Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.
Not because the state holds any special sway over me, but because of this:
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24
I work not for the state, not for a bureaucrat in an office deciding what is taught and when. I work for the Creator of heaven and earth. And as such, I approach each and every year not with an anxiety over whether homeschooling will remain legal, or if it might be affected by the political climate, or if the list of “thou shalt teach” will run afoul of my plans. I serve God in my homeschooling; He transcends all those smaller, earthly things.
I am accountable to the Lord, not the Department of Education. I can’t stress to you how much freedom this has given me in the years our family has been pursuing a lifestyle of education. If I’m being truthful, it also offers a formidable kick in the pants on the days when you know you’ve done what’s required but don’t feel like you have it in you to go above and beyond. When you’re accountable not to the policy wonk who decided that everyone earning a high school diploma needs three social studies credits, but to the Lord who says that from childhood you should be steeped in the sacred texts (2 Timothy 3:14-15) things look a little different.
As we walk into the school year labeled “2017/2018” I’m keeping my eyes firmly on the Lord, and my hearty work for Him. I suspect that the year will be memorable on more than one front. Consider:
Mary Hannah, a 2014 homeschool graduate, is undertaking her second freshman experience, this time at Crown College of the Bible as an Elementary Education major. She’ll be balancing multiple teaching jobs as well taking classes part-time: she has online students in both French 1 and 2, some local language students, and will be tutoring at CC. She’s both nervous and excited. And while I won’t be teaching her anything this year, I’m especially excited to watch her learn and grow into her calling.
This is Mathaus’ senior year. He’s awaiting news on his application to Bryan College for the freshman class of 2018/2019. Having already satisfied graduation requirements, this year will be spent focusing on Dual Enrollment classes, CLEP tests, and reading books from the Ambleside Online Y12 schedule. I’m trying not to get too misty-eyed over this last year, but I’ll be honest, it’s hard at times.
I’ve shared about Jack’s upcoming sophomore year here at home. He’ll also be participating in the CM education community that we’re starting here at the farm. In addition to his school work, he’s planning on continuing to work through the ranks at CAP. He was recently promoted to Cadet Staff Sergeant, his first NCO rank. I’m impressed at his dedication, and am very grateful that he’s found a place to develop his interest in flight.
Truth— I have no idea what grade Phin is in. The approach most widely embraced by institutional schools would say 5th. Every other mother of a learning challenged child just laughed along with me and said, “He is where he is. Your number means nothing.” So we’re plugging along where the numbers mean nothing, continuing to develop those literacy and numeracy skills and enjoying life along the way.
John Mark and Birdie are largely grouped together in school matters; this year, they will both be utilizing Form 1a with The Alveary. We’ll be adding a few other points of excitement (they are both enrolled at CC again this year, and will be part of the Living Education Community here at Floating Axe Farm), of course. Birdie is also auditioning for the local youth orchestra in a few weeks.
A funny thing happened last week. As I headed off to the store to buy Simon’s official school binder— the color-coded Staples Better Binder (affiliate link) I fill for each of my kids every year— Christopher stopped me.
“Um, he’s 4? Won’t be 5 until after Christmas.”
Somehow, I had spent the entire summer thinking I would have a kindergartener this fall. Nope! I get another sweet year of this little tagalong. And I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased.
And then there’s Jude. Our 2 year-old powerhouse isn’t quite as keen on spending his mornings playing quietly with the toys in the upstairs bedroom while Mary Hannah does her own school work as Simon was last year, but we’ll get there. Thankfully, he’s more than happy to join us for any book work (this boy loves writing implements of all kinds) and enjoys the Phin-focused OT part of the morning. Ah, toddlerhood.
Clearly, the Lord has entrusted me with much in this season. I am humbled, daily, by the chance to walk through life with these amazing people. While the local school authorities don’t share that joy, I know that the Author and Perfecter of my faith does. I’m glad to be working for Him.