www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com The Literary Homeschooler • Spring 2015 41
before the young couple approached me,
but the truth is I couldn’t even see my
own assumptions. It was the husband’s
question, and the look of discouragement
on his wife’s face, that finally gave me a
clear view of myself.
I realized I was part of a problem faced
by many homeschool moms who strug-
gle with doubt and discouragement,
especially during convention season. I
was one of the experts
who gather each year
in the vendor hall to tell
them they are doing it
wrong. I realized that
in hawking my materi-
als, the louder I shouted
“Better than ever!” the
more they heard “Better
I thanked the man
and his wife for be-
ing gracious enough to
come to my table in-
stead of walking away
in disgust. I apologized for contributing
to their discouragement and asked for
another chance to say what is really true
about their situation.
“How many languages did you say you
speak?” I asked.
“Four,” the husband said. “And we are
teaching them all to our kids.”
“You should not buy any of my materi-
als,” I said. “You don’t need them. In fact,
you shouldn’t teach English literature
at all unless you just want to. It is clear
that the Lord has given your family its
own homeschooling identity that centers
around something else. Go in peace and
be the language family. Our literature
family will be praying for your great suc-
I think they went away encouraged, be-
cause as they left I overheard the husband
say, “Did you hear that, honey? It’s okay
for us to be the language people!” I also
caught a glimpse of his wife’s forehead—
now smooth with relief and peace.
That little voice in my head spoke up
again, but this time it sounded like a reminder from the Lord: I give all of my
children exactly what they need. I am their
provider as I am your provider. Nothing
remains for any of you but to be who you
really are, to rejoice in what I have given
you, and to speak out loud from the gratitude in your heart.
As this lesson began to sink in, anoth-
er one followed close on its heels. That
young man had taken his wife’s position,
and needs, completely on himself, and
had treated her concerns as his very own.
Even when trying to explain her doubt
and discouragement, he identified with
her. “We are discouraged,” he had said.
“We are the language people.” I found
myself wondering whether I treat my
wife, Missy, with the same respect and
encouragement. Do I identify with her in
my heart when it comes
to our homeschool proj-
ect? Is it really our proj-
ect, or does Missy feel
that she is on her own?
Once again, the an-
swers made me squirm.
Despite the time and
energy I give to home-
schooling in general,
when it comes to my
own wife and my own
kids, I am often disen-
gaged and aloof. She’s a
smart lady, I too often
think. She can figure it out.
Sometimes I forget that she doesn’t
need help figuring it out. What she needs
is to know that we are in this together,
that it is as important to me as it is to her.
For that reminder, I have that young man
and his wife to thank—though I never
even got their names.
I hope the young couple was inspired
and encouraged by their time at my table.
I myself have never been the same. I am
grateful for my second chance with them,
and for the gift of repentance that resulted from our conversation.
I will attend many conventions this
year as a teacher and an expert, but really, I will be a learner first. The moms
and dads I will meet this year have been
appointed by the Lord to encourage me
and remind me of my dependence on His
I can hardly wait!
Adam Andrews is the Director of the Center
for Literary Education and a homeschooling father of six. Adam earned his B. A. from
Hillsdale College and is a Ph.D. candidate
at the University of Washington. He and his
wife Missy are the authors of Teaching the
Classics, the popular reading and literature
curriculum. They teach their children at
home in Rice, Washington. For more information, visit www.centerforlit.com.
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