Dreams unfulfilled. Our lives are full of them. As a single person I dreamt of my perfect spouse, job, and home. As spouses we dream of our life and how to build our future. How do we fit God, family, saving, retirement into our lives. As parents we start our families with many dreams for the futures of our children. You know them all: a healthy life, marriage, education, a family of their own. I am sure we could make a long list, but as time passes we realize that there are empty hopes, many disappointments. For some of us the reality of life is not what we thought. I call it, reality misunderstood.
What shapes our dreams. What influences our reality? For me, it is several things. As I grew older and matured, my spousal dreams changed and my family dreams evolved. My Christianity affected my dreams, then my home school relationships affected my dreams. Every person, every relationship, every job, every church involvement, and yes, even my views of our government affected my dreams.
Now, as I have pondered my experiences , I actually realize the great importance of every mental, physical, and spiritual influence that fell into my life. One of the things I have learned is that I should have been more discerning about which of these experiences I should have allowed as part of my dreams. Although I am a great proponent of homeschooling, I have grave misgivings about some of the fringe groups of home schooling and some of the “gospel” they teach that we have “believed or bought” for a time. Although I am a firm believer in Christianity and Jesus Christ, I am extremely leery of the “church” and its structure. Although I believe in a small government, I also realize that there has to be “rules or laws” for the common good of the residents of this country. Although I believe that God’s laws should rule our hearts, I also believe we can’t legislate everyone’s morality. In the end, we will all stand before God and give account for our lives.
I have four children. Three boys and one girl. Their birth order is boy, girl, boy, boy. Our homeschooling journey was 12 years long. The reason for stopping was that my husband became ill and I had to work to provide good insurance. I tried homeschooling while working and no matter how I arranged my schedule, I just couldn’t do both and do justice to the education and life my children needed.
My oldest son, who is now 28 years old, was always a challenge from the day he was born. He wasn’t happy unless he was moving or watching something moving. At 3 months old he would sit in front of the TV and watch tennis. I could see his head moving side to side watching the ball go from court to court. I knew he was going to need lots of structure and a very disciplined life. My other children were easy babies and just followed along with the program.Part 2 will be posted next Monday!
So how would I implement my dreams for my children to be successful in their adult life. Being a perfectionist I wanted to do it the “right” way. I just figured there was a formula that would work. What better formula than “God’s” formula. My husband and I were very involved in a home Christian ministry that was very much a cult. At the time we were unaware. We decided that we would use the Word of God to raise our children. Instead of reading God’s word and asking God for guidance, we listened to other Christians in our ministry and their way of implementing God’s word. God’s word was very true, but the practical implementation of His truth was so wrong, but we were very naive. We were following a ministry’s idea of what God’s word said, and missing what God would really have us do. I am sure this contributed to some of the issues we have with our children. I also tended to be like my mom, I was going to yell you into obedience. Good gravy, my how I have changed since then. We got rid of the cult part of our life and moved on with God.
My two youngest started in public school. As time passed I realized this wasn’t working for us. I tried working through issues with the system, but they just would help educationally. Our adventure in homeschooling didn’t start for religious reasons. It started because I wanted my children to have an excellent and safe education. I took the opportunity to give them God’s word in their schooling hoping this would help them as they grew older.
Our homeschooling years were wonderful while we lived in a large metropolitan area. There was diversity in the homeschool community. We had a plethora of activities and organizations to help keep us active int he community. We did AWANA, sports, and all the usual things families did with their children. Sure, I was at wits end some days. We’ve all been there, but mostly, we were a happy crew. Then one day, our lives would change forever. My husband lost his job, and we moved to a small town.
It was a drastic change for our family, because even though they had a homeschool group locally, we lost all of the opportunities we had in large town USA for our children to be active. We did have co-op day and for a season we could play sports at the Christian school, but things were different and I felt like we didn’t fit. The only children my kids new were the local homeschool kids and some of them just didn’t like the way we lived our lives: TV, the books we read, computer games, you know it all.
Doubt again crept into my mind about how were were bringing our children up. By now, we had gotten rid of every Disney movie we owned, remember the fad that Disney was evil? No offense if you still think it is, it just wasn’t right for our family. So I started reading things by the P's, B's, L's, and the likes. I should have seen the red flag right away. Very drastic parenting!!! Very cold parenting done under the guise that doing it God’s way was loving. Doing it God’s way is loving but their ways were far from loving. They were harsh.
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