We have now arrived at the place we intended to arrive at all along. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise, yet somehow parents have often forgotten to prepare for it. In everything and every way, we ultimately have to come to THE END.
Home education is no different. Neither is child rearing. Neither is life, for that matter. Still, for loving parents, letting the children go is hard. I don’t need to talk about those parents who can hardly wait to put their children in school or to grow up so they can carry on with “their” lives. When I see this happening, I tend to question why they had children in the first place!
Earlier, I mentioned the need for sacrifice when children are added to the equation of, mother plus father equals children. I explained that there were only two possibilities: parents sacrificing themselves for the sake of the children; or parents sacrificing their children for the sake of themselves.
Parents who have sacrificially dedicated themselves to their children by keeping the family intact, at home, where they were provided with the unconditional love required to grow and learn in keeping with who they were, are especially prone to these final fears and concerns. This level or stage usually involves parental tears, especially the first time around.
No other fears or concerns are more illegitimate than those associated with letting the children go. You heard me right! Thinking that your children have been handicapped by your choice of where and how they would be trained, taught and prepared for life is absolutely wrong for those who determined to do the job themselves, at great personal cost, regardless of what others, including the children, may think or say.
Nevertheless, parents often have their second thoughts and doubts. Therefore, I will present you with a few facts to establish and verify the superiority of a home education and to encourage you with the fact that you made the best decision when you determined to keep your children home.
This final stage of a child’s growth is the most painful, especially for mom, who has developed a deep relationship with her children not only by being a part of them since conception, but by pouring herself into them from birth. This not to say that dad is not going to suffer through the transitioning from child to adult, but usually they are slightly more able to “hide their feelings”.
However, both mom and dad are susceptible to the following:
The major fear that creeps in at this point is that of having failed to properly prepare the children for their lives. How is that possible? You kept the children home, loved them unconditionally, walked through all their trials, hurts and failures with them, and saw them through to responsible adulthood. There is no better preparation for life, especially if you included and focused on introducing them to their Creator.
Feelings of failure are standard for loving parents as we ponder our own inadequacies. However, parents giving of themselves for their children will soon discover that even though it may have seemed like sacrifice at the time, it was actually an investment! Indeed, the best investment possible in life. Not one that pays in interest which is actually a fraction of one, but one that pays in multiples. The Bible tells us to expect returns in thirty, sixty, even one hundred times.
This may not be evident right away, but who knows what impact we will have in the generations to come after us. Not only in terms of extending the family through grandchildren and more, but also in terms of the influence we have through our children.
Personally, I have made some pretty dumb investments in my time, but I most certainly got fantastic returns when I invested in (or sacrificed for) my children.
Being different comes with its own set of concerns. Yes, it is true that you did things differently than most others when determining to train and teach your children at home, but isn’t that what we all desire in the end? Our hearts naturally cry out to be uniquely recognized and appreciated. Home educating children get just that.
Besides, if we desire to leave the world in a better place, that is, to make a difference in this world, we have to be “different” in the first place. Home education “normalizes” the idea of being different, which is why the home educated are generally outstanding wherever they go. All we need is to take a look at God’s creation to see that to be different should not be a concern, but seen as a blessing.
What is it that we ultimately desire to do for our children? We want to best prepare them for their futures, for their lives. I want to tell you a story about a former student I bumped into a few years ago. Without knowing it, this student paid me the highest compliment a teacher can possibly receive, which I will share with you in a moment.
But, first I need to explain what I had been doing while teaching in a big city high school in Edmonton. For some reason, our school had six periods for each class in a week. This would make sense, of course, if there were six school days in a week, but in a five day week we were forced to have one day when we would have two periods of one class.
I felt that two periods of Biology 20 or 30 with me in one day was a bit too much to ask, so I would allow students to ask any question about anything in the second period. We called it “Question Period”. The students loved it and often begged or bargained away the Biology so we could have more time for this exercise.
When I met this former student, my father happened to be with me and asked the student what kind of teacher I was. The student answered that I was his all-time favourite teacher, which I always like to hear, of course, but what he said next was incredible. He defined what education is supposed to be all about.
He said that I was an “awesome” Biology teacher but had to admit he had pretty well forgotten all of his Biology. He then went on to say, “but the things you taught me about life during question period, Mr. Gaumont, I want you to know I hear your voice every day”! Wow! It does not get better than that for a dedicated teacher!
Think about this. What is it that parents ultimately teach their children? Everything that prepares them for life. If all your children want, is to be taught about and prepared for the realities of life, there is absolutely no better opportunity for doing so than when loving parents keep and teach their children at home.
You have done a tremendous job and you will see this many times as you and your children grow older, together. Go ahead, let them go in confidence.