If you’ve had a chance to visit my blog NextGen Homeschool, you may know that I am a homeschool graduate who is now homeschooling my three daughters. On this month of thanksgiving, I’m sharing my thank you letter to my mom, a reflection on why I’ll always be grateful for the unique experience she gave me and the Godly heart that motivated her to do it. I hope that it will encourage YOU in your personal homeschooling journey: Your children WILL thank you later!
I’ve come a very long way since the day you decided to pull me out of high school and homeschool me along with my six younger sisters and brother. I have to admit that at first, homeschooling felt like a punishment. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that you felt called by God to homeschool your children for an eternal purpose, and that out of love, you didn’t want me to miss out on that blessing.
I had no idea how important your obedience to God would become to me as an adult, as a wife, and now as mother to my daughters. Although it was just two years, my homeschooling experience had a major impact on the direction I took and the decisions I made in life. Looking back, I can see that I was headed down a wide, self-centered path before you began to homeschool me; now I’m on a narrow road less traveled, letting God light my way. I have you to thank for helping me find my way and for being my example.
You set an example of courage to follow God’s calling.
You had so many detractors when you decided to homeschool, and I listened while you defended yourself time and time again. You were willing to step out of the box with boldness, and when challenged, you maintained the courage of your convictions. Even though I wasn’t yet sure I agreed with homeschooling, I was influenced by your faith to follow God’s leading to a completely unknown and difficult path.
I may have been the responsible eldest child with leadership ability, but until we began homeschooling, I was a follower. I was a chameleon taking on the colors of my surroundings so I could be accepted socially, letting my friends lead the way. Whether it was the cheerleading squad, the jocks on the swim team, the brains in the academic clubs, or the popular kids in student government, I was so concerned with being everything to everyone that I didn’t have an impact on anyone.
The last thing I wanted was to be different, and homeschooling made us very different. My former school friends never let me forget that. It didn’t take long to discover how superficial my high school experience had been. You reminded me that life would go on even if my social life came crumbling down, that God had bigger plans for me, and you were right.
I began to spend more time with friends who shared my faith, and I finally stepped out of my comfort zone, going on missions trips, counseling at summer camp, and inviting former school friends to church and retreats. I became more bold about sharing my faith, and I was starting to follow Jesus on my own. I wasn’t afraid to leave the best universities in California behind to attend a small Christian college in Oklahoma, where I would later meet my husband. Your courageous decision gave me the opportunity to see my life outside the box and to find my own strength to stand when I would later face similar choices.
You taught me to seek God’s wisdom while gaining knowledge.
It was fun learning French from you, reading history books I’d never heard of (and now recognize as “living” books), and using a computer at home everyday instead of a limited school computer lab. I am so thankful that you let me edit the screenplays you were writing and publish my own newspaper from scratch. The hands-on lessons we worked on together gave me a lot of confidence, and the knowledge you shared with me clearly shaped my future pursuits.
However, I will never forget the lectures at Carl’s Jr. while the little ones played on the outdoor playground, when you scribbled on napkins and drew stick figures for as long as you could keep my attention. But we weren’t reviewing history or practicing French: We were talking about Godly character. I know I wasn’t always the best student and I probably demonstrated more interest in the Western Bacon Cheeseburger bribe than our discussion. But I want you to know that I was listening — and I remembered what you taught me.
I didn’t always make the best choices in college, but your lessons were never far from my mind, and the Scriptures we studied were still hidden in my heart. God did use the wisdom you shared to draw me back to Him during some of the most difficult times I faced. I now understand this to be “discipling” — and it’s your discipling that made the biggest impact on me. It’s the reason I now homeschool my precious girls.
You showed me that God uses imperfect people for His perfect plan.
One of the most important lessons I took away from our homeschooling experience is that you don’t have to be perfect to take on God’s assignments: You simply have to be obedient. In fact, the more I live my own life with Christ, the more I see how gloriously God shines in and through our weaknesses when we let Him.
While we were homeschooling, I judged you unfairly because I didn’t think you were “doing it right.” I didn’t understand why school only took a few hours, why I didn’t have a fat textbook for every subject, and how household chores or teaching my siblings fit in. The house was messy, sibling rivalry was high, and you had little to no support. As I watched you struggle to juggle it all, I wondered why God would call us to this chaotic mess when things seemed “fine” before.
I can’t thank you enough for not giving up, for persevering through many ongoing challenges to continue to obey God’s calling. It was never perfect: In fact, it was mostly messy and difficult. But you didn’t give up, and God blessed us all because of your obedience.
Although I later struggled with my own decision to homeschool because I didn’t think I was equipped or ready, I didn’t forget your example — I just needed to be humbled. I had to let go of the perfection and let God use me as a lump of clay, just like He used you. And guess what, homeschooling is still messy and difficult. But I’m OK with that, because I know God has called me to it and He will use me just like He used you to accomplish His purposes.
I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to say thank you, but I am so grateful for the time you spent homeschooling me. Thank you for being an example of courage in Christ, for teaching me to seek His wisdom first, and for proving to me that you don’t have to be perfect to be exactly where God wants you to be. Thank you for obeying God’s voice and never giving up. You now have three daughters passing along the legacy of homeschooling to our children. See what you started? From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!