Before my family decided to homeschool, my husband and I prayed “without ceasing” over the changes which would be required. Both my husband and I worked outside the home, and my income was sixty percent of the household income. While I was a certified educator, I was not certified in special education, which is what my daughter needed. During our research, we discovered that the school system would not provide speech or OT services, as they had done since the first week we brought our beautiful, micro-preemie little girl home from the hospital. Our answers to prayers directed us (very firmly) to homeschooling, but we were scared. How would we manage with only one income and with our daughter’s special needs?
First and foremost, we had to trust in our faith. My husband and I believe that God does answer prayers and He does interact with today’s world. We did what planning we could, took a deep breath (both literally and figuratively), and stepped out on faith as I resigned and stayed home. All of our worries were for good cause. We have struggled financially this first year. My daughter’s first two months of homeschool were so difficult that we both were in tears and I questioned over and over again if I had misunderstood and if I should put her back in school. However, as I worried and cried, I turned to the Bible for answers. Here are some of the answers we found.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (I Cor. 12:8 – 9)
Weakness? That was something I had an abundance of! If God allowed the Apostle Paul to keep a “thorn in the flesh” (some type of physical problem which really bothered him), then of course He will allow me to have some problems. His answer to me was the same as to Paul. “My grace is sufficient for you.” I just had to continue trusting Him by not holding on to the worry I was feeling. I had to let it go and trust that God could help us some way.
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Our daughter, Babygirl, loved staying home with me. After a usual summer off, she was ready for something different, and she was used to going back to school at this time. During the first two months, Babygirl panicked every time I said the word “school.” What I mean by panic is she would literally run screaming through the house, hiding behind the couch, in her closet, under her bed – anywhere she could reach before I caught up with her. She then discovered that the master bedroom door was the only room that locked and could not be opened from the outside, so she would run there and lock herself in.
If anyone needed strength from Christ, it was me. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times per day I prayed during that period. I would make lessons which she could do, lessons designed to help her overcome this fear she had of school (which I didn’t understand because she loved her public school teacher). I couldn’t even get her in the room to begin. I tried to have lessons in other parts of the house, but as soon as she realized I was starting something related vaguely to school, she would scream and run away again. After a couple of weeks, I almost gave up. Yet, I remembered, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I had to just keep trying.
I knew she was in the Preoperational to Concrete stages of development (see my article “Not Just a Little Adult”), so I knew I needed to give her experiences. We started going to the library and taking field trips – we did both at least once per week. She loved it, and it gave us time to develop conversation about what we were seeing and she started trusting me.
At this point, I had the realization that Babygirl needed to trust me, just like I needed to trust God. We were at a starting point for success. We had a beginning.