Being a homeschool family has its joys and challenges—especially when you live on a remote mountain deep in the jungle!
Homeschooling has always been something that Mike and I felt strongly about even before we moved to the other side of the globe. We came from a home church and community where homeschooling was common. As parents, when we chose as to homeschool our family, we knew we would have many more hours in the day to disciple our children, invest in their education, fine tune their gifts, and help them with their weaknesses. This was important to us.
“We don’t study hard to become clever, or smart, or to make a name for ourselves but so that our lives will glorify God.”
Early on, I (Libby) wrote a vision statement of sorts for our homeschool family, and in part we stated that “we don’t study hard to become clever, or smart, or to make a name for ourselves but so that our lives will glorify God.” Education is a privilege. We have so much information at our disposal, and we can see each area of study as a branch of understanding God our Creator and the world He has placed us in. Our purpose in all areas of study is the same: to be diligent stewards of the resources we have been given so that we can use our lives to serve and glorify God. We want our boys to prepared for what is ahead of them, for what the Lord has planned for their lives.
Trying to accomplish all this in the jungle is never dull. Being a missionary, our schedule is a full one, but we do it together and over the years I have watched us develop a deep love for family and a loyalty to one another that I wouldn’t trade for a million quiet morning hours. Our electricity is generated from the sun and solar power, so as soon as the panels are charged, we make sure that the laundry is washing. Those clothes need to get on the line so they can dry before the afternoon rain shower reaches us. Meals don’t come super easy in the jungle. We tend to make a lot from scratch. We don’t have bakeries or stores in the jungle, so if we want sandwiches we need to bake the bread. We all work together to prepare for lunch and do as many chores as we can before 8:00 AM.
At 8:00 AM all the boys are to be in the school room started on their math, writing, and any other independent assignments. I am available for questions as I do my own work from 8:00–9:00 AM. Then I meet with the boys individually to work on spelling and grammar, check math, and look at writing assignments. When we are finished with that, we all come together in the living room to pray together and study God’s Word, science, and history. The boys are rarely found without books; they all enjoy reading. This section of homeschool takes us up to lunch, or even after. The boys finish their assignments, read, play guitar, draw, or collect insects after lunch.
We love Apologia science resources. Botany was one of the first we tried, and the view from any window in our house is a botanist’s dream come true. You want to find an example of leaf arrangements? No problem—there are examples of all types within a two-minute walk. We could have stayed in that book for years, it was so much fun. It brought science alive to me for the first time. We have also watched dozens of Answers in Genesis DVDs, supplemented with many of AiG’s Pocket Guides for apologetics and extra science study.
We have taught chronologically… and are really pleased to be using Answers in Genesis’ Answers Bible Curriculum in our homeschool currently.
I am a huge proponent of homeschooling our children from a biblical authority curriculum from an early age. I have used Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade until the cover was very worn. Our family has studied through several books on foundational systematic theology and doctrine. We have taught chronologically using Building on Firm Foundations several times over the years with our boys and are really pleased to be using Answers in Genesis’ Answers Bible Curriculum in our homeschool currently. As missionaries to tribal people, we have been teaching them systematically and chronologically through the Bible since 2010, and we see that it is an excellent way to make sure our tribal friends, as well as our children, are firmly grounded on God’s Word and see the Bible as absolute authority in their lives.
As a wife, mother, and missionary, I want to be available to be a blessing to those the Lord has given me!
My motto has become “be available.” A mother wears many hats, so I have found that I must hold loosely to my day’s agenda. I love making plans and lists, however, I want to accomplish what the Lord has for me each day. I don’t always do that gracefully, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to have regrets. I want to know that I was there for my family and tribal friends. If I see that my boys need extra attention, we change our plans for the day, snuggle on the couch, and read a few more chapters in our book. If it means that we don’t get every subject completed because our tribal grandma is sick and I can’t bear to leave her alone, or a mom is in labor and I am needed, then there will be time to make it up. If it means being sensitive to Mike’s heavy load and taking more time in the afternoon to surprise him with a special meal, I want to do that. As a wife, mother, and missionary, I want to be available to be a blessing to those the Lord has given me!