Thursday arrived and I was back in the beautiful state of TX, speaking at one of my favorite conferences (THSC) of the season. This year I had been asked to share my homeschooling journey (from a mom who has been there) with potential homeschooling parents. Since I was slated as the second speaker of the day, I decided it would be wise to listen to the speaker before me. I sat in the back and enjoyed hearing Frederic Gray share about his family’s beautiful life of homeschooling. He shared of leading his family and seeing struggles as an opportunity to stretch he and his wife. He did a fabulous job spurring these parents on to accept the challenge and join the homeschool movement. As Frederic began wrapping up his talk, panic set in…I knew that parts of my talk were in direct contrast to Frederic’s and I feared that I was the absolute wrong person to follow such a positive message.
If I am being honest (and you should know by now, that’s what you get with me) I haven’t seen every struggle as a chance to be stretched. Sometimes, I have seen my struggles as just that… STRUGGLES. I am sure I was eventually stretched by them, but usually after some type of fit had been thrown. I knew I planned on sharing that there had been days I wanted to chase down that yellow school bus, put my kids on there as quickly as possible, drive to the nearest tennis court and play all day long! I knew that I planned on sharing that some days I questioned if I was screwing up my kids, my family and honestly feared that I had made a really, big mistake.
If you are a THSC board member reading this, rest assured that I never discouraged the participants from homeschooling, but I knew my journey of homeschooling had been FAR from perfect. I knew I had to be truthful. I wanted to share with these parents that the woman standing before them was just a hot mess, trying to live out this homeschooling gig with purpose and passion. My prayer was, that just maybe my honesty might encourage a hot mess sitting in the audience to give it a go, even if she/he felt completely unworthy of the challenge.
I shared that I believed homeschooling was a personal calling, a right that I was thankful we had, but not a requirement. I shared that I believed God gave each couple their children to parent in the way they were convicted. I shared that homeschooling did not guarantee that they would raise successful, caring, spiritual adults. I shared that homeschooling would not shelter their children from “the world”. I shared that my children had been exposed to many things; from mean girls, drugs, cheating, etc… in our homeschooling circles. I shared that I believed our role as parents was to help children become who they were meant to be and that didn’t happen simply by homeschooling. Many parents raise amazing adults that were schooled at home, in public schools, in private schools or a combination of all three. I encouraged these couples to be grace filled with their children and themselves and to refrain from parenting out of fear. Lastly, I shared that I wouldn’t change this imperfect journey for anything. Really, I wouldn’t!
I know that many were spurred on by the steadiness and strength of Frederic’s message last Thursday afternoon, I sure was. However, if only one mom or one dad could relate to my hot mess reality and dared to homeschool anyway, it was worth my vulnerability and honesty.
Next up… FPEA in Orlando!!