Time was when Ray and I were pretty desperate for daily encouragement in our own homeschool journey. In those days we carried homeschooling around on our backs like a sack of rocks. Whew!
Finally, in the summer of 1994, we had a change of heart that continues to affect our family’s life today. We decided to chill out and become homeschoolers instead of trying to do homeschooling. At that point, we had been so discouraged by the work and pressure of homeschooling that–and I hate to admit this to you–we had become homeschool dropouts. We had gotten so worn out and discouraged that we had quit. During the second year of our dropout season, our youngest child and our oldest asked us please to bring them back home. Our middle child, who was experiencing a great deal of peer pressure, was afraid she would be too weird if we started homeschooling again.
I wanted very much to homeschool again. I prayed and prayed that God would bring us all together, that He would make us all want to do the same thing. After months of prayer, in that wonderful summer of 1994, God brought us all together. Our middle child came to us like a sweet little lamb and told us she wanted to homeschool, too. I know that we could have forced her to homeschool, but that was not what I wanted. I wanted her to be with us all the way. God was so kind to give that precious gift to me.
One of our first steps that summer was to develop, write down, and adopt a family philosophy. This is what we wrote down:
We believe that we should spend our lives praying for and pursuing our goal:
That we, our children and their spouses, our grandchildren and their spouses, and every succeeding generation live as Christians on earth and live forever in Heaven with our God and with each other.
We want to live our lives working diligently for the realization of this goal with all the strength He gives us.
This new philosophy wasn’t really any different from our old philosophy. We had always wanted this for our family, but something changed because of that summer and I am profoundly grateful to God for it. We became each other’s best friends. We set out on a wonderful adventure that isn’t over yet. God gave us opportunities to live homeschooling instead of doing it.
I am sad when I think about our wilderness time in our family journey. I wish my children had never known a day of schooling any way but at home. Still, I also know that God has used our wilderness to bless us and to bless other families, too.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.