In less than 2 weeks, first child is heading off to university in the east coast. I’m often asked how I feel about this and how ready I was to finally have one leave the nest. Of course, I will miss having this child around as we did these last 18 years. And I’m sure, foreseeing this now doesn’t lessen the gravity upon which everyone in the family will actually feel the loss come departure time. But I think that the nature of family life that homeschooling has allowed us to have has, in a lot of ways, prepared all of us for such a time as this.
1. Having this child home all these years has given her dad and me optimum time in guiding the shaping of her worldview. As parents, we have been her strongest influence these almost two decades of her life. And we have seen how as she grew older and more independent from our nurture, she has, in fact, become more influenced by our advice.
2. Since we know that we have passed on to her what we hold important and of value, then we have the assurance that she will be guided by those same principles in whatever situation she will find herself in the future. In the same way, we have shared with her our own experiences in the past and how we have learned from them in the hopes that she will have this wisdom when time comes she will need it.
3. Our homeschooling philosophy was always hinged on the idea that we protect our children when they are young and train them towards good to prepare them for when they are “not too tender” and ready to get out into the world on their own. Our keeping them home was never intended to shelter them and keep them ignorant about what goes on out there. It was to prepare them the best we knew how so they are, at least, armed in some way.
4. We have attempted to model to her the importance of not forsaking our relationship with the Lord – whether this means communing with Him, hearing from Him in His word, obeying and pleasing Him. She has witnessed how growing our walk with the Lord day by day continues to carry us through the seasons of life.
5. She has experienced how our family does life with a bigger community of people the Lord has brought our way. Wherever we found ourselves in the globe, we have always sought to establish an intimate connection to a group of families/people whom we met regularly to study God’s word together, share our joys and struggles with each other, pray for one another. We did this in obedience to the Bible’s command to not forsake the assembly of believers so that we can encourage each other until Christ returns.
6. Homeschooling has given us the context upon which to teach our children life skills. My children don’t wake up every morning in a hurry to run off to school and spend most of the day there, come home, and do homework oblivious to what is involved in running a household. Our schooling takes place at home where the children are witness to how it is run – preparing meals, housekeeping, shopping for clothes, yard work, doing grocery, sick children, keeping a vehicle, banking, house maintenance, insurance, caring for a pet, bills. All this is part of their home education. They will have ample ideas how to begin life on their own and eventually with a family.
7. Lastly, homeschooling has allowed me to tailor fit my child’s education to her unique personality, learning style, and interests. As well, it was an education that, I hope, would instil a love for learning. As a result, I believe it has definitely prepared my daughter for the rigor of academic life in university. More of this from my daughter and me in this post: An “Aristotle” Education for the College-Bound.
And thus, I have peace. Not that all will be well. I know there will be culture-shock. There will be difficulties, adjustment, challenges, obstacles. And that is precisely why we chose to homeschool. It will not be easy to live by our values amidst a world that goes against it. And so we do our best to prepare and shepherd and influence our children to love God and obey His word. To follow Jesus and live by His Spirit. He is our refuge and our stronghold. With Him, we are actually not alone. With Him, we can face what tomorrow will bring.