When You Meet a Mountain

When You Meet a Mountain

by Audra Talley

 

The choice to homeschool is a big one. We may start off with a preschooler or have older children already halfway through their schooling. While we can be crazy-enthusiastic about the challenge, we often approach the homeschool road with a healthy dose of trepidation, even fear. And it is certainly not unfounded fear. The enormity of the responsibility of both parenting and educating our children can be overwhelming. The huge range of curriculum options can make it seem more so. The homeschool mountain is so broad, with so many variables, that it often stands in the way of even beginning.

 

When we encounter a subject that our child simply does not grasp, we try different ways of explaining it, hoping the light will go on. We find manipulatives because maybe our child is a tactile learner. We give them a break for a few months hoping their cognitive ability will develop a little more. Then we resort to finding all new curriculum. We eventually find a friend to help or hire a tutor. Finally, when success has dodged every attempt to overcome, we conclude that we are not cut out to teach. The academic mountain stands too tall, beyond our natural ability to climb.

 

Then there are behaviors that we have to correct over and over. We try positive reinforcement, remembering to fill their “emotional tank” to counter the “emotional withdrawal” that correction requires. We write consequences on popsicle sticks for a “consequence” jar. We ground them to their rooms, from electronics, from their friends. We pile on extra chores. We analyze them, wondering if perhaps they are missing something in their moral psyche. Then we start the process of self recrimination because, obviously, it is us; we are failures as parents. The parental mountain is so treacherous, full of pitfalls and wrong turns, that we are certain of failure.

 

These are just a few of the mountains that we face as parents and educators. And, along with countless other life, parenting, and homeschooling challenges, we pray that God will remove them. We rely on the promise that if we have “faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” (Matthew 17:20). And sometimes God, in His infinite mercy, will remove a mountain.

 

But what if God doesn’t remove it?

What then?

Failure?

Maybe the mountain isn’t PART of His plan. Maybe the mountain IS His plan.

Maybe we are meant to scale it.

 

Sometimes the homeschool mountain, so broad we can’t see around it, has to be traversed in order to truly see the beautiful breadth of all that homeschooling is. Sometimes that tall mountain of academic failure has to be scaled with patience and creativity in order to breathlessly achieve the summit of subject mastery. Sometimes the pitfall of that wrong behavior, when addressed consistently and carefully (though certainly not perfectly), will give us the wisdom to successfully continue to scale the treacherous slopes of parenthood.

 

When those mountains simply won’t move it may be time to see them for what they are: His plan. And instead of praying for faith as a mustard seed, it may be time to pray for hinds’ feet.  

 

 

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places” (Psalm 18:32-34).

 


 

Audra Talley was born and raised in Idaho, was homeschooled K-12, and graduated from CofI with a degree in political science and history. She is currently a full time domestic engineer and homeschooling momma. Married to the man of her dreams for nearly 12 years, Audra and her husband have four children (16, 8, 6, almost 4 years of age). The youngest is the only girl in the bunch. The Talley family loves spending time together and does lots of fishing, camping, hiking (anything outdoors). Calling Nampa home, Audra is involved in her church, various homeschool activities, and whatever adventures pop up.

Committed to helping parents fulfill their God-given right and responsibility to educate their own children.