This last weekend Dave and I attended the homeschool conference. This is my fifth conference and I can honestly say that every year I glean something worthwhile. I find it very refreshing to attend an event with so many likeminded people. People who totally understand where I'm at and why I sometimes get frustrated. People who embrace homeschooling as normal.
As is typical, I discussed the conference at length with my pastor's wife. She and my pastor were very active in the Saskatchewan homeschooling organization when their kids were younger. I am very thankful for their (among others) contribution to the cause because they have truly made my path so much easier. Provincial legislation as well as the funding I receive is currently the best it has ever been, and I was told this weekend that presently Saskatchewan is considered the easiest province in Canada in which to home educate your child.
My pastor's wife and I have never been similar in our approach to homeschooling. She embraces the unschooled approach. I embrace the ducks in a row, regulated approach. However, I have changed a lot since I began and, although I don't think I will ever be totally unschooled in my approach, I have come much more toward the middle. I at least understand why someone would choose the unschooled approach. The unschooled approach is really suited to a laid back personality. In someone like me, who is far too intense, it would create grey hair and early baldness. And extra heart palpitations.
My pastor and wife have three tremendous kids. They are thriving and successful. They are excellent Christians. You really could consider them to be the poster children of successful parenting and homeschooling. As I was reflecting on the conversation I had with my pastor's wife, I tried to imagine myself following their exact prescription of homeschooling AND parenting because, quite simply, YOU CANNOT ARGUE WITH RESULTS.
And I had an epiphany. Maybe I'm just slow.
I realized that even if I did my best to follow their exact methods, there would be no way I (we) would have the same results.
Because I am not my pastor's wife.
Because my husband is not my pastor.
Because my kids are not their kids.
And, because sometimes I get myself worked up over my inadequacies, I felt like God dropped this little thought into my head and told me to "just relax".
It's not the unschooled approach. It's not the legislative approach. It's really not about education at all.
It's whether the parents are bonded with their kids. Loving them. Praying for them. Teaching them. Guiding them.
It's whether the parents (and not the peers) have their children's heart.
And within the context of our own unique family, God is the centre. He knows that with all of my little stinky pitfalls, my heart's desire is that my kids fall in love with Him.
After all, that's what really matters the most.
Disclaimer: I do understand that even when all of these essential elements to parenting are completed perfectly, there are still some children who make choices that break our hearts. All we can do is our very best.