Gift and Sacrifice of Home Schooling

My husband and I took the baby and flew to Denver the other weekend. This is remarkable in part because it is very rare for us to leave the children to do anything. The occasion was the Rocky Mountain Home Educator's Conference, where I was asked to speak.

My husband is a frequent and intrepid traveler, though I daresay the next time he flies it will seem like nearly a vacation as he just spent several hours in the air occupying an eight-month-old baby. We arrived in Denver after a sleepless night, an early morning and several hours of various planes and airports. Since Mike knows Denver well, he insisted we progress on and visit some of the scenic glory of the area, lest our trip be nothing more than a hotel and adjoining conference hall.

We ate lunch in an old tavern nestled in a mining town — just the three of us. Karoline had our undivided attention, except when we were focused on each other. I snuggled her in a sling and we walked hand in hand. We breathed the mountain air and squinted to see the unique rugged beauty against the sky. We reconnected.

While I was scheduled to talk for two hours, once on Friday and once on Saturday, I actually talked more last weekend than I did in the entire two weeks prior. I listened a lot, too. I heard parents tell me that they were grateful to have finally discovered that they can relax and trust their instincts a bit more when it comes to educating their children. I heard them tell me that they are just beginning to understand that they don't need an accredited school to hold their hand — sometimes that it's not hand-holding at all, but bondage. I heard them tell me that they love nature study and they want it to be the centerpiece of education at least for a season (and who wouldn't with the Rockies out your back door?).

I heard the hard stories about trying to educate at home while being called back into the workforce. I heard from the lady who put all her children in school two years ago, following the birth of a baby, and sold all her curricular materials. The next year, she was buying all new materials, bringing them all home again, and hoping for another baby! I heard about a miscarriage that left deep and painful scars that would not heal. Those are the stories that have been committed to my rosary. And engraved on my heart.

 And what did I tell them? I looked back on my home education journey and particularly at the child who had just graduated and would leave our home and go to school for the first time when he enters the university in the fall. And, in part, I told them this:

I learned so much during Michael's adolescence. I learned at least as much as he did. I grew at least as much as he did. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that educating my children at home, being completely and totally immersed in them, is my path to sanctity. It's how God is refining me. I've finished one entire cycle of home education. One child will leave my home and go spread his wings. God knows that I need to go through this process at least seven more times before He's finished with me. And every time, it will be a little different.

In His mercy and His abundant goodness, God granted me one more year when I would have every age and stage under my roof. In the fall of Michael's final year of home education, Karoline was born. She was born to a very different mother than any of our other children. She was born to a very different me. I am in awe of her. I am trembling at the prospect of a lifetime with her. And I cannot overstate how privileged I feel at the thought of educating her.

In the course of preparing to speak and while having some rare time with my husband to reflect upon this lifestyle, I came to a deeper appreciation of what my vocation has afforded me. Endeavoring to educate one's children at home is a sacrifice, a leap of faith, a cross. But, most of all, it is a gift. A gift for which I am very grateful.

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  • Guest

    I've been homeschooling for 11 years now.  What Elizabeth says is true, but I can tell you that there is no sugar coating the immense strain put on the mother: in my case homeschooling 5 children, nurturing 3 toddlers, guiding a college student, public schooling a HS senior, all while being pregnant and making sure the kids maximize their God given athletic and musical talents!

    The stress level is almost unbearable at times, as many of us freely admit.  I always tell people that one must be called to homeschool in order to persevere in Grace. 

    Years ago I attended a homeschooling conference with the intention of homeschooling my kids.  I walked into a cavernous room filled wall to wall with vendors and literally I turned around completly overwhelmed.  The kids went to Cathoic school!

    Two years later a friend said to me, "We'll make a homeschooler out of you yet!"  I replied, "No way, it's not for me."  God does have a sense of humor because within two weeks I had a St Paul –On the Road to Damascus experience.  While watching my kids doing some summer project I had arranged at the kitchen table, I felt an angel throw me against the wall.  God spoke into my heart and said, "You will homeschool and I will show you how."

    I have clung to that moment ever since.  He has also assured me, in the quiet of my soul, that, "My grace will suffice." (as in God's grace).

    And it has….well, I must sign off…..a box from Seton just arrived.  I can't wait to investigate what I ordered.  Plus, who doesn't love the smell of new books!

  • Guest

    I don't know if the comments section can be used for this, mkochan may just post 'no you can't spice'.

    I've browsed the Seton catalogue once & my heart was full, however, with the already prohibitive cost of textbooks for our schools (West Indies) I couldn't consider additional purchases. I 'm interested in 2nd, 3rd etc. hand books in essay writing skills. Thank you for the word on trusting our instincts, I needed it in particular in helping my first teen. Our children ages range 13 – 8.

    Thank you & God bless.

  • Guest

    If you post your email, I will contact you and see about getting you materials.  My kids and I are cleaning the "schoolhouse" at this moment and I am culling my materials.

  • Guest

    Spice, never hesistate to let others know of your needs. Some of the people reading this may even be members of groups where you could get more support and assistance. I don't know if you have the capability of printing, but there may be downloadable materials you could use also to which you might be directed. God bless your efforts to assist your children despite your economic limitations.

  • Guest

    Thank you VERY MUCH! I wrote the 1st words & I had to pause as I saw the hand of Divine Providence. Thank you elkabrikir & mkochan. You've encouraged me to reach out directly to a single mother instead of through a 3rd person.


    Let us "…encourage each other while it is still today."