As many of you know, Mark and I have spent the summer days praying for wisdom about how we are called to educate our children. Our oldest, Andrew, will be seventeen this fall. I have home schooled the children for a total of three years since Andrew started school eleven years ago. The remaining years our children have been educated in Christian School.
I wrote about an issue in the spring that was quite upsetting to me, and I shared my feelings here, and I followed up with a few more thoughts here. I won’t reiterate the situation so feel free to catch up before you read this post if you would like to.
However disappointing that decision was to us, I am aware that, in the grand scheme of things, it is rather small and insignificant. God has a plan for Victoria which He is perfectly capable of bringing to fruition regardless of this one accolade. So, as unfair as that decision was, a family can’t make a huge decision about homeschooling based on one unfortunate incident.
Having said that, we have decided to home school our children this year.
The reasons for that decision are many, and I share them here in an effort to be transparent and to express a few thoughts on our responsibility to live financially astute lives.
Last year was very difficult for our family. The schedule just seemed to be more than we could keep up with. Mark has a three hour round trip commute to Trenton each day, and arrives home around seven-thirty each evening. Many evenings, he is even later. In rain and snow, which is quite common here in the North East, it is not uncommon for his commute to be considerably longer.
The after school hours were short for us. Our older children were involved in after school sports and activities that demanded chauffeuring on my part with the little ones in tow. When I did finally get home, I had dinner to prepare, mostly by myself, because the children had homework to do, and the evening was almost over.
We have family devotions at eight, as religiously as possible, and the little ones fall asleep on our laps. After devotions, my husband finally sits down to eat. It is only after that, that Mark and I have any time to help the older kids with their work. However, by then everyone is exhausted. Even if we did get something done with our older ones, the typical math and vocab drill for the little ones completely fell by the wayside.
The year was also difficult financially. Gas prices climbed and our food budget increased significantly. Our community provided busing for the children, however due to their cutbacks, the ride was 90 minutes round trip each way, which is as long as my husband’s commute to Trenton. Clearly, this was not an option. I ended driving the children each way in our twelve passenger van which turned out to be rather exhausting for me and expensive.
Our world is changing quickly. Food prices are on the rise and are expected to continue to increase. The value of the dollar is dropping at an incredible rate. Some economists expect gold to increase to around $5,000 an ounce in a very short time. Perhaps there are those of you who believe that this financial crisis will right itself in time. It may, but it will not be without great pain and personal discomfort in our lives. Our country’s debt is so huge that it can never be repaid, which affords only one option-a financial collapse. This is not the time for a family to be spread too thin financially. I will write more about the economy, and recommendations for preparing for the future, but that’s for another post.
I believe we are called to give, and reciprocally, we are called to so order our lives in such a way that we have something to give. We need to live beneath our means. If educating our own, leaves nothing to give to the orphans and widows in our world, then I believe we are called to re-evaluate our choices no matter how good those choices are.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1;27
There is so much more to say about the positives of home schooling, and the emotions of this change for our family, but this post is already too long. 🙂
Throughout this summer, as we have prayed for wisdom, this old Charles Wesley hymn has been playing itself over and over again in my mind.
A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!
Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!
Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.
May we be found faithful.