What If?


I fret I am not preparing him well to meet the demands of life.

-Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of President Abraham Lincoln


OK, so she didn't really say that.  I made it up.  But what if?  What if in that little one-room cabin Mrs. Lincoln had her doubts?  It was she who bore the burden of young Abraham's education.  It was she who taught him to read


Do you ever fret over your children's academics?  I know I do.  And as a beginning home educator, I felt I needed to prove myself to my parents, my husband's parents, our friends and colleagues, and, well, the world.  It was a happy day when my firstborn read his first small sentence on his own.  I called my mother and had him read it to her over the phone.  And although the accomplishment was his, I shared in the work that it took to get him there.


The burden we homeschooling parents carry as we realize that WE are the ones who bear the responsibility can be mighty overwhelming.  I can't blame the teacher down at the local government school.  I can't blame the lack of funds or the poor curriculum choices our school board has made (alhough our own personal school board- my husband and myself, of course- has made our share of mistakes).  No, I am the one who shoulders this whole kit and kaboodle.

I admit I lie awake some nights and think, "What if?"  And it's a tricky thing because I have spent the last 13 years instructing my children not to say, "What if?"  When I allow myself to dwell on the possibilities rather than the reality of what we are accomplishing, I can easily work myself into a monster of a dither.

And there are so many things to teach, to train, to input into each life.  Even if I only had one child, the work is immense.  I look at one and think, "Will his work ever be anything but sloppy?".  I look at another and think, "When will maturity kick in?"  I also wonder if parents who send their kids to school fret over this stuff.  If the kids are out of sight, are their struggles out of mind?

But there is a verse I keep coming back to when I tend toward overwhelmed:

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord,

"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you

a hope and a future."

-Jeremiah 29:11

So there it is.  God's plan is to see this homeschooling through to the end.  I may have to do the work, but if it is His work, then the yoke is easy and the burden is light.  His plans will prosper us and not harm us. And you know what else? His plans will not be thwarted by my feebleness. He is God. We can rest in the knowledge that Jesus paid it all, and it is finished.