Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eight Lies We Tell Ourselves as Homeschoolers


As Christians, we encourage our children to embrace good, moral values. To promote such growth, many homeschooling families include a study of character traits in their children’s education. We value things like truth and honesty. We teach our children to speak the truth in all things. So why do we tell ourselves lies related to homeschooling? Those lies sabotage our efforts and cripple our confidence!

Let’s look at eight “popular” lies that we tell ourselves.

1. If I don’t take my kids on 692 field trips and sign them up for every sport, art class, and club available, they won’t grow up to be well-rounded adults and might even miss God’s calling!

This is crazy talk, but we fall for it. When my children were little, we went on several field trips a month and participated in two to three sports a year. They had club activities and church activities as well. For homeschoolers, we certainly didn’t spend much time at home! Now that they’re teenagers, I can see that I needn’t have worn myself to a frazzle on all the extras. The career that my son is pursuing doesn’t require sports experience, and he wasn’t introduced to it during one of those countless field trips. There’s nothing wrong with extracurricular activities and field trips, but there is something wrong with believing that we must do everything or risk missing something valuable. Who is in control? Will reducing our involvement in field trips cause God’s plan to collapse? Of course not, and that’s good news!

2. Because of homeschooling, my kids won’t feel drawn to worldly things and won’t rebel against authority.

Homeschooling does not create sinless children or adults. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. Your children may make choices that you don’t like. They may do the opposite of what you have taught and modeled for them. No matter how vigilant you are, you may end up feeling that you failed. Remember that you haven’t been working alone. The good news is that God has been there all along; He knows the situation, He knows your child’s heart, and He hears your prayers.

3. Homeschooling will allow me to train my kids to love chores.

It’s true that homeschooling allows us to train our kids to cook, do laundry, and master many other life skills, but that doesn’t mean that those kids will love the work. There will be whining. There will be avoiding. Some kids only want to work in a group, while others want to work alone, and still others shut themselves in the bathroom and hope no one notices that they aren’t doing their fair share. The good news is that, like it or not, the kids don’t have to love their chores to do their chores.

4. Everyone else has it all together; something is wrong with me/us.

Trust me, no one has it all together, and if someone says they do, they are lying. Someone may give off an illusion of having it all together, but we can’t see what goes on behind closed doors or know what secret problems or fears that family may have. Everyone has bad days. Everyone questions their decisions on those bad days. Everyone feels like giving up now and then. The good news is that those feelings pass.

5. Everyone should homeschool their children!

No matter how much in love you are with homeschooling, it’s not fair to suggest that you have arrived and are superior to those who haven’t. It’s disturbing to hear homeschoolers proclaiming that homeschooling is God’s only plan for Christians. It’s God’s business to call whom He will into the homeschooling life. It’s our business to hear His calling for our own family. We are not God. (That’s good news, don’t you think?)

6. I am responsible for the entire sum of my children’s education.

Yikes! Is that a burden we really want to place on ourselves? It’s also not logical. Children learn from many different sources. Neighbors, relatives, siblings, and others in the community are teaching by word and deed. Our children are like sponges, soaking up knowledge wherever they go and whatever they do. We can direct their learning, but we can’t really control it. We’re not filling a bucket, we’re lighting a fire, to borrow an idea from William Butler Yeats. We can trust God to have a plan for our children’s future. More good news!

7. If I do everything God’s way, my life will turn out “right.”

I’m the poster child for pursuing life with this lie stuck in my head. We live in a fallen world surrounded by flawed individuals. Try as we might, we cannot re-create heaven here on Earth. If we could, would we then long for heaven? Probably not. Nobody promised us that life would be fair. It’s not. The good news is that this world is not our home; we’re just a-passin’ through (to borrow a line from an old song).

8. Above all, God wants us to be happy.

That’s wishful thinking. God's desire is for you to be holy. Happiness is not our goal here on Earth. There are times when our kids demand, whine, or argue for their happiness. We wish that they would put obedience first in their lives. Yet, we turn around and in our prayers to God, we demand, whine, and argue the case for our own happiness! The good news is that there is joy in serving our Lord and living holy lives for Him.

Don’t be a slave to lies. There is freedom in the truth. Embrace it!

Happy homeschooling!

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