As I continue to reflect on my own upbringing, I offer the following two analogies of godly parenting and homeschooling. I trust they are an encouragement to you as you raise your children and help you answer questions others may have about your decision to homeschool.
How Homeschooling is like a Day at the Beach
I had a rather sheltered homeschool experience. If what you imagine by sheltered is something restrictive or fearful, may I reframe this word for you?
My sheltered childhood was like a day at the beach: sun, shells, bikinis, beach balls, and all. The sheltering I had was a shaded awning, like something made from bamboo and dried palm fronds. The sea-breeze could flow in with the sights and sounds of life. I could go out and come back. I had a safe place to be, protected from rain and cold. I was not tossed alone into the world. I was sheltered, covered, protected . . . and free.
Sure, I got sand in my shorts. The air occasionally was fishy. Sometimes I got sunburned.
But despite this mild discomfort, my parents let me dig moats, fly kites, talk to people, explore, run, play, discover.
The world was open to me, and I was encouraged to interact with it and, in doing so, to exhibit God's love and grace to any and all whom I met along the way.
Life does not disrupt the kind of sheltering I had. Because as we read our Bibles and various biographies and learn together, we encounter complex characters and situations. We learn about life. Like anyone, we can be disheartened and disillusioned. But we're not huddled in a house, hoping nothing gets in. We are standing on the shore, looking out.
How a Homeschooling Parent Is Like an Archer
When I took archery in college, one of the first things I learned was that how they shoot in the movies is all wrong. Real archery is quite different from the big screen:
- Archers shouldn’t grip tightly to the bow as they release an arrow.
- Archers leave the hand open with the bow resting between thumb and forefinger.
- When the arrow is released, the bow falls forward and hangs from a little rope around the wrist.
- This action keeps the archer from accidentally jarring the bow as the arrow leaves his hand.
In other words: Archery is all about keeping your hands open and your body relaxed, as you point the arrow where it should go. Doing so actually makes the arrow fly more accurately toward the target.
The Psalmist compares parents to archers in Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” What a beautiful picture of parents as archers: Hands open. Body relaxed. Pointing your children toward God.
Prepare your children for flight—and then release them.