Today was the second week of homeschool at our home. Sorta makes me start sweating just typing that. Yep, we are a homeschool family for the right now. There are lots of reasons, prayers uttered to God for guidance, and uncertainty that remains. But we are forging ahead and trusting God to help us. After returning from Africa and realizing we had missed every and all deadlines for Chicago Public Schools selective enrolments and after many frustrating attempts to visit schools around our home we began to think through other alternatives. Homeschooling came up almost relentlessly. Much to my initial dismay. At first I laughed it off. After all I am a former Chicago Public Teacher and believe in public education; however flawed, because I stand behind the teachers who are overworked and under-appreciated and firmly believe in the power to make a difference that compassionate and devoted parents wield. But there was a lack of peace as we thought about Anni’s education during this season. We realized how much traveling our family would be doing this year and missing weeks of school did not seem feasible. We checked into and visited a couple private schools and still did not feel that it fit. We met more folks that homeschool and began to actually consider it.
But honestly I had to face a lot of my own stereotypes of “people who homeschool.” You know the ones; the kids are weird, the parents are control freaks who don’t trust the ‘big, bad world.” As I prayed about it I sensed that maybe God is asking me yet again not to judge. Not to assume I have it all figured out and to trust that as He calls me to something He will equip me. That maybe when you cannot see that far ahead of you, you just walk forward where you can see.
We finally felt peace in deciding to homeschool Anni. For now. I can only handle thinking about things 6 months at a time. And since that decision it has been confirmed for us personally in many ways. Annikah is an amazing kid who is dealing with a lot right now and exhibiting some signs of PTSD possibly from our accident and maybe because she left everything she knew as home and is starting over. I feel her.
God does not always call us to the most difficult, most “hardcore” thing just because it is rough. That would be trying to bring about our own sanctification. Like screaming “Hey Jesus, look at me and all this really hard stuff I’m doing for you.” And that is lame. Especially considering I would have nothing to show for my life considering I try; however imperfectly, to model my life after the One who “made himself nothing humbling himself to the point of death.” It is also ironic that for me this decision is actually in some ways very difficult. I am dying to self a bit more by being at home and teaching but we feel the need to be there for her even though my natural tendency is to “get busy” and try to just function. It is easier than walking through it all. But we feel like this is a time where we need to close ranks a bit and help each other adjust to this new life.
This is not a decision based on protecting my daughter from the big bad scary urban public school. I know Jesus is in those schools. Jesus was with her when she went to her school in Africa and that was at first a challenging difficult endeavour but also a sweet and special time. It is not about running from something but rather for us about embracing something for a time. We sense there will be many different educational situations in our future and we must be open to seeking Him first and giving up “our plans.”
I want my girls to know that no matter where they go Jesus is with them. But to teach that I have to live it.
As always I am realizing that usually when I think I really have something figured out I need to be open for God to change the game plan starting with my sin. That where there is pride, self sustaining skills, and a know it all attitude He wants to break that apart for my good and His Glory. That even though I feel thoroughly unprepared for what lies ahead I know I can trust that He will show up. That like many decisions in life there are many ways to follow Him and instead of trying to make the right decision we need to seek Him above that perfect situation and ask Him for the journey He has for us. So yes, we are that family for now and constantly adding to the list of things I thought I would never do. I guess that list should become smaller as my willingness to submit to whatever God asks of me grows.
So here is to week two and counting. Less tears today too. I think because after learning about India we headed out to Devon Ave. for an impromptu shopping session in preparation for the Indian grub we are planning to cook up and eat with our hands. We had a blast trying to find all the ingredients and meeting some Indian folks and Anni even found some cookies from the Middle East she used to buy in Africa. There are some definite benefits to this homeschool gig.
Off to cook,