A Pioneer Homeschooling Mother of 6
I want to introduce to you a woman who was very influential in my life when I was considering homeschooling – Nancy Sanchez. Nancy is a prayer warrior, a woman of great wisdom, and a homeschooling mother of 6. She is someone whom you could sit at her feet for hours gleaning insights and encouragement. Her homeschool career spanned a period of 28 years. Now, how’s that for experience!
Nancy began her homeschooling career in 1983 when she had 3 kids. She and her husband had never considered homeschooling and had enrolled their eldest in their church’s private preschool. Shortly after, they began reading the book Homegrown Kids and felt convicted and called to homeschool their kids. It was this strong calling from the Lord that kept her going in her journey when there were hard days.
In the 1980s, there were not many families walking the road of home education. She felt like a pioneer going west in a covered wagon, charting new territory and trying to navigate pitfalls. Over her almost three decades of homeschooling, the Lord molded her and taught her many lessons.
Pray for Wisdom, He is Faithful
She discovered early on in her homeschool journey the importance of prayer. One of her kids had some difficult learning challenges. These challenges quickly brought her to her knees in desperation. She cried out to the Lord and He faithfully answered her. He showed her two verses that she clung to.
2 Peter 1:3, “God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” (CJB)
Her learning challenged child was going to be okay. It was God’s power that was going to give him what he needed for life. She just needed to instill in him a heart for God. She remembers the Lord whispering to her, “Just raise them to love me.” And that she did. All 6 of her kids are walking with the Lord in adulthood today.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (ESV)
This verse reminded her that our greatest life message is often in our weakness. In fact, this child who struggled with learning went on to be on the Dean’s list in college and then to have a beautiful family that serves the Lord on the mission field. God is faithful no matter what our struggle is as we seek to educate our children at home. Pray for wisdom, and teach your children to live for Him, walk with Him, and listen to Him. His grace covers the rest.
Another lesson Nancy learned was to not have expectations of how homeschooling should look like. She couldn’t compare herself to others as everyone’s situations are different. And, she learned that school days would look different from time to time. Some weeks they would fly through all the curriculum and others they wouldn’t. She had to remember that school isn’t only about textbooks – it’s living Deuteronomy 6: 6-9. Teaching your children about God’s Word as you go about your day, whether you are reading together, cleaning together, or just playing together, is learning too.
Live an Authentic Life
Showing her kids how to walk out biblical principles in everyday life became her heartbeat. Her aim was to live her life in front of her kids in a real way; to model what she was teaching them from God’s Word; and to walk it out in an imperfect way, striving to glorify God is all she did. She asked herself, “What do I want to know that my kids will be rock solid in?” Her answer…their relationship with the Lord.
We live in a world in which the vast majority of kids who grow up in the church end up walking away after high school. She did not want her kids to fall into that category. So she prayed, taught, and lived out the Word at home. And she believes it was this authentic relationship she and her husband modeled to their kids that kept them in a relationship with the Lord, beyond their years at home.
Remember that God Fills in the Gaps
She remembers when her first child was graduating high school, wondering if she had taught him enough. And she realized that by God’s grace, He fills in the gaps. She had to remind herself that God did not call her to homeschool perfectly but to walk in obedience with Him.
If you are faithfully doing your best to educate your kids, He is faithful. That first child of hers that she fretted over, went on to a four-year college and graduated with a 4.0. So she encourages moms not to worry about whether you have taught your kids enough or if you are able to give enough intellectually to your kids. Keep walking in obedience, let go of your expectations, and rest in God’s grace that covers everything.
Training Hearts is a Wonderful Opportunity
One of Nancy’s favorite aspects of homeschooling was that her kids got to spend so much time with each other growing up and learning how to love one another. As a result, they truly love each other today and have a good relationship with each other, even despite their age gaps. Sometimes the hardest part of homeschooling is not the curriculum we teach, but the constant training of hearts that we face daily. And she realized that the effort she put into teaching and training her older ones paid off, as the younger ones just grew up seeing the standard of love and kindness that was taught in the home.
Nancy would look at the training moments as wonderful opportunities to deal with issues. She shared that we can take those daily struggles and be thankful that we have eyes to see them; we can be grateful that we get to teach our kids daily how to walk through conflict, or how to love and forgive. Every day, we get to teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions and walk through it with them. And we can keep a consistent standard in our homes of kindness and love. As we deal with the heart issues and attitudes, character is built into our kids that lasts throughout their lives.
I hope you have been blessed just as much as I have been by Nancy. When you feel like you can’t go on, remember these words of wisdom and Scriptures to encourage you in your journey.
Nancy has so much to offer, that I will share more of her insights on teaching a child with learning challenges in my next post. I hope you will join me.