If there is one thing I could say about what I’m learning thus far in this school year, it’s that I have to have complete dependence upon Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance.
I often think back to the books that I used when I was being homeschooled. Many of the books my family used were from a very conservative Christian textbook company, which is a solid, Christ-centered, biblically-sound curriculum. I don’t know how much their stuff has changed over the years, but in 8 years of using their books, I do not remember even once being taught about Buddha, Greek mythology, evolution, or the question of the age of the earth. I would be hard-pressed to even remember details included in my history books about anything remotely sketchy or questionable. As much as I’m grateful to my parents for homeschooling me, I do not feel that these books prepared me for the real world where real questions and many unsatisfactory answers abound. My mom was able to trust that when her big box of textbooks arrived on the doorstep, she would not ever have to question the content of them but could confidently assign us our pages for the day and expect us to do them with little intervention from her. She didn’t have to wonder if we were learning anything that wouldn’t line up with Scripture because the company has such a strong reputation. This publisher was one of the very few options offered to homeschoolers during this time, and I applaud my parents for pressing through even though they could have easily carted us off to public school. They made the difficult choice to use what was available, listening to the Lord to bring their kids home and train them up in the fear of Him. Their pioneering led me to the place I am today.
When we made the choice to take a slightly different path with our homeschool, it was with much humility, a little fear, and quite a large amount of wondering if we were doing the right thing. Some days, those questions still rattle around in my head. Over the course of a few years, not all of the books we have read are 100% biblically-based but all of them have been wholesome, thought-provoking, and foundational. Some of the living books we’ve chosen as spines for our teaching are not Scripturally-based but are excellently done and provide a very thorough education to the girls. I’ve had it in my heart to really give the girls a solid foundation in understanding the world around them, warts and all. I want them to see the Crusades and the Inquisition from the perspective of truth, not gloss over those things because they do not really put the Church in a positive light. Somehow, I managed to get through elementary school thinking that all Christians had ever done was save the world. How naive. I want honesty about science, not just interpretations of Scripture that we keep because of tradition and have not evaluated in light of what highly-intelligent, God-fearing, genius scientists have determined is accurate (and still be allowable interpretations within the confines of Scripture, I might add). I want the girls to understand that there are so many things out there that we do not know, so many beliefs, so many experiences that are not supposed to be crammed into a neat little box and labeled with some pat title. It’s thrilling to see that God is far bigger than we could ever have imagined. I remember thinking as I grew up with Christian textbooks that God could very easily be described, understood, and compartmentalized. The BIGNESS of the great I AM was completely lost on me despite the best attempts of my parents. May my children grow to have deep compassion for others, empathy for the struggle of faith, and yet be firm in their convictions and anchor themselves to Yeshua.
Is there a way to help guide their feet and keep them standing firm on the Rock of their faith, and also give them a complete picture of the world they live in? I believe it is possible with Holy Spirit’s help. My homeschool journey has been one of choppy stops and starts, second-guessing, then learning how to trust my Abba to guide me. It can be very intimidating to admit that I don’t know everything, and that I can’t trust that every book I lay before the girls has been approved by a committee of Christian homeschoolers. No, I have to do the hard work of pre-reading everything, figuring out the best way to present the information, getting my Scriptures in order so that I might have an answer for those inevitable questions that will arise. It’s difficult but rewarding. I constantly have to ask myself where to draw the line. Father, won’t YOU help me set this plumb line? I want to build a house of faith on the immovable Rock, and the only way to do that is to ensure that the difficult topics are raised and defeated throughout the process – not ignored and set aside as unimportant. No need to censor everything to such a degree that the girls find out when they are young adults that we didn’t even let them see reality for what it was. May a crisis of faith never be brought on by my lack of willingness to wrestle with God and labor to bring forth the material that will give them deep roots. It’s a daily relationship, one in which I don’t know how things are going to be led. Perhaps He will lead us to get rid of some books and replace them with others. Sometimes there will be certain projects or crafts that we refrain from doing because they are just too close to the gray areas that our little ones can’t handle yet. They will be able to be trusted with more as they become older and their brains start to think abstractly. Will I allow Holy Spirit to begin to lead them too? What will be the legacy I leave behind? “Mom doesn’t ever ask or answer the tough questions” or “Mom must really have a solid relationship with the Lord to be able to navigate these dangerous waters so peacefully.”
I’m discovering that I need the Lord’s help more than ever, and it is exciting to me. It’s very foreign, this free fall of trusting Him to make every step sure when I don’t know the end from the beginning the way He does. Third grade is starting to get serious. I can’t get away with giving vague answers anymore. I can’t really fake my way through – my faith and trust in His leadership has to be sound and firm so that I am leading my girls properly and in a way worthy of their trust. I should have been realizing this all along, but alas I still feel like a young child at times. Thank God for His unwavering patience and perspective. Whatever would I do without it?