I remember the first time I ever heard about homeschooling. We were visiting our friends Mike and Barb Webb in Colorado, who had just begun teaching their three boys at home. As with many of you, my first reaction was, “Can you do that?” Barb laughed and assured me that, yes, it was not only quite possible and legal, but it was also extremely fun. Barb, Mike, and the boys spent the rest of our visit showing us the fruits of homeschooling: taking us on a picnic-turned-berry-picking-adventure in the mountains, making jelly from the wild berries while listening to Mike and the young boys discuss deep scientific topics, watching those rough-and-tumble boys play oh-so tenderly with our 16-month-old daughter, and recounting story after story from their homeschooling experiences. The boys delightedly identified birds soaring high overhead or butterflies and moths with only a fleeting glance.
Being a total newbie to this idea of educating my own offspring, I was full of wonder and questions. I should probably credit Barb with incubating the idea of being able to homeschool without loads of guilt hanging over one’s head. I had asked questions and listened intently to her answers for hours on end when I finally got around to The Big Question we all dread: How do you know you are doing enough? Barb’s soft but confident answer still echoes in my heart: “You do the best job you can, and you pray for God to clean up the rest.”
Her explanation was most likely prompted by a confused expression on my face. Barb went on to give me a spontaneous teaching on how God only expects us to measure up to our own “best” level, not anyone else’s capabilities. Once we have done our best, we have nothing to feel guilty about — we know we gave it all we had. Any mistakes we make along the way can be laid at the foot of the cross, repented of, and left in God’s hands. He alone is big enough to wipe away the tears and scars of past hurts. He alone is able to call us by a new name and give us new lives. He is the one who makes us new creatures — all things become new in Him.
Moms and Dads, do the best job at homeschooling that you are capable of doing. Pray for wisdom and guidance, knowing that God will give it — He will not give a stone when asked for bread (Matthew 7:7-11). Then pray for your insufficiencies to be covered by His grace. God is more than capable of filling in the gaps we leave. After all, God is the One who invented this homeschooling process in the first place (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).