I am a home school mom. I have homeschooled my children for almost six years. The area where I live is filled with many home school families however, I still draw attention and questions when I am out and about during the day with my children. When we are especially in places where there aren't home schoolers, folks will automatically say, "Aren't they supposed to be in school?" We smile and say that we home school and most folks say "Oh, that's cool." Some folks ask questions to my girls like, "What's that like?" or "Do you like it?". And then some people will go further and say, "When are you going to LET them go to school?"
I try to assume the last question is well meaning but it conjures a picture in my head that my children are tied to chairs in a dark basement being held against their will. And while it's really no one's business, I then explain that we enjoy our lifestyle and the kids have a say in how they are schooled. Some say, "What happened?" As if the only reason to home school is some horrible bullying situation or learning disability. While events certainly contributed and led up to our decision, I realize now that home schooling is my mission field. It's a mission I felt strongly that I could not ignore.
At the time that we began home schooling, my husband and I could see our children and many other children feeling lost and swallowed up. We could see that they were not learning to love others or to love learning. I don't blame the schools entirely for this, I believe many factors at play. The world at large is faster paced and childhood has been drastically shortened. My husband and I felt as though there was a tidal wave approaching our home and as we prayed, the answer we consistently received was, "Bring them home."
We don't judge those who choose to send their children to public or private school. There is an answer for everyone. But we have a choice in how we raise our children and we don't have to follow the crowds. As parents, we must choose what fits our family structure the best. We must choose what is best for our kids. Not because the alternatives are inherently bad, but because kids and families have individual needs. It is not about LETTING my child go to school, it's about choosing as a family what is best at a particular time.
Some people rescue animals, others feed the hungry and some teach reading to the illiterate. When God calls you to something, you can't stop yourself. You know immediately and deep down that this is your purpose. Home schooling is my mission field right now. I feel strongly that I can pour into my daughters right now in a way I might not be able to otherwise. I know awesome mothers whose kids go to public school and they are able to pour into their children...this is the way our family has decided to do it.
God sets inside each person a purpose and a mission. It takes a lot of prayer and listening and watching to understand what that is. Sometimes that purpose is only for a season, sometimes it's life long. I don't think anyone ever approached Mother Teresa and said, "So, when are you going to give this up and get a husband and a secretarial position somewhere?" That would be absurd. You don't interupt a mission. When God gives you a vision for your purpose, you obey and follow through because you are doing His work.
***When you know what your mission is, it is impossible to ignore. *** Nehemiah was purposed to build a wall to protect his community. In Nehemiah Chapter 6, messengers were sent several times to distract him from his work and asked him to come down off his wall to speak with them. Nehemiah replied, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”. So when the well meaning friend asks "When are you going to let them go to school?" I may reply, "We are doing great work here and we can not come down."
It's not that I think what we are doing is "better than" or above what everyone else does. It's what we were meant to do. I wouldn't ask my friend who rescues and fosters dogs, when is she going to stop because I'm sure those dogs cause a mess. She's clearly doing what she was called for! I have another friend who is passionate about the environment and every bird and plant in our area would thank her personally if they could. Another friend is a public school teacher and she speaks truth and life into every student she is granted to teach. It's clear when these women speak of their missions they know they are right where God wants them. They are confident and capable.
Missions aren't always easy and sometimes look messy. I'm sure Nehemiah hammered his own thumb a time or two. Sometimes my mission is messy and I get tired. Sometimes I'd like to come off my wall and run to Starbucks with a friend and drown myself in a Chai Latte. I know sometimes I see long term missionary friends in other countries who are weary and tired of the city sewage backing up into their home for a third or fourth time. But there's something peaceful about being where God wants you to be, even when it's different from what everyone else is doing.