Updated: Feb 19, 2021
When I committed to the idea of homeschooling I envisioned what our experience would be like. I thought we would meet new friends and my son would have a lot of opportunities to meet other homeschool kids. Hopefully I would also make some friends with other moms who could understand the journey we were on. We would be able to share our struggles, and advice and we would plan field trips and activities that get the kids out of the “classroom” to learn. And this was all BEFORE a worldwide pandemic!
What I didn’t anticipate was the extreme feeling of loneliness and isolation that comes with spending almost all of our time at home. In our five years of homeschool we haven’t met many people. We haven’t created the sense of community that I first anticipated. I knew homeschool was the right choice for our family when it came time to start, when we were beginning kindergarten. God had clearly commanded us. It was clear: our first ministry, and our job was to train up our kids in God’s ways using homeschool as our chief opportunity. So we committed to the challenge and jumped in with two feet.
I can’t help but sometimes wonder why God put us on this path, when it doesn’t look anything like what I thought it would. While my kids have some opportunities to meet other kids through various outlets, the time they spend with other kids is very minimal. We rarely get to make connections with other families, and we haven’t formed any long-lasting friendships with others. The pandemic hasn’t helped. So I couldn’t help but wonder, why God put us in this position where we are always on our own?
The first two years of homeschool were really difficult! We were still trying figure out a good routine and a balance between “classroom” time and outside activities. We moved in with my in-laws. We had another baby who was growing into a toddler. She wanted to be engaged in everything that was going on. I was feeling overwhelmed with the lack of adult interaction and friendships. I was seriously questioning if we were on the right path. As I prayed about the confusion and discontentment I had, the answer came in a very unexpected way.
My dad became sick. He didn’t need someone to take care of him every day, but there were times when he needed help and really, just needed someone around to make sure he was okay. With everyone else in our family working regular day jobs, Brandon, myself, and our kids were able to step in and spend a lot of time with my dad. We were able to help run errands for him and my mom, take care of things around the house and just spend time with him, making sure he wasn’t in need of anything. This has become even more important through all of the shutdowns that have taken place because of COVID.
I soon realized that the freedom of our homeschool schedule allowed us to help my parents that otherwise, would have been impossible. God had created a schedule that was free of restrictions for the most part, so that we could be wherever we were needed. If we had been committed to park days, field trips, and other groups, we would have had to cancel those commitments or be unavailable when family needed help. If God hadn’t delivered my dad from his illness, we would have had the privilege to spend a lot of time with him before the end of his life. Thankfully God brought my dad through his illness and we are still able to enjoy even more time with him.
One of our jobs as Christians is to serve the needs of God’s people. We were only able to do that in this instance, because God had placed us in a position that allowed us to be free from constraints that a regular work and public-school schedule would have allowed. We despised the situation at first, but looking back, can recognize and appreciate God’s providence.
Over the years, I have seen how God’s plan for us to homeschool has allowed us to be used in other ways as well. As a family that serves in ministry, we have the freedom in our day to spend time with our kids in Bible study and prayer. Our kids have been able to come along with us when we are needed to serve the needs of other families through discipleship or prayer meetings. We can incorporate the teaching of God’s Word into their school days and talk about the patterns of His work that we see even through world history. We all learn together.
While our lives are not perfect, and we certainly have our days when we fail more than succeed, our kids are along for the ride everyday. They are able to see our successes as well as our failures, and most importantly they are able to see how God works through all of it. Now, we try not to look at our difficulties and trials as a reason to turn away from serving God. Instead, we embrace these things as part of the sanctification process that God is doing in us to prepare us for an eternity with Him. We should look at each of these failures, trials, and disappointments as a chance to learn more about who God is, and what He wants from us. If our hope and faith is in the fact that, at the end of our life here on earth, we will spend eternity with God, then we should embrace the opportunities we have to serve Him while we are here, dying to ourselves to serve the needs of others in any way we can.
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