Home schooling is a frequent discussion topic in our house, not only amongst 'outsiders' but between me and Matt too. We want to make sure we are doing the right thing, and for the right reasons, so we regularly chat about our plans.
There are days when the children have taken turns to scream at me for an hour, the laundry is piling up, the dishes need doing and the floor is a mess when I think to myself 'you know what, school is a great free baby-sitting service!' but that's just it, the pro's and con's list we make up is nowhere close to balanced. There are only two pro's I can see to sending my children to school.
i) I get a break - this, I'm told by our society, is reasonable and in fact, my right. But what does the bible say about my rights? It says I am to lay them down and die to myself. A self-centred society tells me I need 'me time' and that 'happy mommy = happy family' but it's just a veiled way of saying 'live selfishly, everyone else will be fine'.
ii) home schooling costs - I have no idea how much it will end up costing us, but it will certainly be more than if I sent them to school. Not just curriculum and resources that I need to buy, but field trips and lessons/coaching in things I can't provide (gymnastics, swimming, etc...) which are provided or heavily subsidised in school. Also, because I don't have the 'free child care' facility of school, it is unlikely that I will ever reach my full earning potential, so we have to rely (for the most part) on a single income.
I am always so encouraged though, when I read about other home schooling families who are trusting God for their provision, such as Kimberly Eddy, who writes that her family lives near the poverty level ("Can God Provide? Even Beyond the Budget?" ). Yet they are able to generously give to their church and show hospitality to others. She says that she could fill a book with her blessings and lists some. I will give just a few:
- God supernaturally blessed our garden, and we canned about 500 jars of vegetables, did a lot of dehydrating, and froze a lot too.
- God provided clothing for my children all year long through people who just felt led to give us things though we never expressed a need.
- Someone this past week gave us a couch, and it matches our living room!
- We got a lot of free bricks to use for landscaping (also a want that was met without expressing it).
- Our neighbor gave us five bushels of pears.
What this means is that, when you put God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, and home schooling is certainly a way to do that, God will provide your needs. Mother may have to quit her job, and you may have to lower your lifestyle, but God will provide.
Zan Tyler lists five ways that financial constraints can actually be a blessing. I don’t want to plagiarize him, so I will list them in only abbreviated form, and you can read his entire article here: ( "The Blessing of Living on One Income" ).
- Financial constraints force us to choose wisely.
- Financial limitations cause families to work together as teams.
- Limited finances keep our children from being spoiled.
- Financial limitations can keep us focused spiritually.
- When we choose to homeschool and to live on one income, we freely choose to limit ourselves financially. We demonstrate powerfully to our children, on a daily basis, that we value them more than we value things.
I love that last one. Putting the kingdom of God first means that you will have your needs met. It does not mean that you will live like the rich and famous. It means that you will be showing to your children that being rich and famous in this world is not a priority. You will be showing them that the kingdom of God comes first.
So, how can I afford to homeschool? By knowing that God holds parents responsible for the way in which their children are brought up and educated and that this is a crucial way in which we put the kingdom of God and His righteousness first. Then I can have confidence that He will see to our needs.
I can afford to homeschool because God sees to it that I can afford to homeschool. It is as simple as that.