Testing the Waters
My husband is from New England and for the past several years we’ve gone up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to visit with his family for a family vacation. The beaches at Cape Cod are beautiful! There is a quiet, peaceful atmosphere on those sandy shores that I just love. The sound of the ocean waves pounding the shore, the taste of the salt air, the feel of the warm sand beneath my feet, the sunshine on my back, the smell of the Banana Boat lotion on my skin. How relaxing! I am perfectly content to sit on my beach chair and read my book, just enjoying God’s beautiful Creation.
When I get too hot, I stroll over to the water’s edge and put my feet into the water. This however, is not enough for my 4 teenagers. The problem for me is New England ocean water is just too cold!
“Mom, why don’t you ever go ALL the way into the water?”
“It’s too cold.”
“It feels great! Mom, once you go all the way in you get used to it. Come on! It’s fun!”
“This water’s freezing! No thanks. I’m content just standing right here.”
“Mom, you really aren’t going to the ocean if you don’t get all the way IN the water!”
And of course, they are absolutely right. I can’t see the swirl of the ocean water quite so well from the safety of my beach chair. I don’t see as many shells. I can’t experience the thrill of riding the waves. I really have not fully experienced a vacation at the beach without going totally in.
Occasionally, my husband and kids find it necessary to pick me up and throw me into the water!
In a way, I think this compares to the homeschool adventure. It can be very tempting to “test the waters”, to try homeschooling for a few weeks, or even a month or two, “just to see how it goes.” The problem with this tactic is that it really takes several weeks or even a few months to get into a good routine. Every job has a learning curve. Many jobs have “probation periods”. New employees will not receive their health insurance benefits until they’ve worked at a company for a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks. Why? Because employers know that new employees are most likely to quit or “not work out” within that time period.
And so, when approaching homeschooling with a “testing the waters” attitude, the homeschool teacher may actually find it harder to succeed. Over the years I’ve found from my own experience and from observing others, that it is better to “throw yourself in” for a 1 year commitment. To make every effort to create the best education possible for our little ones for one full year. To commit to following God’s leading, to pray for patience, to trust that God will work out the “kinks” and problems that occur within those first few difficult months, to know that if He’s called us to this type of education, He will provide a way to make the “rough ground level and the rugged places a plain”.
I have been homeschooling for about 13 years now, and without question, the first 6 weeks were the hardest! I am so thankful I stuck with it! Had I given up so soon, I would have missed out on seeing so many blessings that have come to our family as a result of homeschooling.
The call to homeschool our children is not easy. But I’ve found that those hard paths God has called us to walk have also been the most rewarding!
Child of God, may God give you wisdom and patience! May He bless you with supernatural endurance to carry you through this difficult path. I pray that during the course of this year, you will begin to see the good fruits of your labor!
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Isaiah 40:4 “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.“
James 1:2 – 3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.“
Copyright September 6th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette
All scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)