I sat in the school office, still a little in shock at what was happening.
I looked at the desk in front of me and glanced again at the papers covered with my signature.
Am I doing the right thing? Is this what you want from us, God? I asked.
The school registrar sauntered back into the room, her arms heaped with books. “Here you go!” she said, smiling and dumping her huge pile on the desk in front of us. “We’re so excited to have you start tomorrow!”
My twelve-year-old smiled back at her. “Thanks. It will be great,” he said.
It will, I thought. It will.
The decision to move our son from a full-time to a part-time homeschooling situation seemed to have happened rather quickly. And honestly? It was something that I’d told myself we’d never do.
But then… the Lord stepped in. Bit by bit, I had watched him unravel what had been our tried-and-true homeschooling systems and routines. And His hands—slowly, gently—had begun pressing on some very tender areas in our parenting and in our family life overall.
Reassessing. Changing. Questioning. Forcing us to ask: Are the ways we’ve always done things still working?
The answer was a resounding—and very scary!—no.
When we are faced with such a conundrum—when the core elements of family and homeschool life are limping along instead of walking boldly into the future—this is the moment when we must decide two things:
- First, who is in charge of this homeschooling thing (is it really my husband and I)?;
- Second, is our current methodology or way of doing things truly benefitting the kids (even if it is a “good” way of schooling, or even if it was working a few months ago)?
Answering these two questions leads to the most important question:
Are we willing to change things up—even in a dramatic way—should God ask us to?
These are not easy questions to answer… or to (truth be told) face honestly. Because none of us (especially we Type A, organized, planner types) want to admit that we aren’t in control.
And truly, it would have been much easier if we could’ve just kept on plugging away at what we were doing (and to not be flexible).
What we were doing was comfortable. It was all figured out (and we’d already bought the books and supplies!).
But would it have been best for us? Would we have ended up where we wanted to go with our kids?
My heart couldn’t say yes to that question. I felt the tension. I heard the Spirit’s gentle voice telling me that things weren’t right.
So we began begging God (imploring him, actually)… pouring out our hearts to him with tears flowing: “What needs to change?“
And so, here we were several weeks later… sitting in the school registrar’s office and launching into a brand new homeschooling situation.
Yes, we were walking into the unknown, and yes, it was scary.
But we were walking with confidence again because we knew we were walking hand-in-hand into this new situation with the King of all Kings (and with the king of our homeschool).
Real, Everyday, Spirit-Led Homeschooling
Perhaps you’re not facing such a dramatic situation in your homeschool today. I’ve found that most homeschool days are much more even—simply continuing on the path that the Lord has clearly laid out.
Nevertheless, spirit-led homeschooling is still a part of the everyday. In fact, it is the essential element of the everyday homeschool life.
Consider these verses from Joshua 1:1-9:
After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
According to this verse, when God calls us to a huge task (um… parenting and homeschooling, anyone?) we have two active roles: first, to meditate on God’s word day and night so that we may be able to obey whatever He tells us to do; and second to be strong and courageous in our actions because we know that God is with us wherever we go.
What does this look like in the everyday? Of course we all are given different circumstances and God gives us each unique directions/purposes.
But for me, daily spirit-led homeschooling simply looks like regularly spending time in prayer and Bible reading (listening for his overall direction for me and interceding for loved ones); and then inviting Him into my everyday homeschooling life with in-the-moment questions like:
- “Should I ask my kids to do more in this subject? Is this challenging them to a new level, or will it crush their spirit?”
- “What is the true teachable moment here? Is it really the history lesson that we’re going through?
- “Should I follow this rabbit trail of learning, or do we need to tune our learning focus elsewhere for today?”
And of course, God is there to carry me through those continual ongoing (but still incredibly difficult and trying) mothering moments that are so deeply intertwined with homeschooling. In her wonderfully refreshing and transparent style, my friend Kacy Clark of Under the Farmhouse Roof writes it this way:
Most of our days go as follows…
5 minutes of good, encouraging, joy-filled…
5 minutes of bickering, instruction, yelling, making it right, praying, starting over…
5 minutes of, “I can do this, I’m thankful for this, I LOVE this…
5 minutes of “What were you thinking Lord, giving me all these children?? I’m inadequate, unable… crying, breathing, praying…”
Most days I feel completely unequipped to the enormous call before me (especially when the path looks uncomfortable and definitely not safe).
But then I remember his promises:
I will never leave you. I will be guiding you. Just stay close to me, listen to me and trust me.
His confidence, His leading, His peace: these things give my feeble heart the courage to take that first step.
And the longer I know Him (and see Him proven true over and over) those steps of faith become easier and easier to take.