After homeschooling my nine children for twenty-seven years (and counting), I ask myself why did I do it? Why did I homeschool when my sixth child was born with laryngotrachealbronchomalacia (that word is not in Wordly Wise!) and required a respirator for the first ten months of his life, then continued with a trachoesotomy for another eight months? Why did I homeschool when at the age of three my seventh child was run over by a golf cart, crushing all three bones in his left leg and requiring a hip spica cast and later long cast for months during the middle of the school year? Why did I homeschool when my ninth and last child was born in January with Downs Syndrome and a major heart defect, barely surviving numerous disastrous events? I believe it is incumbent upon us to understand why we do this thing called homeschooling so that when life gets tough, we can hang on for the ride! To understand our reasons for Homeschooling.
So I thought a good reason for homeschooling was to impart a biblical worldview. This is true, of course. Then I realized my children could have attended a Christian private school and maybe even received better biblical instruction than what we could give. Maybe even in a public school, they could have risen up like Joshuas because we took advantage of the few hours left in the day to disciple them. So many times I felt I failed in this department when we forgot to even pray, rushed through a Bible study, or no one remembered his/her Bible verse, or when my children watched my totally depraved behavior on occasion.
I also thought a good reason for homeschooling was to provide every academic opportunity out there for college scholarships and career opportunities and with the highest level of excellence possible. This is true, of course. Then I realized my children might have other ideas about their futures and about levels of excellence. They might even have different levels of academic skills; some may be “artsy” while others may be “mathy” or “sciencey”. I tell my friends I had children who were in the “book a day” club, a “book a week” club, a “book a month” club, and the “book a year” club and from the same parents! I also realized that when life gets tough as in the above situations, even a level of excellence might need to be adjusted. When I tube fed the sixth baby every 2-3 hours, adjusted oxygen levels, suctioned a tracheostomy every fifteen minutes, assured that the respirator was still functioning properly, met with other caregivers and therapists, and traveled to multiple doctors’ offices sometimes in one week, life became very basic and so did our homeschool efforts.
Someone else might be able to impart a better biblical worldview or provide better academic opportunities, but as I look back, no one else and nothing else could impart the sense of family that years of slugging it out at home together could provide. That sense of family (along with that biblical worldview) has won the day so many times in the lives of our family members. Instead of walking out of the house every day to various schools with unresolved conflict, we worked through it immediately. Instead of the children listening to other children’s conflict with their parents or siblings for hours on end, they heard “Don’t return evil for evil, but give a blessing instead” and “Honor your parents that your days may be long upon the earth” (literally). Instead of leaving sick siblings at home for the better part of their day, my children helped me care them. We all call the special boys “the professors.” The les sons they learned at the feet of the professors beat the lessons in any textbook any day. We worked together and then the day was still long enough to play together. I treasure the comraderie my adult children enjoy as they love to be together, to laugh and cry together, to play and work together. I am grateful every day for the “sense” of family that won over the temptations to rebel, to be angry, and to walk away. Being a meaningful, contributing part of our family has, thus far, been important to each of our children. Now I’m sure there were other contributions to this “sense”, but I am confident homeschooling played the biggest role, especially in a family this size.
Nevertheless, the bottom line has been God’s calling on my life. When I heard the word “homeschooling” for the first time, I also heard the still small voice of Holy Spirit nudging me. I knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Scriptures affirmed homeschooling with “teach them [God’s commands} diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7).” I just didn’t know how I could do this if someone else had my children for the better part of their day. Plus what He calls us to do, He will give all of the resources necessary. He did!
Carlotta Jackson has been homeschooling her children for over 25 years, and still going strong with her youngest. You can read more about Mrs. Jackson in her previous blog posts:
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