Guest Post

Redemptive Homeschooling by Bethany Wallace

Making the decision to homeschool my daughter for the 2020 academic year felt like surrender, not victory. Waving a gigantic, heavy white flag I could scarcely lift long enough to launch it over my head for anyone to glimpse. See? I give in! I’m tired of wrestling over this.

I wholeheartedly felt convinced God wanted me to do this. There was no question about my motivation or reasons for homeschooling. My daughter’s first grade experience left her lacking strong literacy skills even though she finished kindergarten ahead of her peers. Her first grade teacher simply wasn’t up to par, and despite our efforts to intervene, my daughter suffered in the end. She made friends, and she got through the year, but she lost her joy for learning. She no longer loved school. And that broke my Mama heart.

The good news is she’s a super smart kid, and she’ll be fine. But I knew she needed help to regain academic confidence and specific literacy skills. This, coupled with the pandemic and the weirdness it would inevitably bring to the realm of public education, weighed on me as a mom. Did I want to send her back to the classroom? Of course not. Not in the midst of the strange CDC guidelines which change more frequently than Arkansas weather reports.

Do I look forward to homeschooling? Yes and no. No, I don’t look forward to trying to find time to clean the house, run errands, and manage my own consulting business… all while my second grade child stays home, learning and playing and probably whining about not being around other kids. No, I don’t anticipate all jolly times while trying to play mom and teacher to a child who already questions many of my decisions because she’s coming into her own very independent personality. And no, I don’t think it will be easy to practice great self-care techniques or carve out time as a writer, much less just a woman, while we’re distancing ourselves in the midst of a pandemic.

But the redemptive piece is this: I asked God for this. When I quit the rat race four years ago and started my own business in order to spend more time with my daughter, I felt great sorrow for the years I’d squandered working full-time, chasing my own career-related dreams. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe there’s a thing wrong with moms pursuing career fulfillment. But I’d pursued career fulfillment during key years of my daughter’s life when she needed me. I’d pursued fulfillment of my own at the cost of my daughter’s emotional wellness. I hadn’t done this purposely. But that’s what happened. And when I saw it happening, I bailed—I came home, and I grieved. I felt deep sorrow over this.

Since then, I’d always hoped for redemption, a chance for restoration. Our God is a God of redemption—what is the Bible if not a story of God constantly coming after us, time after time, proving that no matter what we do, He is not changing? He loves us no matter who we are because He is Who He Is. And He is good, and He is love. And He is about 70×7, forgiveness that knows no end. That’s the entire reason for Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection—to redeem us.

And here it was—a full year of mom and Maggie time.

So every time I find myself beginning to whine about how hard it might be, or how I’ll never take a bath again without Maggie sitting on the toilet seat singing Arabian Nights at the top of her lungs the whole time, or how she might hate me because I will be helping her become a better reader, I remember this. I asked for redemption, for restoration. And I am getting it.

Bethany - CopyBethany Wallace, author of Hindsight 2020: A New and Selected Poems by Bethany Wallace, is currently working on her second book, a devotional book for moms. A professional writer and owner of Bethany Wallace Communications & Consulting, she manages two personal blogs: JustWheat and GratitudeCup

Bethany presents research at conferences and contributes regularly to major publications and recognized podcasts, including Glassdoor, College Recruiter, Zip Recruiter, Job Scan, Flex Jobs, the New York Daily News, Business Tech, Human Resources Online, Life After Teaching, Love Your Story, 10 Minute Mindset, Everyday People, and more.

An expert in higher education, she worked for 12 years as an English faculty member and career services director. She served as Content Manager for College Recruiter, a technical writer for HP, and grant writer/editor for small businesses. She has garnered management experience in sales and nonprofit leadership. She earned her Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature at Arkansas Tech University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Lyon College.

When she’s not writing, you might find Bethany volunteering, advocating passionately for victims and survivors of sexual assault, hiking, or baking. 

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