. “Take one year at a time, one child at a time, and God will show the way” has been the words that I’ve been using for almost the last 8 years I have been home schooling my children. When God hit me with the choice to home educate our children, He really hit me with it. Jeremy and I were always comfortable with sending our children to school when that time came for each of them.
My idea was that I was good at the 0 to 5 year olds, then it was part of the parenting journey that the children would start school, and that sat right with my heart. Over the next three years we started school with our 2 eldest children, grew our family to five children and moved from Melbourne to Perth. After living in Perth for over twelve months, God was stirring my heart. He planted seeds of conversation and research from dear friends who home schooled and sent their children to school. I found myself deciding that we would begin our journey of home schooling at the beginning of 2008. I have no teaching experience, only the love for my children by hearing Gods call to stretch my mothering abilities to educate them in our home. When I asked Him the hard questions, as we all do when navigating through parenting, He gently whispered to me “Just take time, work with each child and I will guide the way”. From that point I had a great peace in my heart, and flying by the seat of my pants, we embarked on this new journey.
Over the last 8 years we have welcomed four new children to our family, this is one of the most blessed times as a family we have experienced. To watch your older children grow and learn around the beauty of a newborn, will always move this Mamas heart. I am grateful for the times we have worked as a team to get the shopping done, to help cater for youth camps, to packing houses and moving five times in the last 4 years, and the way the children banded together when we ( the children and I ) drove 1500km in under two days to attend my Grandmother’s funeral, cutting short their holiday with friends in country Victoria and most of all just to get through the days when nothing seems to get done. Today our home-schooling journey was completed for our eldest three children. After the blessing that Home schooling had been for us recently with moving we have had some time to assess where we are as a family and more importantly where each of our nine children are in the journey of schooling from home. We knew our eldest would begin his Year 10 level studies at TAFE for the last 6 months of this year and continue on to Yr. 11 and Yr.12 in the same manner.
Through conversation, observation and prayer, and for distinctly different reasons we also realised that for our second and third children, the next years of their education are going better experienced by attending the local secondary college which is a short walking distance from home. Coming out of the initial meeting with the Assistant Vice Principal just three weeks ago, I found it fitting that I was filled with the same sense of peace that I had when first considering Home Schooling, all those years ago.
Today I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster of the leaving of my children in environments that I haven’t been around for a long time, but I was reassured again as I asked God “OK, here we are, what now”. He placed on my heart the scripture that has been a favorite of our family’s over the past years. It was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” I also love the way Joe Quatron Jr writes about this scripture as God speaks to me today and the days going forth in this and other journeys of our family. “God knows the future, and His plans are good and full of hope. As long as God, who knows the future, provides our agenda and goes with us as we fulfill His mission, we can have boundless hope. This does not mean that we will be spared pain, suffering, or hardship, but that God will see us through to a glorious future.
During the day when my heart and mind pondered over the past years with my older children I found myself also reflecting on that “YES” that Mary gave to God when she was visited by the Angel Gabriel. How many times as a mother did she also feel the change of the journey that being a parent brings? I found comfort knowing that she too has been along for this ride with me, living each year, taking each child and seeing God open doors and showing the way to best grow these children into the young adults to live out the purpose He has uniquely plan for each of them.
This is a major shift in our Family’s well known and practiced routine. As our family continues to grow up, so too will change continue to visit. But, our days of home education have not ended, with 6 more children at various stages of their education, we have only really begun. As Jeremy reflected so well tonight: Homeschooling, and in fact life are just like a highway; When a student moves to a different mode, the journey doesn’t end there. Another lane is added.