Here we are in the thick of fall, trying to find the breathing spaces in our new school routines. The burden of everything that must be accomplished today, tomorrow, and the next day is heavy. The daily demands of teaching and mothering can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially when you haven’t quite found your stride yet. A season of pregnancy or infanthood piles on physical exhaustion as well, and although I don’t currently find myself there, I remember. Fall can be really hard on a homeschooling mother. In the midst of this transition period, an unexpected joy snuck up on me. It happened at church on a Sunday morning. And then again on the next Sunday morning. And the next. Sisters in Christ have been asking me how school is going.
There’s a strange thing that sometimes happens to homeschoolers in social situations with friends and family who don’t homeschool. We exchange greetings and inquire about each other’s families and daily lives, but over a series of encounters it can sometimes become clear that there is one topic that is not of interest. Our homeschooling is sometimes treated like it is invisible, unmentionable. I love my friends and family who don’t homeschool, whether they take an active interest in my homeschooling or not. I understand that my homeschool days may not be of interest to everyone and that the topic may be uncomfortable to some people. At the same time, homeschooling occupies a huge portion of my time, my thoughts, and my energy. It would be hard to know and love me well without acknowledging that piece of my life.
Of all the places I go throughout my week, church is the place where I want most to feel welcomed, included, loved. Here Christ extends to me his welcome and unconditional love in his Word. What a blessing it is when I also feel that welcome and that love in the interactions I have with my brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are members of the body of Christ with me. How difficult it would be to feel united as a member of that body if my brothers and sisters treated this choice of ours, a choice to bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord, with disdain.
Our choice to educate our kids at home is different. It may be hard for people to relate to or to understand. And so it might feel safer to others to just not bring up that slightly strange topic. But it means so much to me when members of my church family take the time to ask how homeschooling is going. I so appreciate it when they take an interest in this area of my life and choose to be an encouragement to me. Brothers and sisters, thank you for loving us well.
Amanda Moldstad is a co-founder of the Lutheran Homeschool Association. She and her husband, John, homeschool their five children in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.