Homeschooling is hard work. Although, like all things, it is hard in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
I’m sure all non-homeschooling parents can anticipate the dearth of “me time”, the constant chatter of questions and injuries and accidents and quarrels. I’m sure that any Mum of school-aged children would miss the few moments that the entire house is clean, before their “schoolies” arrive home. When the children don’t leave for the day, there is no such moment.
However, I don’t find those things to be the hardest parts of homeschooling.
The hardest part of homeschooling is being confronted with my sin. On a daily – no, hourly – basis. By three, sometimes four, little people. In this homeschooling home, I can’t ignore my sin as it gets reflected back to me fourfold. Avoiding the matter doesn’t help, the reflections just become more and more prominent, sometimes reflected by all four children at once.
I can’t run and hide from my sin when I am confronted like this. I can try, but it doesn’t work. Young children are persistent. In their hearts, they know (somewhere!) that they need correction. If I try to ignore it they will keep at me and at me until the problem becomes so big that I have to correct it. It is so much easier and more pleasant to deal with if we deal with it immediately. Address it when the problem is small, before sin takes root in their hearts.
That doesn’t make me to blame for their sin. From conception, they were sinners. It is a lasting legacy Adam and Eve gave us. We are sinners, therefore we sin. I am responsible, however, for their correction. For disciplining them. For bringing them up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.
Living like this, with four sinners showing me *my* sin, should drive me to my knees. And it does. But not often enough. Too often, it drives me to distraction, or worry, or complaining, or anger. I need to learn to parent on my knees, as it were. For wisdom and guidance, but also for confession and repentance. Without confession and repentance we will be stuck in an ever-deepening spiral. Only by the grace of God and a repentant and humble heart will we ever be able to win any war on sin.
This is no holier than thou moment. I am not suggesting that parents who don’t homeschool are more sinful because they do not receive this painful sanctification process. I can just as easily hear a working mother say that without her hour on the train to read her Bible, pray, and reflect that she would never have a moment quiet enough to hear God. Or a mother of “schoolies” who is blessed by the sanctification process involved in her regular volunteer work she is able to do while her children are at school. Maybe it is me who is more deficient. Perhaps I am so deafened to God that I need the megaphone of four little ones telling me what my sins are, rather than hearing the still small voice of God.