Years ago, I wrote a post for another website entitled, “5 Common Mistakes [Homeschoolers Mistake],”focusing on those gaffes that become major stumbling blocks in the early days–and sometimes in the not-so-early days. My post addressed a number of mental and emotional pitfalls that trap homeschooling moms and cause us to forfeit the journey before we see fruit. Yet, after a recent Sunday sermon, I revisited this same post, thinking that I had missed something critical. This is the passage of scripture that grabbed me:
14 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
(2 Kings 13:14-19, NIV)
As Pastor began to break it all down, I couldn’t help but think about common mistake #6:
We miss the spirit of the thing.
There are several rites of passage for any homeschooler. At some point, we will buy curriculum. At some point, we will discuss with those close to us our decision to homeschool. At some point, many of us (either because of those discussions or in spite of them) will join a network or co-op of some kind. But then we get lost in the realities of homeschool:
- the curriculum you were so excited about is not doing what you thought it would do.
- life happens, causing major adjustments to what you thought your homeschool journey would look like.
- the kids are not having as much fun as your favorite vlogger or blogger (in our home, one of the kids was famous for saying, “I like learning; I just don’t like school.” Ouch).
Any one of these changes, along with the lifestyle changes that are inherent to homeschooling, is enough to surface all those subconscious anxieties–what’s wrong with us? am I doing this right?
I believe that if we can catch hold of the spirit of homeschooling, we can endure most, if not all, of the proverbial valleys in the journey. What is that spirit?
- As Believers, we are pouring Christ into our children as the foundation of their education.
- We are building strong families.
- We are personalizing our children’s educational process.
- We are nurturing our children’s passions.
- We are raising prayer warriors, active citizens, and world changers.
Can any or all of this happen outside of homeschooling? Absolutely. But we can do it without the boundaries of time, external pressures and agenda, and/or superfluous restrictions.
When Elisha told Jehoash to strike the ground, we are not clear as to why he only struck it three times. Perhaps he doubted what was about to happen in his life. Perhaps he was comfortable where he was, and thought three times hitting the ground was plenty. In any case, Elisha was looking for a certain level of commitment and enthusiasm; he expected Jehoash to catch the spirit of what he was saying, and to respond to those words appropriately.
I don’t know where you are in your homeschooling journey. Maybe you’ve hit the honey hole; maybe you’re barely getting through the day. But I invite you to catch the spirit of what God wants to do in you and in your family, and to respond with exceeding joy.
As always, be blessed, dear friends.