Monday, January 9, 2012
How to Have a H.E.A.R.T.
I am participating in Amanda Pelser's book discussion on How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman. This week we're focusing on the Introduction of the book where Rachael sets the stage of how her homeschooling journey begins.
I can really relate to Rachael's story because I had many things I had to learn about the role of faith in my life after my high school years. I was a lost sheep for a little while until my first serious boyfriend cheated on me. After we broke up, I stopped listening to the wrong people and spent much more time with my family and returned to Church. I had to learn the hard way and God supplied me with the fortitude and wisdom to break away from the wrong crowd. I had to begin building up my relationship with God - just like Rachael had to deepen her relationship with God more.
Rachael did not plan on homeschooling after she first had children, and she often thought of returning to her teaching career when her son was old enough to go off to school. My experience is similar. I used to say to myself, "I would never homeschool." I spent two years after my first two oldest were born trying to find a job and holding some temporary positions while I brought my two sons to a daycare. I thought I had to work in order to be important. A very similar feeling to Rachael's statement, "I had bought into the world's lie that I had to harden my heart to find happiness as a modern woman, when in fact, true joy can come only by keeping the heart tender."
We also put our oldest into public school kindergarten like Rachael did. This was only to find out that my son already knew what they were learning. Rachael pulled her son out when his teacher couldn't put him on the right bus during the first few days. My son went his whole kindergarten year but, as soon as it was over, the homeschooling began for all five of my children. Also, the administration at my son's public school wasn't customer service oriented at all. It was extremely uncomfortable anytime I had to deal with them. I liked his teacher but she was stuck in a system where she promised more for my son and couldn't deliver it.
Rachael was much more fortunate to live in a neighborhood with three other homeschool moms to have fellowship with. Our neighborhood didn't have other homeschooled families. Therefore, we were on our own (in human terms, not spiritual terms) in the beginning. As the years went by, we became more involved with co-op groups through the Church and various communities. We have met some awesome families. Rachael said those homeschool friends had a great influence on her.
Rachael and her husband were convicted by the Holy Spirit after attending a homeschool conference. I was convicted after the kindergarten experience of my son but my husband realized the benefits of homeschooling after we attended a conference too. When he verbalized his desire to homeschool the kids, I couldn't stop crying. It was like chains that were binding me finally broke off. I knew what my children needed more so than the school system. So there are some more areas of similarity in my own journey where I can relate to Rachael's journey.
The statement that struck me the most in Rachael's story was, "You have given them everything - toys, trips, trivia, teams - but you've given them no target, no testimony, no Teacher." If we want our kids to have a heart for others and for the Lord, we need to reclaim our God-assigned place as parents. There is so much joy that comes from homeschooling. Now, I'm happy to say, I have no desire to be in the working world yet. I would have missed witnessing the growth of my beautiful children. They are all so beautiful. I have two in college, one at a great Catholic high school, and the two youngest still home with me. Our target is eternal life, we have a Christian witness and testimony, and the greatest Teacher ever - Our Lord and Savior!