P.S. If this post looks all squishy and weird to you, you aren’t alone. I can’t seem to do anything about it. It’s not how I wrote it. It’s not how it looks on the editing page. I guess maybe something to be expected encouraging Jesus Month…Be praying for me and EP!
Last week I posted Part 1 of No-Regret Homeschooling. Last week and this week are things I’ve spoken about in interviews I’ve done but haven’t gotten on the site before. Today’s is about after we make the decision to homeschool and stepping into it.
Moving Forward with No Regrets
After we make the decision to homeschool, insecurities start to creep in. Yes, we love our children, but is that enough? I’m not a teacher. I don’t get math. I am already busy. Won’t it cost a lot to do it well? What if I can’t do it? What if what I have to give my child isn’t enough?
Here comes our next step towards no-regret homeschooling. We need to make a decision on how to approach homeschooling. We can’t let panic force us into a wrong choice here. We need to choose with the confidence we built with our choice to homeschool in the first place.
The fear decision would be to imitate what the schools do, the fear being that your child will get behind and not learn what the kids in school are learning. This leads to desks in rows, thick overpriced textbooks, very expensive online schools, intensive all-day online programs, and other such stress-inducing options.
The fear is that what you offer your child might be somehow less than what they would get in school. But, remember, you’ve already decided that what they have to offer in school isn’t what you want for your child. If school is what you wanted for your child, you’d send them there. If you’ve already decided not to send your child to school, why would you want to replicate it?
Then there is the self-doubt, looking at others and comparing them to yourself. These other homeschoolers have their stuff together. Their kids are so accomplished. The fear-based decision would be to just imitate them, hoping to replicate their children’s success. While there’s nothing wrong with gleaning wisdom from those who have gone before, there’s a big problem with just doing what others are doing simply because you don’t want to take responsibility for the decision yourself.
We have to deal with the underlying fear of the responsibility of educating your children. Educating your children is not separate from parenting them. We love them. We do our best to guide them. They ALL will make mistakes because we’re all raising humans. One mistake, one bad decision has ruined some lives, but a loving family doesn’t lose it at that point. A loving parent doesn’t have their identity wrapped up in their children. Their children’s success is a joy to them, and their failures aren’t an embarrassment, but a place to reach out in love to help them back up and on their way. Regardless of whether your child goes to Harvard or community college or skips college altogether, what they do or don’t do is not a reflection of your self-worth.
Love keeps no record of wrong doing. Love doesn’t hold anything your child does against them. Love forgives. Love keeps its arms open. Love doesn’t say, “After all I did for you…” Love says, “I would do it all again.”
So, let’s look at the flip side of deciding how we will approach homeschooling: the love-based decision. You love your child. You know your child best. You know your family. Your decision as to how you will approach homeschooling will be as unique as your child and your family.
I like to say that homeschooling is just an extension of parenting. You have been teaching your child their whole life. You taught them their first words. You taught them what a tree was. You taught them how to use utensils. You’ve been teaching them all along. Why should it stop now? You were made for this.
Each family has its own unique culture. Each family is made up of different people, so each family interacts in different ways. There are some general categories such as those families who run their lives by schedule and enjoy each day being the same, and those who like adventure and flying by the seat of their pants. Some families have movie nights, and some read aloud to each other. Some families are large and have lots of extended family nearby for lots of gatherings, and some are small and spend most of their time by themselves.
We like to categorize everything like that, but the truth is life isn’t that neat and orderly. We’re all a mix of lots of different things. And that mix in each of us as humans mixes with the mix in the other humans we live with, creating our family secret sauce that no one else has.
Your parenting is unique. No one else’s home is just like yours. It can’t be. It’s made up of different people. You may have things in common with them, but you have different families. You have different traditions, customs, not just big things like holidays, but the day-to-day traditions and customs. Do you rise early without an alarm and open the kids’ bedroom doors with a song on your lips to wake and ready them for the day? Do you drag out of bed on the fourth snooze after your kids are already up and cerealed and watching TV?
We all do things differently. My family sits down together for a homemade breakfast each morning, but lunchtime is a free-for-all-survival-style-every-man-for-himself experience. To each his own.
Our families are different. Our parenting is different. Each relationship is unique, so the parents’ relationship with each child is different, even within the same family. People are unique. You are unique. Your kids are unique. Your family is unique. Your parenting is unique to you, and your homeschooling will be unique to you.
