Homeschooling During Difficult Times
A mother asked about continuing to homeschool during a difficult time when the children’s homeschooling seemed to suffer.
Should she put her children in school?
At Lamp Post Homeschool we are asked this question often. Whether the reason is the poor health of a family member, a difficult financial situation, the mom’s having a baby, or another one of life’s crises, parents in a difficult situation are usually “maxed”. To relieve the stress, often, the first thing that comes to mind is to quit homeschooling and send the children to public or private school for a time. It seems rational until we consider, “Where does my help come from?”
God Knows Your Situation—Trust in Him
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”Psalm 121:2
God knows your situation. He wants the best for you and your family. Real life involves both the good and the bad—the mountains and the valleys. God promises He will be there with you (and your children!) His grace and mercy make the bad situations “survivable”. A good start is to trust in Him even more. It is stretching time, but He will not give you more than you can bear.
But I Am Tired and Irritable.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”Romans 8:28 NKJ
We hear statements like:
- I seem to yell at the children all the time.
- We are doing very little schooling.
- This has to be our worst year.
- The children aren’t learning.
There may be some truth in these statements, but there are some subtle untruths (AKA ungodly beliefs) woven into them.
Are we judging what they learn by our standards, the world’s standards, or God’s standards?
God uses every situation for His glory. He has put into place a system for correcting our mistakes.
Confess Your Sins
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
You have confessed that your homeschooling has gone badly this year. God will do His job. One of the best lessons that you can teach your children is to humble yourself, confess your sins against them to your children, ask for their forgiveness, and then pray together. If they see this pattern in you, they will learn how to forgive and be forgiven.
This is why homeschooling is SO important. Would they learn this in school? We have a problem with confessing sin and repentance in our nation. It has to start in the home with the family.
Learn More What?
“We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”Psalm 78:4 KJV
Here’s another question that is common: “I know my children have learned at home, but I wonder if they would have learned more in school.”
Maybe, but what? Psalm 78 is a great verse in relation to homeschooling. Please read it, considering what God tells parents to do. Nowhere in the Bible does it say for Kings (the government) to train all the children. Everywhere the Bible tells parents to teach, train, correct, etc. It is a God-given responsibility and authority.
Whether you teach them at home or send them away to school, the responsibility is yours. For example, a ship’s captain can retire for the evening and pass control to the second or third in command. But if the ship wrecks, they ultimately hold the captain accountable. It is the same with parenting and training. The weight of the responsibility and authority is on the parents.
But wait, Isaiah 54:13 says:
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
Whew! We can give them academics, be an example, and do all the “right stuff.” But it is the Lord who brings it home—from the head to the heart! There is such freedom in that verse! It is the Lord who is always there teaching them. It’s not “humanly” possible for a parent to do this. You are partially correct when you say, “I can’t do this” because the only way you can do it is “through Christ who strengthens” you. Isn’t His strength made perfect in our weakness? The reality of parenting is that His grace and mercy cover us much more than we can imagine or often care to admit.
What about my child’s relationship with God?
Homeschooling parents who are considering quitting are concerned: Can my children have as close a relationship with God and make godly decisions if they are not homeschooled?
You have only to look at the results. Our government has excluded God from its schools. What is the fruit? Look at our generation—the product of these schools—and how we struggle with trying to merge our “Christian walk” with our “secular thinking” or what I call “separation of church and state schizophrenia.” That could be a “whole ‘nother” article.
What about private schools? Doesn’t the Bible tell us not to be a companion of fools? If foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, then why do we keep putting twenty or thirty fools together in classrooms? I know there are many godly Christian teachers out there. What if the teacher is not a Christian but is a fool?
Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment
Please stop judging yourself so harshly. Do move out of the judgment arena into mercy and grace. Throw yourself on the mercy of the court (God!). He will cover you and give you the grace to walk the homeschool walk. Your children will learn compassion and mercy from walking this path with you.
It will amaze you at how your particular situation affects their life’s calling. My sister is a geriatric physician today because my elderly grandmother came to live in our home for two years after she fell and broke her hip. My sister has a great love for seniors! Our situation was bad sometimes. Our mother was always tired and busy with Nana. I had to cook supper just about every night and help with the housecleaning (I was 14 -15 years old.) We all had to pitch in. But I wouldn’t trade a moment of the difficult situation for the effect it’s had on my siblings and me.
“In returning and rest, you shall be saved;Isaiah 30:15
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
REMEMBER GOD WINS IN EVERY TIME—especially if we will quit squiggling long enough for Him to hold us in His arms, and let Him love and comfort us. Haven’t you seen an upset and distraught child who won’t let anyone touch him but who desperately needs a hug and some lap time? I think we adults can act like that spiritually with God. Just as a mother’s or father’s gentle touch comforts and assures that child, so the Lord can touch you if you return and rest in Him.
The following is practical advice and you probably already know it. It never hurts to hear it again.
- Take one day at a time.
- Pray, asking the Lord how He wants you to train your children.
- Keep on asking!
- Rest in the Lord—quit imagining the worst-case scenario!
- Ask a trusted friend to pray for and with you about the situation. Keep notes in a journal or your Bible with dates and requests to help you see God’s hand in your life.
- Trust God to help you.
- Believe His promises are true. Ask the Lord for a scripture verse to help you pray and stand on it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Include your pastor and church, homeschool friends, and family in your suffering. For example, a family we know had a new baby who had two major operations in the first three weeks of his life. All of those around them were “suffering” with them. We cried and prayed for this baby as well as offered support of various types. He made a nice recovery, by the way—a real miracle from God!
A Homeschool Prayer for You
I lift these homeschool parents up to You. Your eyes are on the sparrow—even more on your children. You know their situation and the needs of their families. Please forgive our sins and our parental shortcomings. Bless these parents, Lord, with many blessings as they endeavor to train their children Your way. Father, I ask you to give them a generous supply of Your wisdom. Help them see things from Your perspective and to see through the lies of the enemy. Please reveal Your truth to them. Give them strength through Your joy. Lord, I ask You to cover them with Your love, grace, and mercy. Bless their children, Father God, that they would become arrows aimed at Your chosen target. Reveal each child’s talents to his parents to help them direct his training properly. Hide them in the shelter of Your wings. And Lord, I ask you to help this person with this “impossible” situation. Please make the way straight and smooth. Asking all of this in the name of Your precious son, Jesus, I give you the praise and the glory. Amen.
This is a long article but as I wrote it, I felt that someone really needs to be encouraged. If this isn’t an article you need, please consider passing it along to struggling homeschooler the Lord lays on your heart! Also, ask Him how you can encourage that person during his/her difficult time.
Blessings from Wynne and Harriet
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