417 | Is Homeschooling a Duty, a Job, or a Mission? (Sean Allen)

417 | Is Homeschooling a Duty, a Job, or a Mission? (Sean Allen)

Show Notes:

As convicted as many of us feel about schooling our children at home, all too often it can feel like drudgery. Wrestling with young ones over their math homework for the umpteenth time in a month can drive even the most dedicated homeschool parent to despair. In these moments, we rely on our sense of duty to propel us forward, but we really shouldn't operate on that plane for too long. This episode serves as a reminder that, much more than a job or a duty, homeschooling our children is our God-given mission.

About Sean

Sean Allen is the founder of The Well Ordered Homeschool, husband to his beautiful bride Caroline and a proud father of eight. He has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and is passionate about creating materials to assist parents in the incredibly challenging, yet surpassingly beautiful, work of schooling and training their children at home.


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Show Transcript:

Sean Allen Hello. Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Sean Allen and I am one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Since you're listening to this, I'm guessing you already know that homeschooling is both incredibly challenging and incredibly beautiful. Every week we're here doing a little guidance, some helpful counsel, and a whole lot of encouragement your way as you navigate this busy, yet blessed journey of educating your children at home. Now, even though the show is called Homeschool Solutions, it should come as no surprise to you that we do not have the answer to every homeschool related question. But if you come away with nothing else, our hope is that today's episode will point you to Jesus Christ and that you will seek His counsel as you train your children in the way they should go.

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Hello everyone. Welcome again to the podcast and thank you for joining me today. Boy! What a difference a few weeks is made. We are having springlike weather here in Missouri. I'm so happy about that. We are so very busy though. We are getting ready for conventions. Just a few weeks out and we will be in South Carolina. So if you are a South Carolinian—is that the right way to say that? If you're a South Carolinian or you know what, a lot of people just fly to these things. If you're in the area, I would encourage you to come to the GHC convention there in Greenville, South Carolina. We will be there in a couple of weeks. By the time that this airs, I don't know, it might be shorter than that. So, but we've got so much to do. Oh, my goodness, we have so much to do. We got our booth that keeps expanding and there's all kinds of little tables and shelves and different displays that we have to make ourselves...or that I make, I guess I should say. And that takes time. And then we got all of our products and we've got to make sure we've got bags, we've got gear, and we've got- I can't tell you how many times that we've left, and we almost invariably forget something. There's been a couple of times that we've forgotten things that we're like, oh, critical. And that always hurts when you're an hour down the road and you realize, oh no. So anyway, enough of that. That's insider baseball. I could go on and on about that.

Suffice it to say, we've got a lot to do. It is such a hectic season, but there's part of us that loves it. It's kind of like running a marathon. When you're in the middle of it, you're wondering like, oh my goodness, I don't know if I'm going to make it. But once it's all said and done, you're like, that was good. Let's do it again. So South Carolina and then the very next week we'll be in the Saint Louis area, Saint Charles Convention Center. We will be at that convention, GHC convention. So if you were in that area, we would love to meet you. Come by and see us. Come and hear the amazing speakers. I'm one of them. I shouldn't say I'm an amazing speaker, but I'm one of the speakers. There are lots of amazing speakers there, though, and you'll find somebody or a whole host of somebodies who will bring you encouragement and uplift and inspiration for this remarkable job, this remarkable work that you're doing. And I'm going to use a very particular word for this episode, we're going to call it a mission. But we'll get to that here in just a minute. And then we'll have a week off and then we'll be in Cincinnati, which is probably one of the, if not the biggest homeschool convention in the entire nation. So there's a pretty big one down in Florida, but I think Cincinnati might actually have it beat. And, woah, we've got a lot to do. So if I seem a little frazzled, that's the reason why, I'm just letting you know.

So I wanted to hop on here real quick—I do want to make it fairly quick—I don't want to belabor this point, but this is something that I was thinking about here recently, that what you're doing is not so much a job as it is a mission. And I want to talk about that for a minute. I want you to think about it in those terms, because when we think about homeschooling and raising our children, there are moments in which we have to revert to duty. Like there are different, I guess there are different levels to this work that we're doing, and maybe the ground level, the ground floor, would be duty. And that's okay. Sometimes that's all that you feel is you feel duty bound to do right by your children because you're struggling and because maybe they're not behaving very well and maybe because your best laid plans are going awry, and so sometimes it's hard to put one foot in front of the other, but you continue to do that because it's your duty. And it's an honorable thing to remain true to your duty, but you don't want to operate there for the majority of your time, because that gets pretty arduous and it turns into drudgery. And duty can't always save us. There are levels. If duty is the ground floor, there is a basement, and you don't want to go there. We don't want to talk about that. It's easy to get there, unfortunately. But sometimes all that we have is duty. And then above that would probably be, you know, it's your job. It's something, you know, jobs are optional in many ways. You know, if you have had a job in the past or you have a job now, obviously you didn't have to take that job, it was something that you chose to do, and it's something that you felt that you might be able to profit from or hopefully it's something that you enjoy. But you could step out of the job. You could step into it and out of it. You could move on to another job. And, you know, the job might be the next level, but that's also not a place that you want to operate for any length of time, or preferably not at least.

