I recently presented this at the Tulsa and OKC homeschool conventions. There were several in attendance who asked for a better transcript of the talk than the take away that I had on hand. In addition, I hope that it may reach out to others who are currently in the storms of life and are thinking of giving up and throwing in the towel. I pray that these insights from our own journey will encourage and help you to carry on. Weather you are coming out of the storm, right in the middle of one, or see one on the horizion. It is my hope and prayer that these words will help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A Journey of Faith
Several years ago I was taking my first graduate course in human resources. The professor did not require any books to be purchased before the first day of class. However, he came in and handed out to each of us a copy of “Everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. For those who have read the book you are aware that it contained such simple truths as: Play fair, Don’t hit people, and Say your sorry when you hurt someone. He advised that if we could get our managers to understand these simple truths then our jobs as HR professionals would be so much easier. Simple truths that we used to know and understand that we have forgotten over time.
As I look back over the past nine years that we have homeschooled, I see a road lined with adversities, challenges, and opportunities. These have included: hurricanes, house fires, and life changes. However, through it all we have learned a few things. Foremost, most of what we needed to endure could be summed up in much the same way, six simple faiths. I cannot give you a miracle pill or a magical solution to get through where you are. However, I can point you to six simple faiths that you may have forgotten as well. One of our favorite quotes comes from a wonderful speaker and writer by the name of Joyce Meyers and sums this up fairly well.
“When fear knocks on your door – send faith to answer and no one will be there” -Joyce Meyers
Faith in God
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
We need to remember that God is sovereign over all or not sovereign at all!
There are so many times that we find ourselves and our families in the middle of a raging storm of issues and challenges. We look beside and in front of us and cannot see God. It is at these times that we start to belive that He has abandoned us, left us to flounder our way to dry land. I have learned this is so far from the truth. These are the times that He is been behind me – Holding me up, keeping me from falling back into the maelstrom of life. This is a simple and powerful truth that we cannot afford to lose sight of. It is a reality that has kept us moving forward through some tough times. The reminder that we are not going it alone, that God is always there.
“Consider it pure joy my brothers, as you face trials of many kinds. Becuase you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must be allowed to finish its work if you are to be mature and complete and lacking nothing.” (James 1: 2-4)
Faith in your decision to homeschool:
Sometimes as you are traveling on a journey your focus is straight ahead. occasionally you need to look in the rearview mirror and see where it is you have been, where you came from. Why did you make the decision to homeschool? What was it that was the deciding factor for you and your family to make the switch to homeschooling?
Was it because homeschooling is such an easy road? Was it because you wanted to ensure that your children could be “socialized” by society?
No! You did it so your children could become the Joshua Generation. So that they could be the leaders of tomorrow. So your children can impact the world for Christ for generations to come. Sometimes you have to pause and remember why you made this decision. Focus you heart and thoughts on the truth that it is the right path to follow. That your decisions are and were the right ones. Don’t allow yourself to second guess decisions that were made during the times of calm for reactions that occur during times of duress.
As one of my favorite mentors used to say. “Like a pig in a python…this too will pass”
Faith in each other:
You were created by God to be emotional, to be nurturing and supportive to your children and to your husband. This is all part of God’s perfect plan. In times of stress these emotions cannot be trusted. The enemy will say to you:” You cannot do this, your kids are going to be dumb! Why did we do this…they are better off in public school!”
Do not listen to these voices!
Get out of the loop: You don’t need to be plugged into every activity during these times. Slow down and drop out of the loop for a while…it’s ok.
Put down the homeschool magazines: We all get these and like to read them. However, this is not the time to be looking for new ideas and directions.
Distance yourself from “Suzy perfect homemaker”: With all due respect to Suzy… We all know her. 8 kids, 2 co-ops, 4 sports, and a perfect house. Give yourself some time and don’t compare.
Listen to the wisdom of your husband: He is the spiritual leader of the home. (Husbands – your part is next). Trust in his calming judgement.
Refer often to the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. IMpress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and ind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6: 4-8)
Husbands, I have three words for you: Supportive, Engaged, and Teamwork.
Supportive: Your are the spiritual head of the family. Listen, support and encourage your wife during these times. This is not the time to be Mr. Fix It. Our tendency is to want to be the Knight in shining armor who rides in from the office to make everything right. Save these times for when the sink is leaking or the A/C is on the fritz. Your wife is strong and knows what to do. You need to listen, encourage, and motivate. This is the time to give her a hug and a shoulder. To say that everything will be ok and you believe in her.
Engage: Get off the couch and help! What a time for you to grow closer to your children and at the same time help out. Too often we buy into the idea that all we are is the “Principle”. However, we need to be engaged as teachers as well (even in the good times!). What a great time to come home and do some of those science experiments, help with grading, and teach a class or two.
Teamwork: Remember we are in this together. This is not something that she can do alone or something that you can do alone. Even in the good times it is something that takes teamwork.
Faith in our flexibility:
We are not public school! Let me say this a second time: We are not public school!
We do not need to school Monday to Friday 8-5. Embrace the flexibility that we have in what we do.
Push things back and re-arrange as needed. Use the time you have to your advantage. Remember, every moment of every day has the potential to be a teachable moment.
Faith in simplicity:
“Read something, Write something, Calculate something” (Dana Wilson)
A very good friend of ours reminded us of this simple phrase when we were in the middle of a tough time. Keep to the basics. As long as each day they are reading, writing and calculating you are ok. This could be a favorite book or even the cereal box. Keep it simple until you get things back on track – focus on the basics.
Maybe you have to drop the 2 co-ops, 3 sports, and 2 dance classes. They will be there in a few days, few weeks, or even months.
Faith in the value of life lessons:
God allows adversity to occur to prepare our children for later life. If you throw in the towel then you are robbing them of this preparation.
The opportunity for your children to see how you handle adversity is beyond measure. It cannot be taught in school or any text-book. The chance to walk with them through hardship will build the skills that will serve them their entire life. They may or may not use chemistry, calculus, or a foreign language. However, life skills and managing adversity is something they will carry with them their entire life. We need to show our children how to persevere when times are difficult. We have stressed to them the value of homeschooling. If we quit when the times are difficult then we teach our children to quit when life becomes difficult. This is something that they will then apply to their lives, careers, and marriages.
“When God brings an unwelcome disturbance into our lives, He never asks if it is convenient. The Lord expects to be trusted.” (Joyce Meyers)
Several years ago when I was serving as a Hospital Corpsman my speciality was mental health. I had just graduated from my advanced school (Psych) and was fresh on the ward. A new hard charging sailor ready to change the world. As I was walking the ward a patient approached me and asked “What is normal?” I, being the super Psych Tech that I thought I was, launched into a wonderful 10 minute speech on the world’s view of “normal”. When I was finished she looked into my eyes, smiled, and said “Nope – It’s a setting on a washing machine”. This is something that has stuck with me for all these years.
What is normal? Normal is where God has you right now. How often do we say in times of stress..”I wish things would return to normal.”? What is that? Life before homeschooling? Life before we started the adoption process of our three little ones? I can attest that we would never go back to the worlds definition of “Normal”. The Key is to trust in God. Accept that He is in control and that normal is exactly where God has you right now.
“I am not saying this because, I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through HIm who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 11-13)
- Why I Homeschool? (prettywisewoman.wordpress.com)