The other night as I was an audience member for a homeschool musical theater production of the musical Annie, I was once again struck about how unique Christian homeschooling is as a cultural trend. What begins as a desire to provide a distinctively Christian education to children under the hands-on guidance and direction of the parents, evolves (yes, I use that word intentionally) into a community of caring and productive families eager to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Guests who are not accustomed to homeschooling circles almost always remark at how well-behaved and orderly the children are, and how readily they take direction and show respect for those in authority. If you, like me, are used to such things, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. One woman, who had been a teacher in public schools and Sunday schools for over 40 years, was dumbfounded that 80+ children under the direction of about 5 - 7 moms were so cooperative.
After the show, people hung around to talk for twice as long as the show itself. One homeschooling mom commented, "You know, being part of the homeschooling community is like living in a small town in the midst of a big city." I was struck as to the accuracy and insight of that statement. I've been part of many groups, both Christian and secular, and nothing compares to the dynamics of homeschooling families interacting with one another.
The following day I received an email that went out to the Coram Deo Chorus email list. Here is the text:
Hello Dear Coram Deo Parents,
As we are new this year to the choir, I wanted to thank everyone for your gracious inclusion of me and my four children into your circle. My kids are thrilled to have new friends, and a place where they can grow and laugh and learn together with other homeschooled families (this is the 1st year I have homeschooled them). It is challenging for me at times to be the only single parent among you, but I have experienced friendship & acceptance, for which I am grateful.
To most of the students in the Annie production, it is a cute and amusing story of "rags to riches". To our family, this particular play is very close to home, since some of you know that as a single mother, I have recently adopted all four siblings. The pain of loss, the desperate desire to be loved by birthparents, the mixed blessing of adoption, the stigma of being "orphaned", and the longing to be wanted, are all realities that my children have LIVED, not just performed on a stage. It is recent pain for them, and yet they live in joy and gratitude, which is the truest miracle of God's amazing grace over them.
God bless you all for your efforts with your kids (and mine!) They will carry these memories forever, I am sure.
Isn't it amazing, that when parents whose primary goal and desire is to provide a daily context where their professed faith parallels their confessed faith, that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. May God be pleased to strengthen the bonds and resolve of Christian homeschooling families everywhere.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].