I was homeschooled. Until the age of five. At which point my parents gave up on me and handed me over to our educational system. My daughter schools three children at home and I couldn’t admire her more. I think that if my mother homeschooled me, she may have run away from home by second grade. One teacher was so exasperated with me that he said, “Callaway, don’t ever think that I’m not prepared to go to jail. Again.”
My parents never taught me Math, Geometry, or Social Studies, but I was homeschooled in other ways. Here are a few of them:
My father schooled me in valuable subjects. Like a class called Consequences. “You fall outta that tree and break your leg, don’t come running to me.” Dad taught me about Physics. “Keep crossing your eyes and they’ll stay that way.” He taught me to improvise. “So we’re out of knives. Butter your toast with a spoon.” My Dad taught me about Economics. “If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.”
Mom helped school me as well. She taught me about hygiene. “Never park your bubble gum behind your ear.” She taught me cleanliness. “If you’re going to kill each other,” she’d say, “do it outside.” She taught me about prayer. “You’d better pray that gum will come out of your sister’s hair.” And about Stamina. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.” My mother taught me about patience. “Just wait until your Father gets home.” And about anticipation. “Eat your broccoli, it’ll put hair on your chest.”
Best of all, my parents schooled me in life.
They taught me that I was valuable. That I wasn’t an accident. That my life had meaning, and God had an incredible plan for me.
They taught me that true joy doesn’t come from happy circumstances, it’s a gift of God that stays with His kids in tough times. They outlived a World War and their eldest child, but they never outgrew their deep trust in God. They were the real deal. They practiced what they preached. Trust me, kids notice these things.
We parents and grandparents have an amazing opportunity to shape lives and point the next generation to Jesus. Others are learning by listening and watching, so let’s teach well. And if you like homeschool jokes, here’s my favourite: Why wouldn’t the homeschooler change out of his school uniform? Because he wanted to stay in his jammies.
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