Can I Homeschool?

When people ask me how long I’ve been homeschooling, I stutter and a look of confusion flashes over my face for a moment before I finally answer the question they are really asking:  “Um, well, let’s see, I’ve been homeschooling for five years…”

I’m sure my conversation partner is left wondering why I can’t answer this simple question, but the fact of the matter is, I’ve been homeschooling my children since they were born and if you’re a parent, you have too, haven’t you?  The moment you first held your child in your arms, his or her education began and yours continued on in a very new format.  Those early years of teaching your children that they are safe and loved, that reaching out to touch the stove is going to result in a hand swat, or worse, a burn, and that the world doesn’t completely turn around their every whim: that is home education at its earliest. 

After the sleepless infant months begins the arduous toddler education.  As delightful as chubby smiles and grubby fingers are, the few toddler years are exhausting and frankly, not very rewarding most of the time. There are still diapers, there are potty accidents on the floor, there are the fears that you are doing it all wrong, there is hitting and biting, and there are tantrums.  Oh yes, there are tantrums- your own too.  But in the midst of it all, the education begun in the first place continues:  you are safe, you are loved, you may not, you must… but the lisped words begin to form and there it comes: “I love you, Mommy” and “DADDY’S HOME!” and there are delights that sustain through the hard moments.

As your oldest child’s fifth birthday looms nearer, the questions begin:  What will the next stage hold? Where will the next twelve years take us?  Will we get it right? Maybe you went forward with confidence, knowing exactly what you wanted and how you were going to get there, but chances are good that you probably wrestled with self-doubt and skepticism from others— regardless of where you planned for your children to receive the next bulk of their education.  

But whether you decided to homeschool or your child attended kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and on, you continued to train them at home too:  you are safe, you are loved, you may not, you must.  Home education.  It is a job you are uniquely qualified for, to teach and educate the child placed in your arms from birth or placed in your home as an older child, or whenever a child becomes your responsibility to care for and love as your own - you are called to educate them in the way they should go through life - the right path as determined by God, that is, the life of belief in Christ Jesus. 

This is the very essence of true education.

My distinction and joy in home education is this: as the children grow older I have time available that is dedicated to the great privilege of setting before them great ideas as well as establishing habits that lead to health and wholeness.  The continuity of instruction (not just intellectual knowledge but also in moral habits and the understanding of God’s love and kindness) is possible because it is in line with what our family values from the earliest years:  what I understand God’s word and His world has to teach us.  We change and grow together we mutually teach each other what the right paths are… you are safe, you are loved, you may not, you must.

Many people have told me they “could never” homeschool and seem to attribute superhuman strength to the homeschool moms they know.  So here I address the question that new homeschool moms usually wrestle with:  Am I qualified to home educate my children? or, put another way, Can I really do this? 

If you ask me this question, my answer will always be “Yes!”  Yes, yes, yes!  You are qualified! In fact, you are already educating your children in other facets of life!  **

However, you are not qualified to do it alone or in a vacuum, just as we are not qualified to do anything in life alone. You are not qualified to do it perfectly.  But aren’t those things are true of parenthood anyway? and home education is basically an extension of child-rearing as your children grow and need more nourishing food for their minds and bodies. 

I have been thinking often about my journey of “trusting the process” and hope to write about that soon, since I think it connects to the topic above 

**Note:  There are other questions you might ask me, namely, “Should I homeschool?” and I’m never going to answer this question for you or anyone but myself.  Homeschooling isn’t the best for every family, every child, every mom, every life circumstance. There are far too many variables and I’m completely comfortable praising and recognizing the beauty that can be brought in a traditional classroom by excellent teachers.  But as to whether you can homeschool, my answer will be yes.  You are definitely qualified, and, I’d argue, uniquely qualified for the educating and training of the children the Lord has put in your care. 


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