From Fear to Fear or from Faith to Faith?

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I got into a discussion yesterday about home schooling.  It began with the statement (as best I recall), “People home school from a position of fear.”  Being just about finished with defending my position to people who are coming at me from a position of judgment (never having homeschooled themselves, and perhaps wanting to justify putting their kids in the cesspool or should I say “government indoctrination camps” which are also known, unbelievably, as schools), I was perhaps a little more direct than usual.

I agreed that yes, many people do homeschool from a position of fear, from a defensive posture.  But, as I pointed out, they are still, more often than not, quite successful at turning out hard-working, independent-thinking, quality citizens.  I wish I’d said what my husband John said this morning when I talked it over with him.  “They may begin from a position of fear, their feet may tremble as they step out in faith, but they begin.  They step out.”

I am sorry for the myriad of Christians who will someday have to defend that “Let them be salt and light in the public schools” nonsense.  As John said, “You think a five-year-old (or 15-year-old) is going to stand against an institution controlled by an entity who was once God’s right hand man, an entity with thousands of years of experience to perfect his craft of stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10)?”

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And anyway, I ask, how is that working for you?  As John said when I discussed the mental cruelty my granddaughter is receiving in public school (supposedly one of the “best” school systems in her state) John reminded me, “Oh, but she’s being properly socialized.”  I forcibly turned my thoughts away from all the other negatives she’s experiencing in the name of “education.”

The reasons to get your children out of the public school system are numerous, and I won’t go into them right now.  But I do want to come back to that fear assertion.  Perhaps it was fear on this man’s part that prevented him from home schooling –  fear of being ridiculed, criticized, outright persecuted.  Fear of not going along with the crowd, perhaps even fear of his own pastor’s opinion, or whoever it was that first fed him that “salt and light” malarky.

 

Fear.  Maybe it first gained a stronghold in his mind via his childhood training in following the crowd, in trying to fit in, in wanting to be accepted, popular, “cool” like everyone else.  Indeed, perhaps he is just another victim of the public school system, where we all (most of us at least) learned: not to rock the boat, to color inside the lines, and to judge.  To fear.

II Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Don’t take my word for it, don’t take anyone else’s word against it:  Get God’s opinion, and remember He said “Train up your child,” NOT, “Send them out for someone else to indoctrinate.”

Twice in the last week I have heard how women who don’t have college degrees aren’t “qualified” to home school.  Faith and Love, not pieces of paper given to 22-year-olds with no children and in many cases, even less than no wisdom, is what qualifies and equips us to train our children.

Faith in the One who made your child, and who chose you as the parent, faith working through love – that’s your ticket.  YOU’RE IT!  YOU CAN DO IT, AND DO IT BRILLIANTLY!  I like to turn the long-ago spoken words of a school board member around. When my dad asked why we (my brother and I) weren’t learning anything, he was told, “We don’t need no smartass city dude tellin’ us how to run our school.”  Newsflash:  WE DON’T NEED NO SMARTASS SCHOOL TELLIN’ US HOW TO RAISE OUR KIDS.

Does the very thought of even thinking about homeschooling make you sweat and gulp?  That probably means it’s time for you to get off the fear merry-go-round and get on the faith train.  What a journey it’s going to be!

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Beautiful Outlaw – A Book for all Reasons

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One of the many beauties of home education is the time to read, and to share great books.  When I bought John Eldredge’s Beautiful Outlaw for my son Benjamin, I wasn’t worried about his not reading it.  Even if he didn’t read it, someone at our house would.  This I knew from experience.

Not only did Benjamin read the book, and quote from it often, he urged me to read it.  I don’t think I’m unique in liking to pick my own books, and being somewhat resistant when people insist I read something.  But since Benjamin is not the insistent sort, and because I know John Eldredge can be trusted, I picked up the book.

I would breeze through it, job done.  Wrong.  I savored this book–reading a bit and smiling and stopping to consider.  As I neared the book’s end, I slowed down.  I didn’t want this journey with John Eldredge and Jesus to end.

What a privilege to, if you will, have a conversation with a free thinker.  A radically Christian radical.

When a book speaks to an 18-year-old young man as well as to his mother, there’s something going on.  When I love a book, yet can’t quite bring myself to part with it, there’s something going on.  And when a book changes and clarifies my thinking in a way that electrifies my joy in Christ, well, I just have to rave.

School by the Creek

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One day, a few years back, Seth and Rebekah asked to go to the creek and “do school later”.  I said they could go, paper and pencil in hand, and to bring back something they’d written–a story, a thought, a drawing, poetry.

Here is Seth’s offering:

I have a cathedral of willows over my head

The sound of the creek in my ears,

A hoodie under my back.

I will try not to fall in the creek.

Ack!

All this comfort, all this wonder,

I’ve claimed a little nook.

Yet all the while I wish I’d brought a book.

Rebekah wrote me a love letter, and some of her thoughts, as well as this “Spring Poem”:

The creek laughs happily over stones

I hear birdsong and breezes.

But something else is talking –

Tis neither wind nor birdsong nor the creek.

Tis Spring.

School in the Trees

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Remember field trips–the best part of school?  It didn’t matter where you went, just that you got to go outside!

Since the kids were small I have seized opportunities to go outside–school on a quilt in the back yard; school as we pulled the littlest child on the biggest quilt in the red wagon.  We didn’t call it school as we ate dusty blackberries picked from the roadside to enjoy as we read Timothy Tattercoat by Maryel Chaney.

But oh, the lessons learned. Years later we didn’t call it school when we climbed and scooted and grunted our way to the top of the tallest rocks in the mountains behind our house, and stood reaching for the sky and talking of dreams.

I certainly don’t call it school when I demonstrate the ultimate in relaxation.  Sometimes, no matter how enthralling the book I’ve chosen to read on my quilt atop an aspen leaf/pine needle carpet, I fall asleep in the sunrays shining through the trees.  Whiling away afternoons celebrating the short but glorious Rocky Mountain summer is a lesson in, well, does it always have to be a lesson?

There is nothing difficult about any of this “schooling” – watching butterlies and humming forgotten tunes, telling stories of my childhood, experiencing my children. Perhaps more than wondering what the lesson is for my children, I should consider the message:  Life is wonderful.