So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?
Exodus 16:2 – 3 “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
I love this passage.
One would think from only reading these few verses, that the Israelites were having a great feast while they lived in Egypt. The truth is, they were slaves. Their lives were bitter and harsh as Pharaoh and his slavemasters worked them ruthlessly. They wanted to go back to Egypt, but it wasn’t because things were good there, it was because living in the desert was hard. The Israelites were scared that their mission would fail — afraid they would never see the promised land — afraid because all they could see before them was dry sand.
Sometimes its easier to look back than to look forward. Just as the Egyptians looked back and remembered “sitting around pots of meat”, we can, as homeschoolers, look back and remember things wrongly as well.
“If I send my kids back to school, they’ll get a better education than I can give them at home.” Honestly, probably not in Philadelphia. A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that nearly 90 percent of Philadelphia’s public high schools performed in the lowest quartile on their SAT’s. In fact, according to this same article, there are only 10 public high schools in all of Philadelphia that are performing with middle to high scores on their SAT’s. So, as much as you may feel you’re failing as a teacher at home, chances are your child is actually learning more at home than he or she would at school.
“My house is so chaotic all day — trying to homeschool my child and keep up with my toddler and the baby. The younger ones are always interrupting him while he does his work. If he goes back to school, it will be a peaceful environment, good for learning, no interruptions.” It may be true that your child’s work is interrupted at home, but there would be plenty of interruptions at school as well. Teachers busy; trying to help as many students as they can; finding it difficult to get through the lesson plan because other students are interrupting the class with challenging behavior, with bathroom breaks, with difficulty in understanding, etc.
“If I send my child back to school, I’ll have more free time.” Maybe. Keep in mind the travel time it will take to get your child to and from school. You will still need to help him with homework at night, with projects, etc. You will need to attend parent-teacher conferences, recitals, and other school events. More time at school may equal less quality time with you, less time with his brothers and sisters, and less time to build family relationships.
“Homeschooling is expensive. If I send my child back to school, I won’t have to spend so much money.” Maybe. Keep in mind you’ll have to buy school uniforms and shoes. You’ll still have to buy your child’s backpack and school supplies. You’ll still get endless letters from your child’s school asking for help with their fundraising efforts. Homeschool curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive to be great. See this post for money saving ideas: https://phillyhomeschool.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/money-aving-tips-for-homeschoolers/.
“I feel so stressed out. If I send my child back to school, he’ll have a nice, patient teacher to teach him.” Maybe. Were all of your teachers kind and patient when you were young? Child of God, ask God to help you in this area of your life. Maybe the answer isn’t to send your child away; maybe God wants to work in your heart. He will teach you patience and how to be more like Him as you teach your children.
“I’m so busy; I don’t have enough time to teach my child Bible lessons. If I send my child to Christian school, he’ll hear the Bible every day.” Don’t count on it. Some Christian schools don’t have Bible lessons with the students more than once a week. Other schools may teach Bible class less often than that. The teacher at a Christian school may do little more than pray with the children before meals. God may be challenging you to make Bible lessons a priority in your home. See this post for ideas on how to en corporate the Word of God into your day: https://phillyhomeschool.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/preparing-for-battle/.
“Being homeschooled, my child isn’t getting enough social time. If I send him back to school, he’ll have time to play with other kids.” It’s true that your child will be around other kids all day, but he may not have time to play with them. More and more schools are cutting out recess and gym time. Many schools have bully problems, so your child may have unwanted interactions with other students. As a homeschooler, making sure your child has time with friends is important. See this post for socialization ideas: https://phillyhomeschool.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/what-about-socialization/.
“Homeschooling is so hard. If I send my child back to school, life won’t be so hard for me.” Homeschooling is hard, just as it was hard for the Israelites to live in the desert. But I’ve found that the things in life that were the hardest, that required so much of my time and energy, are the same things that have brought the richest reward. They are the same things my God has spurred me towards and graciously carried me through.
As the Israelites wandered in the desert, God provided them each day with the Manna they needed to survive. Homeschooling is a huge undertaking and an enormous commitment. But, Child of God, the Lord loves you! If He has called you to this great work, each day He will provide you with the strength, resources, and patience you need.
Don’t look back.
Joshua 1: 6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 11:19 “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up …. so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers….”
Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Copyright January 15th, 2013 by Gwen Fredette
All scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)