Seventeen Down – Thirteen to Go

Seventeen years and three graduated homeschooled students ago, we began homeschooling. Now our youngest (unless the Lord has a big blessing in store for us) is entering kindergarten. Thirteen years and five more graduated homeschooled students from now, with a thirty-year homeschool career, I expect to retire from homeschooling.

Recently my mom was doing some cleaning and organizing. She came across the letter I had written to them about our plan to homeschool. This letter was written by a young thirty-year-old mother of three. As I read that letter, tears of gratitude filled my eyes. There was no one less likely to make it a year as a homeschooling mom, let alone what will be a career of it, than me!

I want to share part of that letter with you. As you read Mom’s Corners, you may be tempted to think that homeschooling has been a natural part of my life. I expect as you read this letter, though, you will come to a different conclusion. My prayer is that you may be encouraged that if Teri can do it, I can do it!

Summer 1985

Dear Dad and Mom,

I almost called you today to tell you what I am going to write in this letter but decided to give you some time to digest this information before we talk rather than have you try to conceal your shock and figure out what to say. Now I’m sure I have your curiosity aroused.

I am going to homeschool the boys this year and maybe a few more if this works out. I can hear the silent pause at your end now—you literally can’t believe that last sentence. From anyone but me perhaps, but not Teri—not the Teri who often questions whether she loves her kids, who can’t stand to be around her boys’ fussing, who has such emotional downs and doesn’t think she is mother material.

Well, you know, as I know, God’s economy isn’t always our economy, and Steve and I can’t figure this out but can see God’s possibilities. I have always had a little desire, since I know some did, to homeschool. I always discounted it because I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even get Nathan to do his homework without a shouting match. The last three weeks, that desire has grown and grown among much reasoning on my part that there was no way.

Finally I brought it up to Steve, and we began to discuss it and pray about it. Last week for three days we practiced school. That is why you got a letter. Seems much more logical to practice writing by doing a letter than by copying sentences. We made our decision this weekend with the proviso of trying again this week.

I found some amazing things as we practiced school. First, I wasn’t fighting to get Nathan to accomplish what the teacher had said he had to in the way she said. We just did what I said and worked on it for a set amount of time. Although we did have a confrontation, it was the type of thing we had virtually every day after school last spring, and this was only one incident in three days with several concentrated hours together each day. Also, I began to see good qualities in them as we worked together rather than only seeing the fighting and fussing.

A major reason we are doing this is to give them more time to pursue their interests. There won’t be time for everything, but now there is time for none. Even if it takes as many teaching hours at home, they will gain the two hours they now spend on the bus to and from school.

Amazingly, without trying to bias, just presenting facts, the boys both (that is unbelievable in itself) want to do it. I didn’t think Nathan would want to give up peer time. Also, because I so often, as a mother, view myself negatively, I couldn’t imagine them wanting to be home with me all day every day. Nathan said he will miss his friends but it will be okay because he won’t have to go to the board to work a problem and be embarrassed if he messes up.

We plan to do this for at least a year. Only if I am a total basketcase will we quit after Christmas. If it is just not a great situation, then we finish the year, and they go back to Christian school next year. That is for a sense of commitment for me so I don’t throw up my hands one day and try to enroll them back in school the next.

August 24th is a homeschool conference near here which will be a great learning chance.

Four-plus pages is a long letter.

Bye and love,


Our reasons for homeschooling have changed immensely since we started. I would like to reminisce in the next Mom’s Corner about the benefits our family has experienced through homeschooling. However, this month my testimony is totally on a loving, faithful God Who could take the woman you see described in this letter and support her, mold her, change her, comfort her, challenge her, and grow her so that she could do what He had called her to do.

I believe this verse is the embodiment of my homeschooling life. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

There was nothing in my life to commend me to homeschooling except a heart to hear the Lord and be obedient to Him. If you are struggling in any way with your homeschooling, may I encourage you to rest in the Lord and continue on in your obedience to Him. Then look back in seventeen years to see God’s faithfulness!