There are many things about homeschooling to be grateful for. Once you’ve spent time in the homeschool community, it’s easy to see the academic benefits, but there are several things that aren’t as easy to spot. As I near the end of my homeschool journey, these things stand out to me when I think about gratitude.
Grateful for Simplicity
Choosing to homeschool meant choosing not to do a lot of other things. We had to set aside things for the sake of time, practicality, and finances. There were great things that we said no to because they would’ve added a level of unnecessary busyness and stress to our schedule. The things we did do, we mostly did together. Homeschooling five kids was a juggling act at times, but, for me, it was much simpler than having them all in a brick and mortar school.
We often felt a little out of touch with popular culture, but simplicity afforded its own blessings. We learned how to make our own way. My kids set their own fashion trends. They decided what they liked to do for entertainment. Our family learned how to create our own gifts, make household items, and simply use things longer without replacing them. I’m grateful for the creativity and contentedness it developed in all of us.
Grateful for Resolution
My husband and I felt a strong conviction to homeschool our children. It was important to us to raise our kids in an environment where they would have daily interaction with God, their family, and the created world. We wanted them to know the importance of self-discovery through play and freedom. We wanted to teach them the Story of God and help them discover their place in it. Like many of you, we believed that homeschooling was the best way for us to achieve these things.
I am grateful that we were resolute. When we were criticized, we stood firm, and we taught our kids that it was okay to stand up for what you believe, even if your ideas are unpopular. Now that most of our kids are adults, we’ve been put to the test in this area. Our kids are individuals with their own beliefs and convictions. We don’t always agree. But, we’ve raised kids who know their own minds and have made tough choices to stand up for what is important to them.
Grateful for Spiritual Growth
God will meet us wherever we are, and I found that homeschooling gave me many (many, Many, MANY!) places to meet Him. I don’t think He would’ve abandoned me had I not homeschooled, but there is a certain gut-level meeting you get to have with God when you just got screamed at by your red-faced, fist-shaking second grader who is refusing to do a spelling lesson. Homeschooling isn’t like teaching in a school. Your kids would never treat another teacher the way they treat you. Quite frankly, you would never treat another student the way you treat them. Homeschooling has the power to bring out the worst in all of us. But that’s actually a good thing.
God can’t refine us if the fire isn’t hot enough.
Homeschooling can be like sanctification boot camp for us and our kids, but the resulting spiritual growth develops a relationship with God that helps us deal with other trials we will face.
Grateful for Relationships
Our homeschool focused a lot on relationships. We emphasized personal responsibility for our relationships with God, each other, and the world around us. The older my kids get, the more I realize how valuable these relationships are. We’ve learned a lot about each other by living life together so closely. Our faith has grown as we’ve worshipped together and learned God’s word, as we’ve shared each other’s burdens and doubts, and as we’ve gone through seasons of repentance and discipline. The bonds we’ve formed have enabled us to have a level of honesty with one another that is uncomfortable at times but also wonderful.
With all of our strong convictions, we have prime breeding ground for conflict. Without deep relationships, it would be easy to let distance seep in to ease the conflict. Instead, we sharpen each other with our contrasts, and it makes us better humans. It makes us better followers of Jesus. Even though this is an area we are always growing in, I’m grateful that we all understand its importance.
Grateful for Eyes to See
As you contemplate during this season of Thanksgiving, I pray you’re able to see the areas that God is growing you and your kids through homeschooling. The curriculum, books, and schedules are all very important, but there is usually more going on than just spelling lessons. May we all grow in our knowledge of Him and His wonderful blessings.
Author, Jessie Wiegand
Jessie is a mom of five who has been homeschooling since 2000. She loves serving the homeschool community and has been active as a support group leader and co-op teacher in southeast Michigan for over 15 years.