Feeling like a failure, I sat on the floor drenching myself in tears. I didn’t know it then, but this was the pivotal moment in our homeschool.
It was only a few years after I started homeschooling. I was filled with the insecurity of not knowing how to help my child, not knowing if my love was enough, and not knowing if I was making the right choices for my daughter. It wasn’t the fact that she could have died within days of being born had she not endured a heart surgery. It wasn’t the hardship she faced when walking and navigating stairs. It wasn’t the eye surgery she experienced when she was four. It was the sinking feeling of not having the education and training in order to help my child when she faced challenges with processing, mathematical reasoning, and fine-motor coordination when she studied . . . so I thought.
Trying to view my computer screen through the distortion of tears, I began scrolling through the possibilities of special schools and outside expertise.
But one night, something miraculous happened. As I kissed my daughter goodnight, my tears turned from earthly saltwater to cries for God’s help. Almost immediately, fear washed over my body, but not because of my insecurities nor my child’s struggles. For a second, I was confused about where this new fear was coming from. Then it became crystal clear: I was fearful for my child doubting her worth in God should I send her to a special program or a school that segregated her into a special group!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14, NIV)
I started reviewing our homeschool experience. I remembered how we had already witnessed our daughter become keenly aware of her differences and start doubting her value when she attended kindergarten. When my husband and I decided to homeschool her, we continuously surrounded her with our ever-present love and care. My daughter and I delved into study of science, history, reading, and even math from a biblical perspective while working hard at instilling biblical truths. We had conversations about dilemmas and resolutions. And we discussed how faith, compassion, and love can bring us through difficult times. We would often talk about how she positively impacted the lives of those around her through every step of her life. Throughout our time together homeschooling, my daughter felt the reaffirmation of her worth as her love and faith grew.
This reflection left no question in my mind. We had to keep homeschooling!
Now that our direction was clear, I needed to gain wisdom on how to forge the way forward.
I contemplated our studies in science and the specific ways God designed each element of his creation to provide for itself and survive. I thought about the African lungfish’s response to a dried-up habitat. He tunnels underground and surrounds himself with a leathery enclosure that allows enough air flow to breath—no water required. I contemplated about how zebras run back and forth, crossing each other’s paths, blending their stripy coats together to confuse their predators. I considered how the camel’s hump provides it with sustenance during long, dry expeditions. Knowing God takes great care to meet the needs of his creation, we can be confident that he cares for us too.
Then I thought about how, throughout many stories in the Bible, God called on many people who were unequipped for the tasks he would give them. He would then help those who answered his call, providing them with wisdom and strength at the exact moment of need. I had to trust that as my husband and I searched, God would bring the right counsel alongside us and impart us with the wisdom to discern what would work best for our child.
Each time we faced an unknown in how to best help our child, we reached out for advice on how to move forward. We concluded that slowing down her learning pace would help tremendously. And for a season, we gleaned from the help and training of an occupational therapist. We gained confidence as we met and conquered each obstacle, feeling encouraged to keep persevering through each year of homeschooling. We were continually filled with peace, knowing in our hearts that the time we get to spend together with our daughter, holding her hand and meeting her needs, would continue to bless all three of us every step of the way.
My daughter recently celebrated her 20th birthday, and I can only be filled with gratefulness. Gratefulness that I had the time to nurture her heart and surround her with love. Along the way, we could see her refine a special God-given talent. My daughter spent months editing my book and continually edits my other work. She completed her first novel at age 18 and continually uses her gift in writing. I have full confidence that God will continue to use her story, her strengths, and the very way she was created. May she continue to glorify God in her work.
Lo and behold, my story does not end with my daughter. God knew that, over the years of homeschooling, we would travel over many peaks and valleys. I have had the opportunity to help one of my children further her interests in becoming a military pilot (a field in which I had no expertise). I have had the opportunity to help another one of my children persevere in his reading and spelling even though he faces the insecurities of dyslexia. And last year, my family had the opportunity to move in with my mom for a time to help her as she healed from a fall. Through each season, I remain content, knowing that our hearts continue to grow as we walk this journey together.
Homeschooling is intertwining love with education, learning with everyday life.
At times during your homeschool adventure, you will share the excitement of growing interests and celebrated achievements. Other phases will be spent concentrating on issues building up inside your child’s heart or tending to your child’s wavering faith. There may be stages when you face health complications or learning difficulties. As you encounter each new season, I pray you also find the will to persevere, knowing that God will guide you through.
The blessing in homeschooling is that during each and every season, you will be learning and growing together with your child. During these treasured times, you will help your child understand this world through the lens of the Bible. You will be showing your child how he can refer to the Bible throughout his daily life. And best of all, you can help your child feel the reassurance of his value in Jesus Christ, giving him confidence in who he is and how he is made.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7, NIV)
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