Schooling When the Path is Not Easy

Post by Contributing Writer, Emily

As a mother of a toddler and two preschoolers, the decision for me was easy. We were going to homeschool.

We were one year at a time in our commitment to how best to educate our children. We wanted to be on the lookout constantly for whatever opportunities came our way that might be a fit for our family and our open-minded educational philosophy.

We were immersed in an exceptional homeschool community of people who were not only our fellow schoolmates but also our closest friends and neighbors. We lived in a city rich with diversity, culture and abundant learning opportunities. Educating my children, though exhausting at times, was a dream.

Fast forward to my life as a mother of a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader and a preschooler. Place us in a new city where we have no immediate connections with other families. A place where the dominant culture is vastly different than anything we’ve ever known, where diversity is rare, where a major religion we don’t believe in infiltrates all facets of life and interpersonal relationships. A place where the only active homeschool communities are an hour’s drive south and segregated strongly by faith. My dream at times has been slightly shattered.

Which brings us to where we are at this moment. A place of tension, of uncertainty, of prayer, and of hope. I want desperately to educate my children the best way possible. As they are growing older I encounter more criticism than ever, more push to meld them into society’s expected paths, more pressure to prove success. I feel more alone then ever and so I bend and give in a little and then I doubt and worry:

“Are we giving them the best?

Are we sacrificing good opportunities now to make room for better ones down the road or are we settling for what’s good enough right now?

Are we seeking solutions when we feel defeated?

Are we looking at all of our options and thinking outside the box?

Are we seeking His guidance and trusting Him with our children’s future?”

Wherever you are at in the journey of educating your children, whether it be at home, your neighborhood school, a private academy or something entirely different, I encourage you today….

…find peace in the place you have chosen to be.

…be joyful in each dilemma or uncertainty you face.

…make the most of where you’re at in this moment.

…embrace the new opportunities that you find yourself facing.

…pray that God will make clear the path He has for your family this year.

Note from Michele: Dear readers, do you have any encouragement for Emily, or words of wisdom from being a “minority” in your community with Christian homeschooling or as a missionary? We’d love for you to share your hearts in this “online community.”

I have been inspired lately by the book Teaching the Trivium, which encourages you to “know why you are homeschooling,” and reminds us that “God may have put you/your children in this difficult season for a reason.” I also am refreshed in my perspective and mission (in knowing why I am homeschooling) by reading the book “When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling.” Blessings on a new year!

Photo Credit

Emily lives in Salt Lake City with her husband Jeremy and their 3 wild and crazy kiddos! She loves reading, running, baking yummy treats for her family, her early morning yoga, walking to the library and all things creative and crafty. She especially enjoys exploring nature with her children and learning side by side with them. You’ll find her chatting about all aspects of life at her blog, Industrious Emily* and also sharing her crafty side through the blog, Life at the Table.

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10 comments to Schooling When the Path is Not Easy

  • Kerry

    Emily, I can 100% relate to your experiences living in a community where Christianity is the minority. While we do not home school our young children (they attend a highly acclaimed private International School), the decision was not made lightly. It took hours upon hours of prayer to know that we were at peace with the decision. My husband and I are both teachers. We were both offered jobs at the same school that our children attend. One of us could have stayed home, but, in the eyes of ministry, if both of us taught, we had that much more exposure to the students that we teach. All of whom follow the majority religion. We know the challenges that you must face when everyone else around you may not completely understand where you are coming from. Stay strong and know that He who promised is faithful and that if you follow his guidance and lean on His understanding, your children will do the same. That to me, is one of the greatest lessons we have been able to teach our kids through this experience.

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  • Sonia

    Something from a homeschooled child’s point of view — I was homeschooled K-12, with a very supportive homeschool community, kind of supportive extended family, and really not supportive church body. I know my parents struggled many times with whether or not it was the right decision, whether or not they were giving me the best opportunities, etc. They felt badly that I didn’t connect with most kids my age at our church, that my Sunday school teachers and other people at church would ask why I didn’t go to a “normal” school. But, honestly, I think it was the best choice that they could have made. Sometimes it was a little discouraging that most of my friends were outside of our church community, but it was usually a very good experience over-all. I went on to graduate from college with a 4.0 GPA, marry, and we now have a baby girl that we plan to homeschool. I have a strong community of friends in our current church, friends from college, friends from our old homeschooling community as well — any imperfections in how well our homeschooling was supported has had no lasting impact on my social or spiritual life whatsoever!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that, it’s unlikely that any schooling choice you make will be 100% ideal, but if you use your best judgement, then do everything in your power to make it a great experience for your kids, it’s going to be okay!

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  • Debra E

    Have you connected with Jenni at momessentials.net? She lives in the Utah area somewhere and homeschools most of her 7 kids and very strongly believes in schooling in the best way for each kid.

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  • Emily

    Thank you all so much for the encouragement. Today we made a big switch with our oldest kids out of the co-op charter school we’ve been a part of for the last year and back into more of a full homeschooling life with a part time dual enrollment in a new neighborhood school.

    It was so nice to be lifted up by your kind and honest words and love as I had an emotional day wondering if this is the right thing to do for my children.

    I look forward to sharing more of our journey with you as we move ahead in our homeschooling adventures!

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  • Jenny

    I’m excited to see where this next season will take you guys, and to be a part of the journey with you is such a gift! Wrestling with these decisions is SO hard and emotional, but I see you navigating it with much grace. See you soon, friend!

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    Michele @ Frugal Granola Reply:

    @Jenny, Thanks, Jenny. I’m not sure from your note- did you know that this post was writen by Emily about her family’s experiences, and not ours this time? :) I will be sharing ours soon! However, we are blessed to be in a community of other homeschooling families, and it has been a good year so far. I’m excited to hear what Emily’s family has in store!
    Blessings,
    Michele

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  • Jenny

    Haha, yes, I’m a friend of Emily’s and she sent me a link to the post. Have had fun looking around at your blog:)

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    Michele Reply:

    @Jenny, Oh, good! :) Thanks!

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  • We are new homeschoolers this year & we’re very blessed to be living in a diverse Christian homeschool-loving community. But as a military family, I know this won’t always be the case! No matter where the Lord leads us, I pray that I have the same patience & grace that you’ve shown! Good job, momma.

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  • [...] We’d had some experience with this school before and it had fit our needs perfectly in the way we participated in it last year. Within a few weeks though, we knew it was not what our family needed anymore. So we prayed, re-evaluated and shifted our plans. [...]

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