Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

A man who lives without honor will not gain by education

Yep, you’re in training, too.

A certain disservice has been done to parents by some who have portrayed home education as a kind of perpetual wonderland. We are given the impression that if our children are not always having fun, it’s because we are two structured, stiff, and formal. While this could be true at times, and certainly there should be time for fun and pure adventure, parents should be prepared for many routine and tedious days. This in itself is not inherently evil. Children need to gradually learn how to stay with a routine job and see it through.

For you, this will take much time, effort, and creativity. It will also require your decision to sacrifice other interests for this goal. Why not let someone else chair the church committee? For our own good, it will be better if we don’t take on too many outside responsibilities during this season.

Commit yourself to doing one thing well.

It’s hard to put our own ambitions aside for the long season it takes to raise a child. Society has told us that we’re not fulfilled unless we work and serve outside the home. But it’s for the welfare of the entire family if we resist the urge to get involved in too much stuff. If we commit ourselves to doing one thing well, we won’t feel so scattered or have torn loyalties.

Throughout the ages, those who have made great achievements in sports, the sciences, music, and other fields have done so by the single-hearted concentration to their goals. Think of the goals you want for your children. Understand the commitment that will take, and be prepared to pay the cost.

When I was homeschooling, that meant that within a certain time each day, I dedicated my energies to my children. Without apologies. People eventually learned that I wasn’t generally available to chat on the phone, babysit, or run a church ministry outside the home during those hours. While it’s healthy to include a broader community in your homeschooling and have time for your own emotional health, trying to “do it all” will do you in. Set your eyes on the prize, commit yourself to the race, and put on spiritual blinders to keep you from getting distracted.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Prepare for the distance.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. -1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB)

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, caregiver, and veteran homeschooler. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

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