I fell to my knees. My hands cupped my face. Tears fell into my palms. And I finally cried.
I wanted to know once and for all, “Is this homeschool thing for me?”
It sure didn’t seem like it.
Yet, He finally had me where He wanted me.
God, that is.
For months I’d suppressed the question, “Is this homeschool thing for me?” I’d wondered if I’d just made this whole “calling” thing up. If this was really what God wanted our family to do.
Each day felt riskier than the last. Three years in and I wondered “What on earth are we actually doing? Are we actually trusting ourselves to prepare our BLACK sons for academic success?”
And because fear begets more fear, I started worrying about other things. Financing resources. Hiccups in the family business. Lack of security without a corporate job. Crazy healthcare costs. Taxes.
The light at the end of the tunnel grew so dim that anxiety was the only darkness I could see.
And I fell to my knees.
“Lord!” I cried. “Show us…Show us that we’re walking on the right path. And if we’re not, give us the courage to walk away.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t cry anymore. It was as if peace had forced its way into my troubled spirit. I kneeled there, hands still cupping my face, and listened.
And then a voice said: “Deep down you know that putting your boys into public school isn’t the answer. Deep down you know you weren’t called to live life like everyone else.”
And that voice was right. I wanted to be “normal.” I wanted our family to be “normal.” But I also knew that “normal” came with its own set of problems. That I’d just be trading my current set of problems in for new ones—trading my current fears for new fears.
No. What I truly wanted was peace. Not to be “normal.” The peace of knowing that whatever happens, God works things out for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I tried to sleep that night, but I just couldn’t. I was thinking about this blog post. First, the title popped into my mind “Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling.” Then, I went through all the points in my head, as I lay there desperately attempting to enter into rest.
“Get up!” I felt a voice saying. “You said you wanted to know if homeschool is your calling, and now I’m giving you the concise reply you are seeking.”
So, I rolled out of bed at 1am and headed to the office with my notebook. Now, here we are: 5 Ways to Know If Homeschool is Your Calling. I hope this post blesses you as much as it has blessed me.
1. You have a vision.
Vision is everything. In our case, it’s what my husband and I couldn’t see that made our vision plain. When we started discussing our vision for the future of our son’s education, we couldn’t see him in public school. In fact, we’d initially planned on placing him in a private school once he reached school age.
It wasn’t until I’d stumbled upon a text illustrating the rise of homeschool that a lightbulb went off. I didn’t know anything about homeschool, but it seemed like the perfect fulfillment of our vision.
Homeschool seemed right. But it also seemed far-fetched considering we were in no position to homeschool at the time. Still, we envisioned the places we could travel with our children, the types of subjects we could teach them, the freedom our boys would have to learn at their own pace, and the freedom they’d have to be themselves.
Little did we know, after five years of flirting with the idea of homeschool, we’d finally take that leap of courage. But it started with a vision.
God always provides a vision, even when the calling isn’t meant to be fulfilled until decades later. God gave Abraham a visual reference to His calling on Abraham’s life when He told him his “descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Gen. 26:4). It took twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled.
Similarly, as a young man, Joseph had prophetic dreams that someday he’d be in a position of power and reverence. He could envision his family bowing down to him even though it didn’t make perfect sense at the time. More than a decade later, that vision was fulfilled when Joseph became second in command in Egypt.
It all starts with a vision.
2. It intimidates you.
I remember the mental struggle I went through right before submitting my Declaration of Intent to homeschool. The year ahead seemed very intimidating. I wasn’t sure if I could teach my son how to read, and I wasn’t even sure if I could teach him anything at all for that matter. I weighed the pros and cons in my mind. The cons scared me greatly and served as the foundation for my many objections.
What if my children don’t learn enough? What if they don’t make any friends? What if they hate it? What if they don’t get accepted into college? To ease my anxieties, I bargained with myself—and God—that I’d be brave enough to “try homeschool” for one full school year and see if it’s truly a fit for our family.
You know who else bargained with God when they received an intimidating calling?
