to share a bedtime story with his little ones gathered appreciatively around him. I absolutely cannot fathom how things could ever have gotten so twisted that mothers would prefer to hold a "paying job" rather than a sweet, cuddly baby!
When I see purported "self-help" books that offer "survival" tactics for young mothers who are "forced" to "put up with" their children until school starts again, or so-called "Christian" romance novels that dangle the enticement of an "escape from the drudgery of everyday life" or advertising that extols the glamour of the fast-paced, carefree (childless), business world of big city life, and bemoans full-time homemaking as an unworthy calling, I must confess to you that I simply cannot relate!
On the contrary, in all my years as a homeschooling parent, Iíve never once had the experience of seeing that big yellow bus go past that house and wishing my children were on it. Even though we enjoy the fellowship of many friends, I can honestly say that there is no company that I enjoy more that that of my own children. Without exception, at every age, and at every stage, I have loved and enjoyed all my children.
Please donít think for a moment that, as more than one dear friend has often accused me, my children are perfect. (I suspect that the mountains of diapers that piled up at my house smelled just as bad as the ones at yours!) Perhaps, that answer lies with the fact that I am fully aware that they are not perfect, and I donít expect them to be! (And, thankfully, most of the time, they extend the same courtesy to me!) I count it a blessed privilege to be their mom, and an honor to have been esteemed worthy of the stewardship of their young lives.
So, by todayís standards, does that make me weird, or what? Why do parents seem so obsessed with mimicking the flimsy standards of the world? The substance of our very lives is being eaten away by the modern-day plague of greener grass syndrome.
Any parent who finds themselves constantly "fed up" with their children, dreading each new day as sheer drudgery to be merely endured, feeling angry and resentful about the "sacrifices" they are making in order to fulfill their parental role, or jealous of the "freedom" in which others who have simply bailed out on their parental responsibilities may indulge, needs to take serious inventory. That parent doesnít need self-help books, escape retreats, or extensive counseling -- that parent needs an old-fashioned revival born out of genuine repentance!
Practically speaking, we canít receive the tender comfort and loving instruction found in the gentle, open arms of our Heavenly Father when we come kicking and screaming, pouring out and endless stream of complaints, and flailing against His faithful attempts to reach us! In order to obtain any lasting measure of success in this life, we must acquire and maintain a right and Godly perspective of our daily lives as He would have us to live. We need to see things Godís way and through His eyes.
Some parents feel inadequate for the task of homeschooling. While I did not pursue formal education beyond the ninth grade, at the same time, if folks can be measured by what they learn from their mistakes, I can truthfully say Iíve had a top-notch education. (Now, Iím not saying Iím proud of the fact but, frankly, more people would learn from their mistakes if the werenít so busy denying the fact that theyíve made them.) The point is, you can overcome your past failures or present challenges and "can do all things through Christ" because He will give you the strength (Philippians 4:13).
Perhaps the enemy has tricked you into believing that your circumstances are too difficult. Maybe your husband (or wife, or family, or church, or...) doesnít support your desire to homeschool. Maybe youíre a single parent. You may have children living in open rebellion. Perhaps, youíve left a good paying job and are now struggling to make ends meet on a single income. You may be limited by physical disability, long-term illness, or a difficult pregnancy. Perhaps youíre being threatened by local officials regarding your decision to teach your children at home. Believe me, Iím no stranger to problems such as these and am fully aware that they are no laughing matter!
This book has not been written by or about the perfect homeschooling family. Rather, it contains the simple testimony and practical advice of a veteran homeschooling single mother who successfully raised six children as she invested her life in full-time service to the Lord while trusting Him to provide for their needs and hold their family together against enormous odds. It was written for those who would like to homeschool but think they canít, "because..." It was written for those who have homeschooled for several (even many) years, yet have somehow lost their vision and focus -- maybe even having become so discouraged that they have completely forgotten why they ever thought they wanted to homeschool their children in the first place!
We chose a 31-chapter devotional format to make it simple to profitably assimilate the contents of this book in manageable segments while taking full advantage of the opportunity to carefully and deeply assess various aspects of their walk with God -- and their approach to parenting and homeschooling -- in light of pertinent Scriptures.
The fact of the matter is, there is no situation that any one of us are facing, that the grace of our God, as evidenced by the truth of His Word, is not sufficient to cover and redeem. Regardless of the problems you face, that is the uncompromising message of hope that you will find on the pages of this book.
So, if youíre looking for a friend who will challenge and encourage you to press toward the mark, and will not allow you to settle for anything less than Godís absolute best for your life, youíve come to the right place! Hopefully, you can wholeheartedly say along with me...
Praise God! Iím a homeschooling parent!
© 2005 Wisdomís Gate. All Rights Reserved.
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