April McGowan

One Foot in Front of the Other

Right now, uppermost in my mind, is the beginning of our school year. We homeschool our children—have from the very beginning, and intend to go all the way through high school.

People not familiar with homeschooling usually ask me what the benefits are of schooling at home. First and foremost, it’s created a bond in our family that I don’t think we’d otherwise have. It’s also allowed my children to not only learn about our faith, but see it lived out in our daily lives. God’s definitely not just for Sundays around here. They also have opportunities to try out many different areas of focus—where as the public school system just can’t afford the staff to do that. We hold a belief that God grants each of us a gift—and that gift is to be used to bring Him glory (rather than ourselves). We are blessed to see their gifts growing and encourage them in their use. My son is on his way to being a building or robotic engineer, and my daughter has a passion for drawing and working with children. I don’t know how the Lord will use these gifts, but I do know that if my children are looking to Him, He will.

Every year we begin and I think to myself, “This year is going to be normal.” By that I mean things will go according to schedule with no hic-ups. I don’t know why I think this every year—it has never gone the way I expected. Ever. The first year we formally home-schooled I was pregnant with my second child and, unlike many other lucky mom’s out there (but I’m not bitter), I spent 9 months throwing up about 9 times a day. It’s rather hard to teach like that. Then the next year, we had an infant—this posed some problems. The next year, that infant was a toddler—more issues! Then my health started to go awry. Then my son’s health began to challenge us. That’s been a pattern for the past several years, really. Some how though, through all of this, my daughter, and then my son, learned to read, write, spell, study the Bible, history, science, grammar, vocabulary, robotics, art, and math (these are not listed in order of importance).

There’s a well used verse in Christian circles: Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  

These past nine years have held some important lessons for us all. I think all our food allergies and health challenges have brought the idea of God’s providence clearly into view for my children. They are learning from a young age that God is directly involved in all aspects of our lives–and we can and do rely heavily on Him for our day to day strength.  God’s word is active and alive in our lives, not just stories printed in a book. Most importantly, prayer isn’t something to do when you are caught in a jam, but an ongoing conversation with our heavenly Father.

SO, what’s this year going to look like? Is it going to be normal? After 9 years of doing this, I think the answer is unequivocally ‘no.’ However, this year, as I learn to put my health in the Lord’s hands, I’m turning over every other aspect in my life to Him as well. What are my expectations of our school year going to be? We’ll be putting one foot in front of the other as we all keep our eyes on Him.

What do you think? Leave me a comment :)

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