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People say, “Tapestry isn’t a complete program.” Is that right?
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This is one of those things that “people say” which illustrates very well the telephone game type of distortion that I described in the Introduction to this series. Whether or not a program is complete …

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Home » All Posts, Quiet Time Support

Homeschooling in Hard Times: Introduction

Submitted by on March 4, 2011 – 12:45 pm9 Comments

The “Love is…” series is close to my heart, but each post takes me quite awhile to produce. So, I decided to start another series concurrently that would involve less study and prayer to produce, yet hopefully be timely and encouraging. The Lord put it on my heart to start a discussion about what we all do when we are called to homeschool through hard times. Let me start by defining my terms: “homeschooling” and “hard times.

“By “homeschooling,” I mean teaching your kids at home, but I don’t necessarily mean the 3 R’s. There are many things that we teach our kids by modeling responses to life’s ups and downs. All homeschooling is not created equal–or alike! Some of us teach all academic subjects to all our kids, some use resource centers or co-ops for some classes but teach others ourselves, and some of us have older students whom we drive to and fro and continue to parent, but we do no academic instruction with them. Even in this last listed case, you are by my current working definition “homeschooling.” Someone has wisely said, “All parents homeschool; some just do it full time.” Said another way, homeschooling is “parenting concentrate,” and while all parents have differing degrees of intensity, we are all homeschooling in this, the broadest, definition of the word.

What do we mean by “hard times”? Again, I’m going broad. With the national news so full of doom and gloom economic news (and with homeschooling fathers that we know losing their jobs), the term “hard times” immediately connotes “economic challenges” to homeschooling. We’ll include that situation in this series. But there are other ways that we homeschool in hard times. Here are a few that this series will address:

  • There are those among us who have given birth to children with serious physical or mental challenges. These newcomers need many hospital trips, surgeries, and/or specialized care at home, not to mention the emotional toll on the parents. What happens to the homeschooling (and the new child’s siblings) when Mom’s time is so drained by the challenges of caring for needy children? These are hard times, but there is grace in this situation. We’ll be looking for that grace!
  • Take a similar case, but different: some older children develop new ailments, sometimes life threatening but other times simply grinding. I’m thinking of everything from a diagnosis of a brain tumor to diabetes. Suddenly, a homeschooling family that had great balance is thrown off as new demands on Mom’s time surface. What does such a family do to cope? What about the missed lessons–should we be concerned?
  • How about the care of elderly parents? Many of our parents haven’t prepared for their retirement, or their savings have disappeared, due to the downturn in the stock market. Or, maybe money isn’t the issue: rather, it’s for their physical needs–such as in-home sick care, the sale of a home or other financial management, trips to the hospital, or providing meals–that we, their children, simply must provide. Whether we take them into our homes or travel to serve them in theirs, elder care drains our resources for homeschooling, so it qualifies as “hard times.”
  • What if you or your spouse become sick or disabled? Is it a given that the family must stop homeschooling? What are the options–the pros and the cons–of continuing to keep children home through such a difficult season?
  • What resources for homeschooling do we have if we become single parents? Whether through accident, illness, or relational conflict, losing a spouse is hard times, and these hard times demand much prayer and thought. Many suddenly single parents ask, “Is homeschooling even possible?”

I think God may have other scenarios for us to discuss as well as the ones I outlined above. The heart of this series won’t be the topics that I come up with, though. I am hoping that this series of posts are “thread starters,” where some of you who are living out these hard times currently to the glory of God can chime in and share both the things you’ve learned along the way as God brings you through hard times and your prayer requests for ongoing situations.

When we consider the possible trials of this world that we may be called on to endure, and when we see our nation stepping close to crossing the lines of prudent governance, aren’t we all tempted to fear? But God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)! The watch verse for this series will be the following, from Isaiah 43:1-3 (ESV):

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

We will all go through various trials. Jesus promised us that. Since homeschooling is our way of life, it too will be tested and tried. Homeschooling takes faith; homeschooling through hard times takes faith that eagerly looks up in hope and expectation. God is real, He is there, He is sustaining us with His amazing grace. What we probably most need in hard times is the reminder that He will never leave us nor forsake us; that He is refining us like gold or silver tried by fire. We will not be eternally harmed in hard times, nor will our precious children. If we walk by faith, even in hard times, we will not only live, because we know that “the righteous shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:7, and Galatians 3:11), but we will grow stronger in our faith and our love for God as He proves Himself faithful to us (James 1:2-4).

Let’s start the conversation now: does anyone have a testimony to the fact that your homeschooling journey through a rough patch has grown your faith or love for God?

