She's considering homeschooling. She's attended a few convention sessions and has been encouraged. But she's also terrified.
"I didn't realize this was a religious thing," she confides to me. "I..." she hesitates, visibly distraught.
"It's okay," I reassure her. "I can handle it."
She falters again before the story spills out of her like an overturned glass of milk. She comes from a religious cult that tore her family apart. After that, she gave up on religion. She's beginning to consider it again, but is afraid that her curriculum options will be too ... aggressive for her and her son. She's a single mom. She doesn't know what to do.
I feel tears welling up behind my eyes. I want to sit down with her for hours and talk about everything: Religion, Jesus, homeschooling, the Bible, healing, philosophy, relationships. But there isn't time. She's been glancing at her watch, anxious not to miss the next convention speaker. I've got maybe three minutes to tell her everything she needs to know before she's gone.
"Sonlight is a Christian company," I tell her. "We schedule Bible reading and memorization." I point to the Instructor's Guide sample before her. "This could be an excellent way for you and your son to get started with religion again. The Bible's a great place to begin, and you're just reading. Plus, with Sonlight, we want to educate, not indoctrinate. We want you to learn and talk through with your son what you believe and why. We don't want to beat you over the head with what you 'have to believe or else.'"
She nods and cracks a half smile.
I continue. "And the great thing about homeschooling is that we get to learn along with our children. You can do this! We're here to help if you ever have any questions. Homeschooling is such a great option. May you and your son be blessed as you enjoy learning together this year."
Another glance at her watch and she thanks me before walking off.
I take a deep breath.
My heart is still trying to chase her down, to assure her, to share with her the love and grace of Christ, to extend to her the offer of redemption, to encourage her to walk the difficult road of homeschooling ahead of her. Instead, my eyes fill with tears again as a smile plays on my lips. There's something very bittersweet about the privilege of talking to homeschoolers. I pray that my few words were what she needed to hear.
Sonlight: A missions-minded, Christian curriculum that also happens to be, in my biased opinion, the best option for those who don't find themselves inside mainstream Evangelicalism. Why? Because we value being winsome ambassadors for Christ. We strive to educate, not indoctrinate. We seek to see the world through God's eyes: Individuals and communities, dearly loved, in desperate need of grace and good news. And, ironically, I think that sets us up to be the "safest" to talk with. That means we don't isolate ourselves even if that would be "safer" for us. Rather, like Christ, we seek to be friends with sinners and believers alike... even if the religious around us would balk at the idea.
Has Sonlight's emphasis on missions changed your view of the world?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester