Friday, November 28, 2008

The Inadequate Homeschooler

Dana, over at Principled Discovery, recently had a post titled "A Homeschooler's Guide to Unhappiness". In the spirit of "misery loves company", she shared several of the pitfalls that are common to homeschool moms, suggesting that they are fueled primarily by feelings of inadequacy!
These would include things like:

  • trying to recreate a school classroom experience in your home
  • choosing curriculum based on what is most popular or what that "ideal homeschool mom" is using
  • zealously separating "school and educational experiences" from real life in your family
  • assuming that everything that goes wrong, or every flaw you see in your child's training or character, is the fault of his or her being homeschooled
If you have homeschooled for any length of time, then I'm sure you could add to this list. How about:
  • insistence on complete mastery of every lesson in every subject for every child
  • signing up for every class, field trip, club, sport, etc. so your child won't be "unsocialized"
  • OR withdrawing from all interaction with other people because of potential negative influences on our children
  • ignoring the benefits and encouragement that come from networking with other homeschooling parents, either locally or in online communities, and being a "lone ranger"
  • assuming that everyone else does this homeschooling thing perfectly, and you alone are a failure at discipline... lesson planning... discipleship...record keeping...parenting teens...etc.
Feel free to chime in....

We live in a society that reveres experts. We need experts to paint our homes, fix our cars, plan our menus, file our taxes, cut our hair, decorate our rooms, plan our weddings, fertilize our lawns, and groom our dogs.

People today seem to feel inadequate for just about everything - just look at the self-help section of the nearest book store! There are books to teach us how to stimulate the minds of our toddlers, keep our children from getting fat, talk to to our teens about sex, and get our kids into the best colleges. We read books telling us how to read the Bible. We listen to radio programs telling us how to manage our money. We watch TV shows telling us how to dress stylishly. We look to "experts" to tell us how to have a good marriage or be a good parent. Of course, only a trained expert could possibly raise and educate a child properly. Right?


If we go back about, oh, maybe 50 years, I think we'd find that all these things (and a good many more ) were handled at home ... by a "regular person".... who didn't have a whole lot of specialized training, but maybe had helped his or her mom or dad do those things in the past, or maybe even figured things out on their own. There was something called "the pioneer spirit", which caused people to believe that they could do things they had never done before... and succeed...even overcoming extreme difficulties and obstacles to do so!

How often does fear cause us to hand over the most important things in our lives to others, because they can "do it better"? Feelings of inadequacy can cripple us. They can cause us to cave in under pressure. They can distort reality.

It is also possible for feelings of inadequacy to be a blessing when they drive us into a greater dependence on God, our Creator!
Pastor Charles Stanley has an article called "Inadequacy: A Barrier or a Blessing?" that explores this very thing.

I am an Inadequate Homeschooler. But I rejoice that I have the Holy Spirit living within me, who gives me the power to do all that God would have me accomplish. I do not have to rely on my own feeble strength.

Ephesians 3:16-21
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

1 comment:

Mrs. C said...

Well said! I needed to read that right now. I feel encouraged.