9 Comments »

  • Scott W. Somerville says:

    Widows and orphans can get help with buying books and curriculum from the Homeschooling Foundation here: http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/index.php?id=4

  • Megan Bumgardner says:

    I prayed tonight that God would send me some encouragement, and so I thank him for doing that. Your love series has been a special encouragement and challenge to me. I printed out the posts and keep them in my quiet time notebook to read over on mornings when I am struggling with loving my family. I rejoice to see him doing a work in my sinful heart! I look forward to this series too, although I am not in a difficult season at present. Thank you Marcia for making time to encourage, teach, and bless other women!

  • Melody says:

    I dreaded the phone calls, “It’s so hot what do I do?”, “I can’t turn the TV on.”, “I think I smell gas.” Dementia is never easy, I had to relearn everything. Normal responses/ actions did not work.My daily prayer became, “Lord, help me to be responsible only for my words and actions. The rest I have no control over.”Now I am starting over again with a nonverbal learning disability. Nomal words and actions do not work.Daily my prayer has become, “Lord, fill me with your Spirit and strengthen me in the inner man.”What a blessing that Tapestry has flexed with us all this way. I don’t have to change curriculum. Although I will be learning how to change the delivery of Tapestry to meet toddler age nonverbal develpmental milestones.

  • Jeremy says:

    I’m just catching up on blog reading because we are encountering our own hard times right now. It’s nothing compared to the devastation further north, but here in Tokyo we have intermittent food and fuel shortages, rolling blackouts, and (so far small amounts of) radiation in the air, food, and water.I think of how the Depression and the War built the character of my grandparents’ generation, and I pray that my family’s character will be built as we walk through these challenges.Looking forward to the blog series.

    • Marcia says:

      Beth’s comment below had me revisiting this post. Jeremy… How is it going in Japan almost 9 months later? We prayed so hard for Japan when the crisis happened, but I have to admit that it’s fallen off my prayer list in recent months. We so love Japan! I hope you see this and get back to us here!

  • Beth says:

    I know this is much later than other posts, but I’ve just discovered these gems of discipleship. Our oldest son was born with a chromosome disorder so he has multiple special needs. 2 1/2 years ago, we also felt led to adopt a little girl with medical needs. I didn’t think these things drained me until I tried leading an active homeschool co-op. I am stopping all leadership activities in my life next year despite my desire to start new programs. I feel like I’m good at it and they have been successful, but I just can’t do it anymore. I want to give my kids more, but the physical needs of my oldest (despite the fact that he attends school) and the emotional needs of my youngest (we also have 2 other children in between these two) has left me needing very wide margins in my life. I want to give them a fuller and richer homeschool experience that they can share with friends, but am finding I just can’t do it.

    It’s frustrating because I am more and more becoming the homeschool mom who never goes anywhere or does anything with her kids because I just don’t have the energy. I don’t want to feel guilty and want to feel in my heart that even if I don’t involve them in extra groups or multiple sports that they will be OK. God’s grace is sufficient to love my husband and children, manage my family and homeschool them well, but that seems to be literally all I can do. Every time I try to go beyond just the basics, it burns me out quickly. I know God is proud of me, but sometimes I just feel trapped – wanting to do more, but really finding I just can’t. Thank you for being more than a curriculum company, but really choosing to disciple parents in this journey.

    • Marcia says:

      Beth,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your heart here! I know what it’s like to hit physical or time limits. I was really confined to the home during our high school years with six kids ranging from K-9th, and on for about 8 years. In some of those years, I was also writing TOG.

      As a result of what my God (and husband) called me to, I often felt feelings like the ones you express above. I so WANTED to do more. I beat myself up for not meeting every need that was clearly around me. Some months, it came down to feeling guilty because my husband cleaned our master bathroom instead of me!

      I do think that when homeschooling in hard times, we need to limit our circle of influence pretty strictly to the authorities that God has clearly laid out for us in His Word. Those would be your God and your husband. Not your friends, not your neighbors, not the media pictures of perfect families (HS or otherwise), not even your ideas of the needs of your kids, sometimes. Hard times mean making choices, and less-than-optimal conditions. But looking back, it was during the stretching times of my life and in my now-grown kids’ lives that we grew the most, and were best shaped to serve and love others with compassion.

      Bless you as you’re walking your road. Please know that you’re not alone; He will never leave you nor forsake you!

  • Emily says:

    Marcia, this was such an encouraging post. Thank you. It spoke volumes to my heart as I read it today. We’re going through our own hard time as we’re completing this school year. Thank you for the encouragement!

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