“Your son has won an award. There will be an awards ceremony at the school on Thursday at 9:15 and you are invited to attend.”
That was the phone message that I received from my son’s high school last week. There was no hint of what kind of award he had won, but that didn’t matter…Doug and I would be there.
Once we arrived at the school, we found our friends Steve and Risa, who explained the drill. At the end of every semester there is an awards ceremony. Each teacher selects a few students who have excelled in some way and honors them with an engraved medal.
Several parents arrived early, cameras in hand. Eventually, the entire student body arrived, pouring into the auditorium with animated, energetic chatter.
The principal welcomed all of us before introducing the first teacher. In a group this size, I expected that each teacher would say a few words, then call out the names of the students and that would be that. I could not have been more wrong…and happily so.
For the next two hours, I watched as teacher after teacher took the podium and often struggled with tears as they spoke in a heartfelt manner of the students they were honoring.
These are people who truly care…they have chosen to be on the front lines in order to invest in the lives of these young people; to develop their budding intellects, to encourage their dreams, and celebrate the young adults they are becoming.
One teacher could not even continue her speech about a graduating senior. Overcome, she motioned to another teacher to take over for her and read her prepared statement. Another asked if the mom of one of her students was in the audience. When the woman timidly raised her hand, the teacher ran over to give her a hug, thanking her for raising such a wonderful son.
The applause as each deserving student came forward to accept their award was heartfelt and enthusiastic.
As our son walked up to the stage to receive two medals for academic excellence from his teachers, I was filled with two things: pride for his accomplishment…and most importantly, gratitude and awe for my great and faithful God.
So many years ago, when He was making it quite clear that we were to homeschool our children, I was flat out petrified. Finally, one morning, after staring at the mountain of unavoidable evidence of God’s will, I begged Him…with tears in my eyes…to show me something from His Word that would absolutely clarify that this was His will. I knew that I would need that eternal Word to cling to as time went by and things got hard.
As always, He was faithful to answer that prayer. He is a loving Father who delights to give wisdom to His children when they ask. (James 1:5).
In my devotional reading that day were these beautiful words from the book of Isaiah: “Your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be your children’s peace.” (Isaiah 54:13).
I was right…there were definitely days when I had to go back and re-read that verse over and over again. I had to trust Him for the big picture when the days were rough and the enemy screamed into my ear that I was failing at this.
Finally, the day came last November when Josh quietly approached us and told us that he would like to go to high school full time. He was ready.
We sought the Lord and He said, “Yes.”
Everything came full circle for me that moment in the auditorium. Yes, I was proud of my son because he has worked very hard. But the most of all, my heart was full of praise to my beautiful God who lovingly guided me through those years and has greatly blessed my (sometimes shaky) obedience.
And just as I trusted Him for that season, so I will trust Him for this new one as I await His plan for this next adventure in my journey with Him.
He is faithful. Always.
7 responses to “A Promise Kept”
This was especially encouraging to me — A) for what we’re dealing with now and B) because my husband and I are also feeling led to home school and I’m dreading it.
I am so glad you were encouraged! When I knew that He was calling us to homeschool, I told Him, “I can’t do this!” And He said, “You’re right…you can’t. But I am going to do it through you.” And He did!
I can tell you that now that my homeschooling days are over, I am SO happy that we did it. That time with your children is precious and goes by so fast. We were able to give them a solid foundation and it has been a wonderful thing to see them take flight from that foundation and soar.
I heard Steve Lambert (author of Five In A Row curriculum) speak at the first homeschooling convention I went to and I never forgot his advice. He told us that while academics are clearly important, the most important thing is the relationship you are building with your children. That is so true. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! 🙂 God bless!
The advice you got from Steve Lambert is so profound! Thank you for sharing that. It has totally changed my perspective on homeschooling. 🙂
Did you use a curriculum? What advice would you give a first-time homeschooler? I was homeschooled myself but, surprisingly, that doesn’t make me feel any more capable. 😛
Congratulations Josh! We are so proud of you and all that you have and continue to accomplish!
Susan: I so enjoyed our “visit” today. Talking with you is like having my devotional come to life. I am always so blessed, encouraged and challenged. You have affected my life, both personally and spiritually, in such a positive way. Thank you for “keeping it real.”
And, the laughter, it is oh, so sweet and so good for my soul!
Right back at you, sweet friend! I have no idea what I would do without you! 🙂 Love you too!
For what it’s worth, here is my homeschooling advice. 🙂
My main advice is to read, read, read to your children. I really never used a formal reading curriculum and my kids are avid readers today. Use the library. Allow them to pursue their passions til their hearts are content. God built children to learn and they will. Do not be a slave to the curriculum. If you try something and it doesn’t work, put it aside and try something new. Homeschooling is NOT school at home.
And if the weather is beautiful outside…ditch the schoolwork for that day and go PLAY! That’s the beauty and freedom of homeschooling.
A book I absolutely loved is called “The Joyful Homeschooler” by Mary Hood…I referred to it again and again when I needed the encouragement. It was without a doubt my homeschooling “bible.”
Another invaluable book is “Things We Wish We’d Known” compiled by Diana Waring, as well as “For The Children’s Sake” by Susan MacCauley.
I would highly recommend attending MassHope in Worcester, MA. (if you live in New England). It is a fantastic resource…there are a TON of vendors and fabulous workshops. Go to http://www.masshope.org to find out more.
Homeschooling co-ops are a wonderful resource as well. Google some in your area.
As far as curriculum, for the little ones I really liked “Five In A Row”, a literature based/unit studies curriculum.
Our favorite history curriculum was “Beautiful Feet.” The kids loved the stones and I learned a lot too!
Apologia’s science is top-rate.
For math, my kids loved Teaching Textbooks.
If your kids like the computer and are self-directed, Switched On Schoolhouse is pretty comprehensive.
For older kids, Wordly Wise & Easy Grammar Plus are good.
I would also suggest going to http://www.rainbowresources.com. They will send you a (huge) free book and it reviews ALL the homeschooling curriculums out there. All you have to do is request it.
is it hard at times? Yes! But nothing worthwhile is ever easy. The rewards are tremendous. That time never comes again, so enjoy it. God has called you to this and He will equip you for it. You are His “Plan A” for your children! 🙂
Thank you so much for this information, Susan!! I am going to try to get my hands on The Joyful Homeschooler for sure. I was talking to a friend yesterday about curriculum and she was talking about the Weaver curriculum. I really like the sounds of it so I’m looking into that one. But I have your comment flagged in my email for future information. 🙂 Thank you again!