You’ll read in Exodus that during the exchange between God and Moses, Moses had objections to leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He asked (Exodus 3:11). That was his first objection. His second objection doubted the One who sent him. His third objection doubted the people he was called to lead. His fourth objection doubted his qualifications. Finally, Moses just outright denies the calling and asks God to, “Send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).
3. You have to make sacrifices.
Financial sacrifice is among the most popular challenges of the homeschool lifestyle. After all, in a typical homeschool family, one parent must either refrain from working or cut back on work hours.
Our family is no different. The decision to homeschool meant we’d be taking a financial hit. That meant we wouldn’t be able to indulge in the luxuries of life without penalty. Dining out, family vacations, new cars, new gadgets, and other luxuries were few and far between. Instead, we put money toward homeschool resources, enrichment activities, and other necessities.
And that was just the beginning.
Essentially, we sacrificed our comfort zone—the ability to call ourselves a “normal” family. Nothing is “normal” about homeschool. It changed the trajectory of our life. It changed our thought-patterns. It changed the way we saw ourselves. It changed the way we saw the world. It forced us to connect with people who don’t look like us, think like us, or believe like us.
But there is nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to sacrifices and callings.
In the Bible, Moses had to sacrifice his comfortable lifestyle in the Egyptian palace in order to fulfill his calling to lead the Israelites to freedom. Esther was willing to sacrifice her life and position as Queen of Persia to fulfill her calling to save her people from slaughter. Joseph unknowingly had to sacrifice his freedom to fulfill his calling to become second in command in Egypt, where he’d be in position to save many lives from a severe famine. Catch my drift?
Homeschool may not be as profound as the aforementioned callings, but it does come with its own set of challenges that will force you out of your comfort zone.
4. It ignites a passion in you.
Even with all the intimidation, the challenges, and the sacrifices weighing you down, something inside you keeps pushing you forward. I’ve realized that “something” is called passion. Passion is the reason I get right back up after a bad day (or a bad week!) and keep going. Passion is the reason I don’t quit even when I want to.
Passion is the reason I’m writing this blog post and sharing my experience with a hope that you’ll be encouraged to fulfill your calling to homeschool.
Think about it. There had to be something that kept Moses going when Pharaoh kept saying “no.” Something that kept Abraham believing even up to the twenty-fifth year after a promise was spoken to him. Something that kept Paul going in the midst of ongoing persecution. Something that kept Jesus going until it was “finished.”
Passion gives way to unshakeable faith.
But it needs to be renewed daily.
If you find yourself losing the passion to homeschool, simply ask God to rekindle that flame.
5. It draws you closer to God.
When God calls us to do something out of our league, we’re going to need Him! He puts us in this position of total dependency so that He can receive all the glory. So that we can never take credit for what we couldn’t possibly do without Him.
I once thought this homeschool journey was essentially about my children’s education. I was wrong. Everything God calls us to do is always about advancing His Kingdom—about drawing us closer to Him so that we can draw others to Him.
For me, drawing closer to God means that I’m growing in love, character, perseverance, and faith. And I know with certainty that my children have front row seats to my walk with God—That I am teaching them through my actions how to respond to challenges, disappointments, setbacks, fears, blessings, mercy, and favor.
I love Solomon’s plea to the Lord, asking Him for more wisdom and knowledge to govern His people (2 Chron. 1:10). But where did this plea initiate? During his father, David’s, reign, Solomon observed the value of divine wisdom and wanted to lead God’s people as faithfully and successfully as David had.
When I think about this scripture a question comes to mind: Are my children inspired by my walk with God or discouraged by it? After all, they are the future of God’s kingdom.
I want to end this post by saying all callings have a season. Some of us are called to homeschool for the full eighteen years, while others are meant to homeschool for less than half that time. However long or short your season is, remember that God is with you through it all and He will give you everything you need if you just ask Him.
Obviously, these aren’t the only ways to know if homeschool is your calling. I want to hear from you: What inspired you to homeschool?