There's a level above that, and it's mission. And that is the place that, if at all possible, if we could operate in that sphere more frequently, I think that we would feel more purposeful, and there's certainly a grander vision that comes along with that sphere. And so if you consider it your mission to homeschool your children, you consider it your mission to rear them at home, and to take the opportunity to have them by your side or for you to be with them as much as possible, you count that as a mission, that's so much more inspirational than a job or duty. Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with looking at it as a job or as as if it were your duty, but again, over time, that's not going to be- that will not buoy you up. It will not bear you up. It doesn't have the sufficient strength to be able to carry you for long distances, or for or for long periods of time, I guess is what I'm saying.

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So what is the difference between a mission and a job and duty? Well, if we just look at mere definitions, there's really quite a bit of a difference and I hope that you can hear that as I read these. This is from Webster's 1828, by the way. So you can look at- and there's, you know, definitions just vary. There's as many definitions as there are dictionaries out there, but I'm just going to go with Webster's 1828 for right now. So your duty is that which a person owes to another person, or that which a person is bound by any natural, moral or legal obligation to pay, do, or to perform. Another definition would be obedience or submission. So obviously you can see how that applies to homeschooling. We feel deep down inside that we owe this to our children. We owe them our time, we owe them ourselves, we owe them the sacrifice that is required in order to educate them and to rear them. So we're bound by this, by a natural affection towards our children, towards the natural relationship that exists between us. It's a moral obligation of sorts, and we are paying this to them. We're offering it, extending it to them. We're performing this duty on their behalf. So that's all fine and good, and again, sometimes that's all that you have. That's all that you have to fall back on that. And you have to lean on that. And you don't want to go any further than that. You don't want to go any lower than that. Sometimes we do, and perhaps that's a conversation for another episode.

But we take a step up and we look at the definition of a job. A job is a piece of work or anything to be done, whether of more or less importance. So that right there is diminishing the significance of it right there. Not that jobs are insignificant. They're not. Work is holy, and it's given to us by God for any number of reasons, the likes of which I cannot explore at this point in time. But, it's anything to be done, whether of more or less importance. Second definition: a lucrative business and undertaking with a view to profit. So there's nothing wrong with profit either. There's nothing wrong with profiting off of the work or from the labor that you commit by the sweat of your brow. There's nothing wrong with that, but there is a next step up that is higher and more noble, I would say, than undertaking a job in order to profit. Now, you may profit, your children may profit by your diligence in undertaking this work. Certainly that is the case. But if it is your mission, that's something altogether different. And that is, again, if at all possible, that's where we hope to be able to operate. We hope that the Lord, by His Spirit, can uplift our hearts and enable us to view the work that we're engaged in on a daily basis, to be just that, to be our mission.

Now listen to this definition. A mission is a sending or being sent, usually the latter; a being sent or delegated by authority—and I want to emphasize that—delegated by authority, with certain powers for transacting business; a commission. Here's another definition. Persons sent; any number of persons appointed by authority to perform any service; particularly, the persons sent to propagate religion or evangelize the heathen. Now, I'm not here to correlate or to make a correlation between your children and the heathen, but I think hopefully you can see what we're driving at there, what that definition is driving that. So if you view your work at home, your homeschool as being your mission, or the act of homeschooling your children being a mission that you have undertaken, then it is that you have been sent. You've been sent. You've been delegated by an authority. Who would that authority be? That would be the Lord God of Hosts has commissioned you for this work. Now, that is something that elevates the matter altogether, doesn't it? And puts it on a plane of great importance that cannot be overstated. So, yes, what you're doing is a job of sorts. Yes, you are duty bound to do the best that you can by your children at all points in time, as far as you're able. You're duty bound. But if we could take two steps up into mission and see that it is the Lord of heaven who has called us to this work, and many people are fond of uttering this phrase that God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called. And so all that you and I really need to know is that we're called. And all the feelings of inferiority and the state of- it's just a constant state of anxiety about whether or not we're sufficient, or that we have the wherewithal to be able to perform this all important work, a lot of that just vanishes when you realize that you've been called. If you've been called, that denotes that he has confidence in you. He trusts that you do have the wherewithal. You have the capabilities to be able to do this. You have the strength sufficient. You have the vision. And if you don't, at any given point in time, he will come and provide it for you. He will help you in the hour that you need it.

