It was a daunting task, and the choice to start was even more difficult. Ralph and Lucy Cone were newly minted missionaries in an isolated island village in Alaska. They eagerly sought to serve their community, but they quickly realized that if their two sons were to receive a quality, Biblically grounded education, it would have to be through homeschooling. Ralph and Lucy knew that homeschooling their kids might offend people in the community, and could make the work of serving there that much more difficult (and it did). But they assessed their priorities and recognized that after their relationship with the Lord and their relationship with each other, their kids were their highest priority. So many young pastors and missionaries fail to understand that vital fact until it is too late. Before they are pastors or missionaries, they are parents, and the very best way they can make disciples is to first invest in the children that God has given them.
I was one of those kids. Because my parents modeled for me how to manage life and ministry as homeschooling parents, I grew up expecting that if God provided me children, they would be homeschooled. I learned from experience that the value of homeschooling was immeasurable: (1) the education could be solidly Biblical, (2) the parents would be able to be the primary influence in shaping the children’s character, and (3) there would be incredible freedom afforded to shape the education process around life and opportunity—tailoring the education for the child as a unique individual. I benefited from each of these advantages, and so did my lovely bride, Cathy. Her parents, Geoff and Jane Dell, also homeschooled her for a portion of her youth. We both were blessed by parents who were courageously committed to providing us the best opportunities to learn and grow, and because of their faithfulness we both sensed a responsibility to provide for our kids in the same way.
So, when God gifted Cathy and me with the stewardship of our two daughters, Christiana and Cara, we knew that for our family, homeschooling was the right choice. It was still scary, and it was certainly difficult. But unlike our parents, who were true pioneers and trailblazers in homeschooling, and who didn’t really have many examples to encourage them, we had examples to which we could look—our parents at the top of the list. What Cathy and I have discovered is that for those who have positive examples to look to, it is simply much easier to homeschool. We are thankful for those examples and want to encourage the next generation in the same way.
I am reminded of Paul’s encouragement in Galatians 6:9–10. Paul is exhorting the churches of Galatia to walk as spiritual people, strengthening and building up one another. He challenges them not to grow weary in doing good. Because God has instituted the principle of sowing and reaping (6:7–8), we can know that He will bring to fruition the investments we make in others. Paul told the Galatians that they would indeed reap if they would just remain steadfast in their sowing into others (6:9). He then reminds his readers that they should make the most of the opportunity they have to do good to others (6:10a), while recognizing the important Biblical order of priority (6:10b).
As homeschooling parents, you are making an incredible, life-changing investment in your children, and sometimes it may seem that you are not accomplishing what you had hoped. Sometimes the daily grind can blind us to the fruit that is being grown. This can happen in any area of our lives, which is why, I think, Paul made such a point to remind the Galatian Christians of God’s design for sowing and reaping. Be encouraged, parents. You are making disciples in a very special way. Stay the course. Remember that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15:58).
As I look back, I recognize that so much of how God has used Cathy and me in ministry has been directly related to the equipping we received through our parents’ courage and diligence. As we look around, we see many others who are similarly investing in their children and seeing fruit develop in their kids’ lives. As we look forward, we see the next young generation that needs Godly examples and encouragement. What an absolutely awesome stewardship to invest in the next generation that God will use to impact the world. Don’t grow weary, brothers and sisters—even in its most difficult moments, the task is well worth it, and our labor is not in vain in the Lord!
Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.