When Asa, my now 14-year old was in 2nd grade, God led us to make the decision to homeschool him. Homeschooling became a way of life for our family as Mason joined the next year for 1st grade. Barrett followed a few years later.
We have always held homeschooling loosely. We have asked the Lord each year, "What is best for our family and kids this year?" Having felt His calling so strongly from the first year, some years when we didn't "hear" anything different. So we took that as the Lord telling us to, "Stay the course until I lead you to do something differently."
I have always been so thankful to have the time together that we've had in homeschooling. I have never been so grateful, though, as the year Brock died. I was thankful that the boys knew their little brother so well. I was thankful that the boys literally had a "time with Brock" slot in their school schedule so that I could work with the others. I was thankful that, in our grief, we were all here together. I was thankful that I was the one sitting at the table with the boys when they needed to talk about their little brother in the middle of the day. I am so grateful to the Lord for the place He called us to at that time.
People would always ask me, "How long are you going to homeschool?" I would first laugh and say, "All I know is that I am going to homeschool tomorrow, and then we will see." Then I would usually add, "Probably until Asa gets to high school.....but we will see."
Well, that day has come!
This past spring, when it came time to talk about school for this year, Asa approached us with wanting to go to the local public high school. We told him we were willing to talk and pray about it. While I held it together emotionally in front of Asa, I really had a hard time with it in private. Drew asked me, "Why are you struggling with this? It is what we always said we would do." I told him, "I know I said that before, but I think I thought that day was so far away...that it would never come."
Well, that day has come!
Through much prayer, discernment, and late night talks, we made the decision for Asa to attend the local high school. He has been working out with the football team all summer long and will be playing on the Freshman team.
He is ready to go! I can't wait to see how God is going to continue to mold him into the man He wants him to be as He uses all of Asa's life experiences. We are so proud of him. We are devoting ourselves to prayer, being watchful (for what God is doing) and ever thankful (for this opportunity). Colossians 4:2
However, what I did not know last spring was that God was not only pruning homeschooling Asa from my life...
.....but also Barrett !
The year after Brock died, as we were praying about our schooling for last year, I felt a literal "release" from the Lord regarding our homeschooling. It wasn't that we weren't supposed to homeschool, but that it was just an option if we so chose for our family. I can't really explain it... but release is the word that best describes.
We chose to homeschool last year, and I was grateful again that we were all at home as we welcomed Lila Jane into our family. It has definitely been the best education for all of us to watch her grow and fall so deeply in love with her.
Two days ago, as Drew and I felt no peace with Barrett's schooling for this year, we visited the elementary school down the street. As we waited for the counselor to tour us around, I looked at the school photo directory. We recognized that we knew one of the 3rd grade teachers from church. She is actually the wife of the Chef that came to our home to provide our meals the days after Brock's death.
Monday night was a long night of prayer and talking in our home. As we mentioned it to Barrett, he said, "I think I just want to stay at home and let you be my teacher." He paused and added, "But don't go off my words." I thought that was funny, because even though Asa proactively approached us, the more we talked about him going to school, he would say, "I just want y'all to decide." Barrett also wanted us to make the decision. Obviously, we were going to make the ultimate decision, but I just thought it was sweet that they both knew we would do what was best for them. Isn't it beautiful to see a child exhibit total trust in his parents?
I would rehearse voicing both of our decisions in my mind, but I never had a peace. I felt the Lord reminding me that faith is not sitting there tossing around all the pros and cons; faith is stepping out towards Him...in trust.
Yesterday, we decided to step in the direction of Barrett going to school outside of our home. We stopped by the elementary school again (after we finished at the High School for Freshman orientation) to tell the counselor that we wanted Barrett to attend there. We ended our conversation by just throwing out that we knew we couldn't pick his teacher but just wanted to let her know that we knew one of the 3rd grade teachers from church. The counselor got a big grin on her face and said, "I put him in her class room yesterday!" We all hugged in the hallway as we knew God was working in the details once again.
So tonight, before we said prayers with Barrett and Asa, we recalled how grateful we were for all the years we had together through homeschooling. I have considered it such a privilege to teach them. I told them what an honor I felt it was to be their Mama & their Teacher. I know this is not the end of my schooling them, as I will continue to educate their whole-being, like we always have...
but for tomorrow...those two are going to school, and I am totally trusting God to guide us down the path He is leading us.
So... how am I doing?! My emotions have been on a true roller coaster as you can imagine:
Most of the tears have been grateful tears as I reflect on how good God has been to allow us to homeschool.
Others have been for the severe missing of the little 5-year old that would be entering Kindergarten.
Yet other tears have been for the amazing details that God has worked out because He loves my children more than me.
As Barrett hugged me when I was leaving his room tonight, he whispered in my ear, "I'm excited to go." Asa told me in our hug, "I'm ready."
Once again, I am grateful for the place He has us in for today.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion, and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 15:5-6.