Glen and I try to "pray without ceasing" concerning our kids. Since before we began to homeschool, we have prayed about their education and which route to take. God had laid homeschool on our hearts long before He led us to it. They went to Christian school for several years before God called us to homeschool. Every year, we have tried to make sure we're listening for God's voice where their education is concerned. Are we homeschooling because we're called to it, or because it's the habit we're in now and we don't want to change what we're doing? Each year we have heard God say, "Yes! Homeschool!". Without a doubt, it has been His plan. This year however, we have had questions since the beginning of the year. Not for both kids, but for our daughter. She'll be in ninth grade next year and we have felt it would be a good time for her to go back - if it's God's plan. Everything I have read says your high schooler must be in agreement to continue homeschooling through high school. That makes sense. School is not an option, but they should start getting some input about how they are schooled. I just knew, given the choice, she'd pick school. She's SO social! She would also have the option of competing in sports and music competitions - which are important to her. My immediate response was "NO!". I cherish the time we spend together. I love that I am her biggest influence (some days, admittedly not the best influence, however!) My second reaction was to keep my feelings to myself. If I told Glen, I was afraid he would jump on the opportunity before I could give my input (in case you didn't know, I'm a recovering control-freak!), and if I told Grayson, she would definitely jump on the opportunity to spend more time with friends and less time with me!
After several days of feeling like I needed to talk to Glen (funny how God does this), I was relieved to know he was having the same feelings. Relieved and stressed out all at the same time. Relieved that I wasn't crazy, stressed that I may have to send her. We agreed to pray about it the rest of the year, then see where we are at the end of the school year. Neither one would ask Grayson's opinion for now - after all, we're the parents (and I already knew her answer!). Within a few weeks, we had both broken the agreement. While talking with her, I felt there was an opening in the conversation where I could ask without it being a major ordeal. I simply said, "Daddy and I are praying about whether we'll keep homeschooling you next year. What d'ya think?" She said, "I don't know". I don't know? She didn't jump at the chance to bust out of this joint? I dropped it, but talked to Glen the next day. Apparently the same kind of opening had come up in a conversation he had with her! She gave him more information, though (yes, I'm totally jealous!). She told him she was afraid that if she went to school, she'd lose her homeschooled friends. Wow. That's when it hit me.
I have grown very close to the moms in our homeschool co-op. They are some of the best women I know - committed to Christ and to homeschooling. I can call any of them or shoot them an email asking for prayer, and I know without a doubt they've got my back. They are encouragers and a support system that I've so needed and drawn from as I've homeschooled my kids these last four years. I began to realize that part of the reason I don't want her to go to school is because it may eventually lead to Riley going to school.....which would end our homeschool co-op days with other homeschool families. These are times I treasure. I know these ladies will always be friends, but I wouldn't spend as much time with them. I definitely have to take "me" out of the equation. "I" want more time with her, "I" want us to spend time with these families - but what does God want for our family? There was definitely something to what Grayson said. Will she lose her friends? Probably not. But will she spend alot less time with them? Definitely!
I'm realizing that even at thirteen, she gives this decision more thought than I originally gave her credit for. I still won't let her make the decision - that will be ours to make - by God's leading, but I'm considering her input to be much more valuable than I thought it would. God will definitely use her to help reveal His will to us!
For now I'll just be faithful to pray....and trust that He will work all things for His good and for ours.