A Change in Direction by Sarah Reinhard


reinhard_newWhen I started researching homeschooling and finding out (a) what it was and (b) why anyone would choose it, I was just pregnant.  I was mostly curious; a good friend – someone who was intelligent and highly regarded – had recently started homeschooling one of her sons.  I watched that friend go from homeschooling one child to homeschooling four.  I started researching and found that I was interested.

That’s when the praying began.

I started reading blogs of well-known homeschoolers and purchasing books.  I began to get a feel for what I thought my style would be.

I ignored some of the misgivings that started cropping up.  My oldest daughter is as outgoing as kids come, and she was asking to go to school.  There are no co-ops or homeschooling groups in our area; the drive time required wouldn’t work for us.

The decision is just one year at a time, I told myself. It’s not life or death.

We were all set this year, and I started off full of fire and excitement.

And, at some point, I started listening to my husband’s wisdom, my spiritual advisor’s gentle observations, and my own inner voice.

Though my heart cracks a little to admit it, we are sending our daughter to kindergarten next year.

I have had to come to peace with the fact that this does not make me a failure.  Just because homeschooling this year with this daughter is not going to be a reality doesn’t mean I feel that call for nothing.

God calls us to greatness, and it’s so easy to misinterpret those calls, to warp them with our own desires.  Maybe I’ll be an instrument of His in some other time and place than in my home, educating my children with Charlotte Mason flair.  Perhaps homeschooling is an adventure we’ll embark upon with a future child.

The path to heaven always involves the Cross, and my vocations as wife and mother give me plenty of opportunities to reflect on Jesus’ love for me as he hung there that first Good Friday.  As silly as it may seem, my homeschooling “failure” brings me one step closer to Jesus.

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Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. This is not failing, this is just realizing that right now, it's not where you should be. Sounds like SUCCESS to me.
    Remember St. Francis' prayer before the cross:
    Most high, glorious, good God,
    Bring light to the darkness of my heart.
    Give me right faith, firm hope, and perfect charity,
    With wisdom and insight, O Lord,
    That I might always discern
    Your holy and true will.

  2. My children went to school for a couple years. It may work out great for her! I wish her (and you) all the best! And if it doesn't work out, it's never too late to go back to homeschooling. I have friends that struggle each year with the question of whether their children would be better off in school. I never have that feeling. I walked that road and know it was not for us. This will be an educational experience for all of you and will provide much greater clarity. Best wishes to you!

  3. peggybowes on

    I considered homeschooling off and on for years until it was “forced” upon me when we decided to travel as a family in an RV for a few years. That was the right time. Even while homeschooling, I constantly felt like I was failing– not enough Latin, not enough Bible study, we're behind in math… I think homeschool guilt can exceed “Catholic guilt” and “mom guilt” at times! I'd occasionally wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, thinking, “We haven't read Shakespeare yet!” or some such thing. Now, after 4 years of homeschooling, my children are in school and thriving. They both have straights A's, plenty of friends and teachers who have asked if my children can be cloned. It was the right time to go back to school. I've agonized and prayed through all these changes. I also rely on the Rosary and the wonderful signal graces that help me to know when I'm on track. God has the most wonderful way of knowing what's best when you don't.

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