We just started school in August and it seems like it’s been a year already, especially with all the whining, the school clutter, the cooking, the extracurricular and church activities, the discipline and training issues, the service opportunities, the neighbors, the needy, not to mention the people involved in all of that. It’s no wonder we have been off our school routine more than on. Why does this always make me feel like such a wreck? I am doing good things, but am I doing too many good things, or the right things? I have good plans and a nice routine for our homeschool, but we can’t seem to stay on track.
Some days, the guilty thoughts, the pressure of things piling up, and the feeling of always being behind can crush me. These are the days that I wonder if there is any hope for this homeschool. Are you with me? Let’s talk about what hope is and why we desperately need it as homeschoolers.
First, a story about hope. Let me tell you about my third daughter. When I was pregnant with her, the doctors tried to convince me to abort her. I was told that she most likely had Trisomy 18 which meant that she might only live a few days to a few weeks after her birth, if she even made it to birth. They showed me the signs and the deformities on several ultrasounds (pocket of fluid on the brain, rocker feet, clenched hands, etc.).
We were asked if we wanted to continue this pregnancy, as there was probably no hope of life for this child. They asked why we would go through the process and the pain of this hopeless situation. We said that we believed God was the giver of life and held the number of this child’s days in His hand. We would absolutely continue the pregnancy.
When I got home, I cried out to God and I said this over and over, “I put my hope in you, God!” And I meant it. We gave her the name Hope. We were going to put our little hope, and our little baby Hope, in God.
From deep within my soul and spirit, I needed hope. And the only hope I had was to put my Hope in God’s hands. Hope’s future, Hope’s purpose, Hope’s life, and if it were to be, then Hope’s death, would also be in His hands. We believed that He knew best even when we couldn’t see the outcome. We daily put our Hope in God. In due time, she was born by cesarean section a cute, chunky-cheeked, 9lb. 3oz. healthy baby girl, who is now 12 years old. What if we had given up hope?
Hope is a powerful thing. It makes you hang on when everything else says let go. Hope’s story has continued to teach me not to abort hope, or fear the future, or give up—God is not finished with our story.
How do we go through the process and the pain of seemingly hopeless situations? We walk in hope. We put our hope in God who is in charge of the past, present, and future. He is our hope. His Word gives us hope. We have to search out, understand, know, and meditate on His Word. Here is the Scripture the Lord gave me which sustained me through this uncertain pregnancy:
“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight … And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:2, 3).
In dark times we know that hopelessness is not the right response. Why? Because God is Good, and He goes before us and purposes to give us treasures in those dark places, and these come when we cry out to Him with all our heart.
Even if our way is not the way we chose, even if we can’t see the outcome, we can adjust our view and see hope in every situation. And when we carry Christ into every situation, we carry hope.
All of this makes our homeschool hopelessness pale, doesn’t it? What’s the big deal about doing our best to teach our children to love God and love others and learn academics along the way? We can do this, even through the rough patches. We have the God of Hope on our side and in our heart. Seek Him and you will find hope for everything from homeschooling to home births to home tragedies. He has treasures for us in all of it if we seek Him in those hopeless places.
Hope comes because we know we can always trust Him. We know His character and His Name and we know that He doesn’t ever abandon us. So much hope!
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Psalm 9:10).
A Hopeful Homeschool
Now, let’s bring some hope back into that crazy homeschool of yours. What is bothering you most? What is taking your hope away of ever getting this thing done right? Clutter? Laundry? Piles of books? A better schedule? A different curriculum plan? Maybe it’s a painful event that you just can’t see hope in, so you are paralyzed in your homeschooling. Let’s brainstorm some hope into your school day:
- Take an inventory and tackle something one day at a time, one task at a time, and one 20-minute segment at a time.
- Take a couple days off to get things back in order. Have all the children lend a hand and clean up before you begin school again. Put lots of small tasks on slips of paper in a jar and let the kids choose two each.
- Create a flexible schedule for each child that is basic and easily doable and something they can check off. It could have schoolwork and chores listed, and they check each item off every day. This makes them feel like they accomplished something as they work towards a goal of free time. It also means they don’t have to ask you what’s next or wait for you for anything. It’s all on their chart. And the housework gets consistently done without nagging.
- Carve out a 20-minute time for you to seek God. Or maybe a 10-minute chunk three times a day. Maybe it is at the kitchen sink. Maybe it is in the nursing chair. Maybe it is in the bathroom or closet. Get there and get low before God, get in His Word, and He will lift you up out of hopelessness and into strength and joy.
- Get rid of time wasters and get up and keep doing the next right thing.
There is hope because learning is going on even if it is not in the books. If we have studied the Bible together and prayed, we call it a great day because we have done something eternal. If we have laughed together and played, we call it a good day because we have built relationships that will stand through time. If we have served together and helped someone else, we call it a wonderful day because we have been like Jesus.
Not one day is wasted when doing all that we do for the glory of God alone (Colossians 3:23). And there is a lot of hope in all of that. Show your children what hope looks like as you keep them Home Where They Belong.
Copyright 2017, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.