That’s the point of all that. Be your own homeschoolers. Just like we don’t want to look to the school and copy that, we don’t want to look to others to copy them. They aren’t you. They will never be you. Their kids are not yours. You don’t want your kids to be their kids. You want your kids to be themselves. Let your kids be themselves and don’t try to push them into someone else’s mold.
I hope you can agree that you want your kids to be raised to be all they can be, not all that someone else has decided they should be, including you. Love your kids enough to want them to grow into who they were created to be, not your idea of who they should be.
We need to be clear on our love motivation. We can’t let selfishness creep in and start looking at ourselves. We need to make sure we’re free of those self-doubts and insecurities that say my kid’s success in the eyes of the world determines my worth.
We need to homeschool out of love. Love is selfless.
We can homeschool without regret because our motivation is love and love never fails.
Want to read more?
Here’s the full pdf to download for FREE, No-Regret Homeschooling.
Below is the first part to a mini ebook I wrote on No-Regret Homeschooling. If you know someone waffling on the decision to homeschool, consider sharing this resource with them to encourage them.
Making the No-Regret Decision to Homeschool
This isn’t going to be long because this doesn’t have to be complicated. You are thinking about homeschooling, so you already have reasons to consider it. Or maybe you’ve already decided it’s what you want to do, but aren’t fully convinced it’s what you should do. Many reasons that push families to homeschool are fear-based: fear over what they are teaching at schools, fear over how your child has been or might be treated, fear over violence, and now fear over disease spreading through schools.
I want to offer you a different perspective. Personally, I always want to avoid any fear-based decision. I don’t want fear ruling my life. I want my life ruled by love instead. I want you to look at the decision to homeschool from the perspective opposite of fear– one of love.
Who loves your child more, you or the state? Homeschooling is a simple decision when you look at it from the perspective of love. No one loves your child more than you do. No one is going to care about your child more than you do.
Yes, there are awesome teachers out there that care about their students and are experts in their field, but they can’t ever care about your child the way you do. No matter how dedicated they are, they can’t tailor their day and their curriculum to fit your child. They can’t know your child the way you do.
You, however, even if you have multiple children and other demands, are more equipped to adapt and mold your child’s education in the way that’s best for them.
Curriculum standards are one-size-fits-all, but we know each child is different. Each human is unique, even identical twins. School could never give them the love and care that you can.
If you decide to homeschool out of love, then you will not fail your child. Love never fails. That’s a timeless truth. If you are homeschooling out of fear, you could fail. If your only motivation is to keep them away from school and not to provide and support your child’s education, then your child will be at a loss.
Getting that “why” down will be the most important step towards no-regret homeschooling. Homeschool your children simply because you love them. That love will never change, so your motivation will never change. There won’t be waffling in your decision.
It’s pretty simple to feel confident that you love your children more than the state does. You can apply the same confidence towards anyone who questions your decision to homeschool. You can shrug it off without offense. While they may care about your family, you can know that they don’t love your child as much as you do. No one else has that parent-child bond with your child.
*Deciding to send your child to school is not a sign of not loving your child. But, if that’s your decision, make it out of love and not fear!
Read the next part
- Over the years at different times we’ve offered Just for Fun classes. They are FREE one-hour Zoom meetings on a topic, typically about other countries or languages. If we have a good turnout, we’ll try to do more over the summer. We usually say ages 8 and up for these things. Feel free to attend as a family. Parents are welcome.
- The topic for this Just for Fun class is Old English. Our British Literature students have had some introduction to Old English. Beowulf is discussed lots in the Old English class.
- These classes are taught by my husband, known as Mr. G. One of our sons, Peter, joined him this time. Mr. G occasionally pops up in the curriculum. Your child might have seen him in one of the poetry videos, or maybe in a video on verbs or fractions.
Internships In Conservation
Each year, NYBG places 25–30 post-graduate, undergraduate, and high school interns in its diverse programs in plant science. Working directly with Garden scientists and their technical teams, interns participate in cutting-edge research in systematic botany, molecular phylogenetics, structural botany, genomics, bioinformatics, geographic information systems, and economic botany. Internships offer a taste of the culture of plant research, allow students to explore their interests in science, and provide excellent educational experiences to include in resumes.
Goddard Institute For Space Studies
Becoming a NASA Intern is a highly competitive process, where you’ll have the chance to work on cutting-edge research and receive mentor ship from current NASA employees. Internships can be completed during the Fall, Spring, or Summer, and spaces for high school students are limited to select centers.
