I’ve been in the homeschooling community for quite some time. I was educated at home from kindergarten until I graduated high school in 2011, and this upcoming school year will be my third year as a Challenge director. I’ve seen the best and worst of homeschooling through the years. In my experience, one of the most unfortunate trends is when parents find themselves giving up on homeschooling.
There are many reasons parents may stop homeschooling their children. I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush, and I greatly appreciate the nuance of discussions surrounding a family’s educational decisions. But, if you are a family teetering on the edge, if you are trying to decide whether or not to continue homeschooling, let me ask you to consider Moses as you deliberate.
Exodus 3-4 details Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush. It is out of the bush that God commissions Moses to rescue the enslaved Israelites suffering under the hand of Pharaoh in Egypt. But Moses doesn’t react the way we would expect. Most of us would probably assume that if God speaks to us out of a burning bush, our automatic reaction would be to carry out whatever instructions he gives us. This isn’t so with Moses, and it isn’t always so with us. Moses interrogates God with a series of skeptical questions. Despite continuing divine reassurance, he keeps looking for an excuse to wiggle out of the Lord’s instructions for him.
First, he asks the question, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Gen. 3:11, NIV). His concern is one of status, as he wonders what authority he has to address Pharaoh. But God assures him that he has divine support.
Unsatisfied, Moses then inquires who he should say sent him when the people want to know. In another moment of assurance, God reveals his name: Yahweh (“I am who I am”) and promises success in his mission.
Again, Moses doubts whether he will be successful and wants to know what to do if the people do not believe he was commissioned by the Lord. So God gives him a series of miraculous signs: the staff which turns into a snake, a leprous hand which becomes healed, and the ability to turn water into blood.
Almost comically, Moses continues to object because he’s skeptical about his public speaking abilities. The Lord robustly rejects his doubts because, after all, he was the one who gave humans the ability to speak in the first place.
Finally, Moses just requests God find someone else for the job. You can almost sense the frustration because he doesn’t even offer an excuse. He just wants out. Perhaps it’s the explicit rejection of God’s request or perhaps his attitude, but “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses” (Gen. 4:14a, NIV) as he again assures Moses that he will provide the means for success.
There is no record of a formal reply from Moses but the next chapter picks up with him obeying God’s command and returning to Egypt.
Like Moses, many of us ask a plethora of “what if” questions when God calls on us to do something unexpected, and it’s a question many prospective homeschooling parents ask themselves. Many families wonder, when their students reach high school, whether homeschooling is still conducive to their needs:
What if I can’t help with their Latin, math, science, etc.?
What if they miss athletic opportunities afforded by public/private high school?
What if they don’t get to socialize with peers their age enough?
What if they’re not equipped to go to college?
You could insert your own “what if” questions here, I’m sure. Nevertheless, the lesson learned from Exodus 3-4 is that if God calls us to a task, he also equips us. If you are not called to homeschooling, that’s one thing, but if you do receive that call, obey with courage which stems from faith in God’s ability to provide for us.
St. Paul reaches a similar conclusion in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 when he’s explaining the mysterious thorn in his flesh:
He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (NIV).
Homeschooling, especially through high school, can sometimes be a scary prospect. It may be a calling you feel is outside your skill set. That’s okay. Moses felt the same way. Don’t cop out because of an a priori doubt. Instead, allow God to equip you for the journey. Leap into the abyss of faith and let God guide your homeschooling journey. His grace is sufficient for you.