Is God calling you to homeschool this year? Ellen Mongan encourages you to give it a try. Don't forget to look for the silver lining.
I was not a good candidate for being a homeschool mom -- the same thoughts I had in early motherhood. I felt underqualified, overcommitted, and feared I would be walking in unknown territory. Thankfully, I was never asked to do so.
Rumors arose about drug use among the youth in our private Christian school. The leaders decide that the solution was to begin random drug testing in the middle and high school. My husband and I became concerned, since our youngest girl was a sixth grader. The thought of her modesty being compromised was of great concern to us.
After much prayer and discussion, we decided that homeschooling would be an option. He presented the idea to all the older children. The teenagers gave a firm “No!” but our young daughter who was an extremely shy, quiet child gave a strong, “Yes!”
I am a “in like a lion, out like a lamb” kind of gal. So, once school began, I embraced the challenge wholeheartedly. My initial attitude was outstanding: I felt like giving myself an A plus. I was prepared, punctual, and of course ready with spontaneous fun. I, who was born with a Mary Poppins type personality, always carried a song in my heart. “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap the job is a game,” became my theme song that year. The joy of the Lord became my strength as I trod an unknown path.
I always try to look for the “silver lining” in difficult situations. It came in a way I would never have anticipated. I was blessed to have more time to build a relationship with my baby girl by giving her my undivided attention. I became aware that she had been lost in the shuffle, being our fourth girl down of our seven children. God knew all along what she needed.
She and I began making memories that would last a lifetime. I re-established “Friday Fun Day,” a tradition I established for our preschooler. Giving it a middle-school makeover, we would choose field trips that applied to what she was learning. With creativity as my focus, and the Holy Spirit as my guide, we discovered new places to go, new people to meet, and new things to learn. Variety has always been the spice that seasons my life. Passing this skill down to my offspring made homeschooling an amazing adventure.
I became the homeschooling mouthpiece, boasting with pride, “Homeschooling, just like breast feeding, is what is best for your child.” By now I was convinced that every mother should be a homeschool mom. We all know that “pride goes before the fall.” This time was no different. There began, ever so slowly, a downward spiral toward failure.
On the up side, her confidence and self-esteem were built up through daily encouragement and attentiveness. Homeschooling was the vehicle God used to form her to be the person she is today. She came alive! I will attest, and still am amazed to this day, that my shy, quiet daughter was transformed. She grew in knowledge, wisdom, and confidence. Her gift of leadership emerged -- or rather it collided with this Mary Poppins kind of gal. This people-pleaser mom eventually lost ground and my daughter took the reins.
To my surprise, a left-brained sixth-grader was not looking for the fun that could be discovered in learning. Her personality instead lent to a practical, down to business approach, where the only goal was to get the job done. This Mary Poppins mom was shocked. My daughter frowned on singing out loud, dancing the day away, or wasting time together. My focused, undivided attention created a daughter with a mind of her own. This was the silver lining.
When she was asked if she wanted to homeschool the next year, she said, “No!” I was not surprised. God’s ways are not our ways, are they? I smiled to myself when the pink slip sailed into my heart. I was not disappointed.
The work that God had set before me was not about education at all. It was about filling my child’s heart with a mother’s love. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature as a child. Was it because of His mother’s love? My daughter grew too.
If God calls you to homeschool this year, and you feel underqualified and overcommitted, and know you will be walking in unknown territory, do not be afraid to give it a try. God always has a plan. The silver lining may surprise you. God may use homeschooling as the vehicle to change both of your lives for the better!
Enjoy my interview with homeschooling mom Mary Ellen Barrett on the WOW MOM podcast:
Copyright 2020 Ellen Mongan
Images (top to bottom): Julia M. Cameron (2020), Pexels; copyright 2020 Ellen Mongan
About the Author
Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.