Since my son, now 15, was in kindergarten I have felt the call to homeschool, but I have largely ignored it. Even before he was of school age, there were certain aspects of homeschooling that just made more sense to me--more time for physical activity, the efficiency of 1-on-1 tutoring for learning necessary skills, the family being the primary teacher, children not spending all day in what is basically a contrived, unnatural environment--the list is long and often highly philosophical. To fully explain my attraction to homeschooling I would have to delve into my deeply held views of a mental, spiritual, and philosophical nature and I really don't think I have the energy for that today. I'm not sure that anyone would want to read it anyway. Let's just say I have lots of reasons why I've always thought homeschooling was a superior form of education.
Alas, I have spent 11 years NOT homeschooling. Sound's crazy, right? My husband was against it, citing all of the arguments society at large has against homeschooling. As small business owners, we have never enjoyed the financial stability that others who work damn hard at "regular" jobs take for granted despite the fact that my husband has the strongest work ethic I have ever seen in another human being. I have been afraid--afraid of discovering I couldn't handle being home with my kids all day, afraid we couldn't make it on one income, afraid they'd be odd and un-socialized, afraid of all kinds of things. 11 years is a long time to not do what your heart is crying out for you to do because you are afraid.
When you take away all of the dogma that has been forced upon us by power-hungry folks that have co-opted this revolutionary movement commonly known as Christianity for their own gain, the stories of the bible can seem shocking relevant to our lives today. I have been pondering the story of Jonah a lot lately. I understand what it is like to hear a call and choose to run in the other direction. I have tried every manipulation I can think of to help my children fit into a box that they can't be crammed into. I have become a public school teacher myself, debated with my children's teachers, hired tutors, emailed principals, yelled at my kids about their grades . . . and still I have never felt comfortable with my children's education. At times I have thought it was just us, that we are all damaged goods incapable of fitting into a system that runs so efficiently if everyone follows the rules. I have been in the belly of the whale. I want out.
This year, I have devoted more time and discipline to prayer, meditation, and spiritual study than I have in my entire life. This has fostered a lot of change in my life, both internally and externally. There is a strength emerging in me that I find both steadying and shocking all at the same time. It is time to bring my children home to something better. They have survived public education, but they have never thrived.
I have revealed my heart to my husband and he agrees that I can't ignore this call any longer and that he needs to join me on this journey. We are praying about all of the possibilities to make this happen and are in the midst of some major changes in our lifestyle. We have agreed to pray about these changes for a week, then reconvene to see how we will make this work.
Some of the ideas that have come up in our marital "brainstorming" sessions are downright unconventional. My heart feels lighter than it has in ages. At my core, I am a radical and I've been playing at normal for far too long. It was the radicalism of Jesus that drew me back to the religion of my childhood, that allowed me to see it with new eyes. I don't have to be afraid. God feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers in the field. We will be equipped to do this. We already are.
Maybe it's time for a change. I have been sitting in the darkness of the whale's belly for too long. It's time to step into the light.