To qualify, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or an unweighted 3.0 GPA). You can apply here, and you’ll need to make sure you have a strong letter of recommendation.
Student Historian Internship Program
Use the resources of New-York Historical to conduct exciting research and share stories that aren’t well represented in our history books today—through creative digital projects. Meet with professional staff to learn about careers in the museum and history fields; work collaboratively with fellow interns to develop public speaking and leadership skills; and engage in hands-on work to deepen your understanding of American history and art.
Open to: High school students, entering grades 10, 11, or 12.
On a side note, if your child is interested in a local business, your child could ask them if they would be interested in an intern. Let them know if the expectation is to work for free or for a low wage. My daughter (college student) works as an intern at a stained glass workshop. She has very flexible hours and can stop and then start again as school demands, and I’m sure they are happy she gets paid a fraction of what their full-time employees make. They’ve already offered full time for when she finishes school. I don’t think she’ll want to do that, but it’s certainly a way in the door of some place your child is interested in.
Reading/Bible Study Group on The King Will Make a Way
I hope that you will join me weekdays 11:00 AM (Eastern, -5 GMT). Daily, I will be reading a chapter of my novel, The King Will Make a Way, and then leading a little discussion. You can come with questions, and I have a reading/Bible study guide that I think we’ll use.
This study is for adults, but feel free to join as a family. The book, though, is not for young children; there are many deaths. It is read in Level 7 of the EP curriculum. Let’s say ages ten and up.
You don’t have to read the book ahead of time; you can just listen.
You can find links and updates on meeting dates here. We’re doing this November/December 2020.
I want to encourage you who call yourselves followers of Christ to take the month of September and consider it even as you would an advent season, maybe fasting in some way, maybe giving extra time to devotions.
Our family is going to be setting aside an hour each day. We’ll be going through a Bible study of Matthew that I’ve prepared and praying for our country and the church.
When I made the miracle videos, I kept saying that all we needed was to know our Father. If we knew our good Father, then we would know His love for us, and if we knew how much He loved us, then we would love Him back and the love would overflow into love for others.
Since Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, I thought studying the life of Christ would teach us about who God is so that we could get to know our Father God better.
Whether you use the study or not, I would still encourage you to really seek after the Lord. We need our eyes off the world and onto Jesus. We need to be in love with our first love!
A song: Lord, You’re Beautiful
At the end of the month, I will break the study apart into more lessons to use it as a course. I’ve added it to the end of the Bible courses block on My EP Assignments if you want to add it as a course for the month, even making your own “student” and adding this course, just so it’s delivered to you each day.
I wanted to thank everyone for the outpouring of love during our trying week when our server crashed. Your patience and encouragement is a testament of the Love in your hearts.
Right now, we’re welcoming in a lot of children who may only be homeschooling temporarily. More people means a greater demand for money, time, and attention. I have had mama bear moments in my life, where my kids are what matters; but the reality is, every child in the world is just as valuable as mine.
It all made me think of fostering. I know EP has many foster families. A couple of our main admin, those names you’d recognize if you ever spent time in our support group, are foster parents. They’ve adopted through the foster system. One adopted three last year and is fostering an infant and toddler right now. Those children are supposed to go back to the mother. It is possible the current situation might just be temporary. But that doesn’t change the fact those children need love and attention right now. It doesn’t make them any less deserving of what other children receive. And it certainly doesn’t make it easier in the moment.
But, you didn’t complain about the newcomers. You graciously welcomed them, despite the trouble. Although our server ended up having a multitude of problems, it was the increase in traffic that exposed it. However, it actually was a blessing to find out sooner rather than later, and we are now switched onto a new system.
When the increase in traffic was first causing trouble, our EP family rose to the occasion. You did what you could to help and offered tons of encouragement. EP users are stepping up and answering questions, guiding the newbies through the process with patience and grace.
“Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me.” Luke 9:48
Thank you for your loving, open hearts to receive these children.
I hope your kids woke up this morning and called you blessed. 🙂
I got an email asking for a graduation hoodie. We made a 2020 EP Grad design and put it up in the store. You can use the menu on the left to look through the different products. There are color choices once you go into the details on a product.
My husband and I didn’t grow up in any Christian tradition that believed you could expect miraculous healings. We prayed for the sick, but it was just a hope that the medicine, the surgeries, etc. would make them better. It wasn’t with any thought that we might open our eyes and they would be healed.
