Thursday, July 5, 2007

Conviction vs. Desire

I am reading a book now called, When You Rise Up: A Covenental Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul, Jr. It is a good book that is challenging me to realize my motives for homeschooling. In it, it talks about deciding on your family's goal for education and it puts forth some key ideas in deciding what that is.
Sproul is very dedicated and convicted in his choices for his family and he is an advocate to the extent that he feels homeschooling is the ONLY choice there is for any Christian family.
Personally, this is where I struggle. Is homeschooling my children the ONLY choice out there in order to achieve the goals that we seek to attain for our children? Is this a desire I feel to homeschool or a true conviction? Is it possible for me to selfishly keep them home when they would prosper at a good Christian school?
To answer that last question, I don't think that I am damaging them by keeping them home at all, but maybe they aren't getting everything the could be getting (academically speaking) from me. I am a busy mama. I have lots going on during the day and I don't know HOW IN THE WORLD I am going to maintain education here at home when Annagail starts walking. It is hard enough to just try and plan! Add on top of that a house that need to be cleaned, laundry that must be washed, meals that must be prepared and a nursing schedule to feed that baby adequately and I my plate is overflowing.
I am starting to think of it like I do bfeeding. (stay with me here) I totally, totally, totally believe that the benefits of bfeeding far outweigh the alternatives. I wish that everyone would give it an honest attempt for the sake of their child. However, I do believe that there are times when it doesn't work for whatever reason; be it physical, emotional, situational, whatever. It just doesn't. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had it work for all five of my little ones so far, but some of my children were only bfed through lots of work and concentration on my part. For my oldest, I had to a sort of hybrid form of feeding. Some women I know, tried and tried and couldn't get it to all come together. For them they chose an alternative. It was best choice for them to maintain health and sanity for themselves AND their child and I don't blame them a bit or find any fault with their choice. The good Lord provided a suitable alternative. The children thrived and developed as normal and all is well in their world.
Now to relate it to homeschooling: I do feel it is the ideal situation for a child. To be at home with a parent and to be learning alongside siblings is something that I think is definitely better than the school environment as we know it. But is it something that everyone should have this inherent ability to do as a parent? Is it something that I should be able to muster up inside me and be able to do in a way that sustains my children at the level they need to excel spiritually and academically? Or at some point do I need to investigate alternative forms to do this that still meet the moral standard by which we live? This is where I am. I am trying to sort this out.
Obviously, if Nathan and I feel called, convicted, to homeschool then the choice is made. I must obey and I am certain that my desire and the ability will come. I just don't know if it is conviction or desire at this point. it isn't as easy as it sounds. I have researched private Christian schools and would probably jump right into one or two of them that I have looked into if it weren't for the exorbitant cost. We are talking 13K for three of our children to attend!!! Per Year!!!!
I guess that where there is a will there is a way. I am just searching for God's will and where it lies for our family. If it lies in homeschooling, then I must find my way through this in obedience and I am certain the desire will follow. If God's will is for them to be taught in a private christian school, then there is a way to find there too.
So for now I will be praying and searching for these answers while I plan for our next year. This is one of those areas in Christian parenting that baffles me. I wish there was a verse that said, "Homeschooling is the only approved method." or "Thou shall not lose any sleep over sending your child to school." It would certainly make things easier wouldn't it?


Heather said...

Ahhhhh ... choices ;)

And even in the Christian Schools you have to be aware of some of the things that they might be aught/learn/pick up (pride, for one; mental ascent of Jesus for another). I don't think there is only one tried and true way for everyone. I know plenty of teenagers/young adults that went through the public school system or Christian Schools and are awesome servants of the Lord. Homeschooling does not = perfect life. I know you know that.


Angela said...

I know. If it did, there would be no choice, right?

I am just struggling so with WHAT to do. I know the HUGE benefits of homeschooling and I am drawn to them. I just want to seek God's will for us in that area and I don't feel true peace about anything; either way. We have ruled out public school, because it is counter productive of what we are teaching them here in so many ways. For now, homeschooling is th eonly option, but I don't want it to done as a last resort, ya know?

Anonymous said...

It is a hard decision, I know. I have never considered homeschooling, I enjoy the job I have and I am off during the summers so that to me makes up for it! We did however have to decide whether or not to keep Austin in the Christian school he went to for K4 when he went into Kindergarten this past year or send him to public school. We did choose Tuscaloosa Christian School. Austin was already accustomed to that and we loved the way they pray every morning before starting the day and how Austin would come home telling us of the Bible stories he had learned that day. I know there is fault in everything, but we really like it so far and will hopefully be able to continue to pay for it. I know it's different for us, we have 2 children to pay for. 5 would be a lot more expensive. However, if you haven't already, check into it... We get a 50% discount at this Christian school b/c Jeff is a minister, so that helps tremendously and at our school, after 3 kids (I think), the rest are free or discounted an extreme amt or something like that. Check with your schools and make sure they don't offer that benefit, it would definitely help. Anyway, I know you all will choose what's right. Good Luck...

Angela said...

Thanks for posting Jenn!! It is always good to hear from you, cuz!

Yes, we are decided on the fact that there will, more than likely, be no public school in our kids' future. It just is something we both feel very strongly about. I will never say never, but I am scared of what would have to happen in order for us to sway from that. We both went through public school and turned out alright, so it isn't as if I think it is a path to Hell or anything LOL!! I just really feel strongly that it is counterproductive to OUR goals are for them, ya know?

I am glad to hear that you found a school for the boys that you love. That is great!! The 13K/ year was WITH a sibling discount; the best one that I can find actually. That isn't even taking the cost of adding Ella and Annagail to it in the next few years :) It is just a lot of money. When Nathan gets into ministry position, that discount would certainly help to. I hadn't thought of that.

We know that this coming Fall I will be homeschooling the girls on the 1st grade level and working a little more purposefully with Cooper in "K-4" skills. We have until January-Feb. to decide on the other options for the 08-09 school year, so I am just really praying for clear vision before then.

Thanks again for posting. It is so good to hear form you :)