So being sent or delegated by an authority, being commissioned for a very specific work, I want you to ponder on that. I want you to think on that, because sometimes, oftentimes what you do on a daily basis feels like it's just a menial service because it doesn't look or feel all that grand at times, does it? You know when you're struggling with your eight-year-old over there math curriculum for the umpteenth time this month, and your three-year-old is fussing over the fact that they didn't get to put the milk back in the refrigerator, someone else did that for them, and oh, by the way, there are 15 other things going on that very moment it doesn't feel like all that grand of a mission, does it? But that's precisely what it is. It's hard work. It's just very- it's soul crushingly hard work. And God knows that. And he wants you to know that and to acknowledge that, and in so acknowledging he wants you to turn to him and to trust him for the strength and for the help and for the tools that you are needing to not only to accomplish the work, but to do it in a successful manner. So he knows how to do that. He knows the way. And your way is not my way, is not the other person- however many people are listening to this, our ways are slightly different, aren't they? Some of them might look dramatically different, but he knows what you need, and he knows what your children need, and he will help you. Why? Because he commissioned you. He called you to this mission. It's your mission to perform this work. And what a high and a holy calling it is despite what the world may tell you, despite what your family and friends may tell you. All you really need to know, you and I really need to know is that there's one person who thinks that it's important, and he's the only one that really matters when it comes to this mission.

So what other people will tell you or what their opinions are in favor or against, it doesn't really matter. You need his opinion and you need his validation. And when you have that, you could do anything. You can homeschool one child, you can homeschool ten children, you can homeschool for 30 years, you can homeschool for 40 years. You know, and that's- folks, that is work. I cannot overstate that. And when you begin, if you knew what you were going to have to pass through in the beginning, you probably would shrink from the way, from the difficulty and the arduousness of that way. But thankfully, thankfully, the Lord doesn't give us an eye to see everything that we're going to pass through over the next 20, 30, 40 years. He gives us an eye to see just the next step ahead of us. He shines a light just a little ways ahead on our path. And praise be to God for that. And he gives us the hope and the courage to take that next step. And there will be a step after that, and a step after that. There will be thousands of steps to follow, but all we need to do is to trust him for the next step in this grand mission that we're engaged in.

And I like to talk about the circumference of our influence, which is probably far broader than what we have even imagined. We can't see it now. But where will your children go? Where are they going? They're going to go places that we can't foresee and perhaps we can't even understand, we have not anticipated. But God will take them places, and they have spheres of influence, and their circumference is broad. And that all started with you, didn't it? It probably- perhaps it started with your mother and your father or 2 or 3 generations back or whatever, but that influence grows, and it's such a remarkable thing. So yes, the math curriculum and the science homework and the, you know, the unreasonable expectations that we place on ourselves from time to time, it's just a crushing weight. But if we can step back and see the grand influence that the Lord is building up through us and through our children and our children's children, that's such a remarkable and a beautiful thing. It's an inspirational thing. And that, my friends, is not duty, it's not a job, that's your mission.

So take a minute to think about that and just rejoice that we have the opportunity to engage in this mission. Generations before us did not, sadly. For whatever reason, it's not really their fault. Thankfully, there was a generation of mothers and fathers, and particularly mothers, I would say, who stepped forward and said, you know what, we're going to bring this back in house. We're going to do this ourselves, God willing, and God helping us. And bless them. Bless them for making that step. And how they did that still astonishes me, and I'm just so very grateful. But we should be thankful that we have had passed down to us the opportunity and the privilege to be able to educate and rear our children in this way.

That's all I want to share with you today. This is perhaps one of the shortest episodes that I've given. I've tried to keep it short. I know that your time is precious, and you probably have 101 things to do this very minute, so I pray that God blesses you for the rest of the day or perhaps you're hearing this in the middle of the night and I hope you get some sleep. I hope that you can get some sleep and that you wake up refreshed and that the Lord will continue to bless you in this wonderful work that you're doing. So thank you for listening and thank you for your time. And I look forward to talking to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve health care you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. That's GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @homeschooling.mom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the Homeschooling events of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topic, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I'll be there. I hope to see you there too.

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