The Lord first introduced us to the idea when we had been overseas for about a year. We were newly moved into Shutka, the Roma village my husband and daughter visited with the angels. 🙂 My daughter had recently given her life to Christ (very precocious for her preschool age) and her little brother was sick. He had a fever and was just a lump on the couch. My husband called our daughter over, saying that we were going to pray for her brother. She came running over but didn’t wait for us to pray together. She just came over and said, “God, please help Joshua feel better.” My husband and I thought it was the sweetest thing we had ever seen in our whole lives. Then we realized our son had slipped off the couch and was down on the floor playing. In an instant his fever was gone and he was playing. Within another year or two, we became part of a house church in Shutka where miraculous healings were a regular thing and it grew more into our lives.
Our family has gone years without stomach bugs at all, but we’ve also seen stomach bugs, colds, etc. healed within hours, even moments. But things didn’t always happen so easily. Our one son was born in Istanbul 7 weeks early after I prayed that he would come early (because of a hard time with the pregnancy) if he could be healthy. We left the hospital after 24 hours. They couldn’t find a reason to keep him. The next child was born on time and at home in my bedroom in America.
The next was born 11 weeks early by C-section in Gaziantep. The doctors told me the day after he was born that he would die. I repeated to myself, “You will live and not die,” over and over holding onto Life and keeping my mind on things above. He is seven now, but that’s not the end of the story. They said he had a hole in his heart and would need surgery. It disappeared. They noticed his body reacting as if he was having a brain bleed. Since they had no equipment to scan his brain, they moved him to the government children’s hospital. They saw he had bleeding in his brain. He needed immediate surgery. They didn’t have the part they wanted (we later learned it was never needed), so they postponed the surgery three days in order to get the part from Istanbul, all the while his brain was getting more and more damaged. I can trust God’s sovereignty over all that and it doesn’t get me upset and frustrated.
He has what’s described as “severe” brain damage due to this brain bleed. After two months in the hospital, I noticed one day that he wasn’t hooked up to any machines. I asked if we could take him home and was told no because he had lost his sucking reflex. The doctor said they had tried a pacifier and a bottle and to prove his point put his pinky finger in my son’s mouth and he didn’t suck on it, which would be the natural reflex. Now, I knew that I had defied orders and had snuck him out of his incubator a few weeks earlier, with my husband standing guard (we weren’t even supposed to touch him), and I had nursed him that day. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I would have argued with the doctor to let me try and nurse him. I made myself a pest until he relented and let me try. He nursed for half an hour and we signed release forms to get him out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, since he refused to believe me that he really nursed. We agreed to bring him back the next day to show he wasn’t losing weight and I brought him back with a nursing blister (which is a good thing)!
Fast forward more than a year and he wasn’t eating anything, only nursing. He gagged on water. I couldn’t get him to eat even really thinned out rice cereal. This also meant he wasn’t talking yet. The lips, tongue, etc. are involved in both eating and speaking and he had lots of motor issues caused by the brain damage. But when he was around eighteen months old, one day he just reached for my chocolate milk like he wanted it, so I let him try it, and he drank it. And that was that. He could eat and drink normally from that day. He never did have rice cereal or baby food. He just went straight to regular food from not being able to even swallow water. That also means he started talking and has never needed therapy for speaking – he has always been able to speak clearly.
He is still in a wheelchair, but we do believe any day he could rise up and walk. But we still see God’s miracles in his body. In December 2018 we saw a miracle after his doctor told us he needed surgery on his hips. The one hip had deteriorated to the point of needing surgery and the other one was close, so he told us to come back in a few months so that surgery could be done on both hips at once. He told us the condition only worsens. He said it was “impossible” to improve at all. I knew that wasn’t true because I knew My Father. When we came back, both hips had reversed. He agreed it seemed like too huge a change to be accounted for by a mistake in the taking or reading of the x-ray.
I stand by my conviction that all we need to do is know God. If we really knew who He was, we’d love and obey Him, we’d love others, we’d live loved – at rest, knowing He’s good and for us and is unchanging and will never fail us. Holding firm in knowing who He is I call abiding. I sometimes think of it as being rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17). You can picture a tree with deep roots. Sometimes it’s a peaceful idyllic scene with sun and cool breeze. Sometimes there’s a storm that’s snapping branches, but either way, you, the tree, stand firm in your place, roots secure in your knowledge of God’s love for you.