Every season of homeschooling takes a measure of courage. In every season, we face new fears and concerns. Without courage, we would be tempted to retreat to the safety net of the known and give up altogether on this daunting and often misunderstood task. Each step takes courage, as we move forward to the exciting, impressive result we are hoping for: young men and women who love God, serve others, who are leaders in their community, fulfilling all God has designed for them.

The eagle has taught us some things this year; to develop the eye of the eagle and renew our vision, and to stretch our wings of faith. The eagle has shown us we need the vision to see, the faith to believe, and today he will show us, we need courage to do.

Seemingly unafraid, this majestic bird leaves the convention and safety of the ground far below and propels himself higher than other birds dare to go. The heart of the eagle represents the courage we need as homeschoolers to stay the course. Joshua 1:6-7 encourages: "Be strong (confident) and of good cheer….Only be strong and courageous, that you may do….." It takes courage to do. We need fortitude in any endeavor, especially one outside of our comfort zone or our realm of experience. Nothing in my life pushed me so much as homeschooling. I had to grow and change, constantly rely on the Lord, deal with rejection from people I really cared about, and do it all with a good attitude. Developing a spirit of courage allowed me to follow my heart, and God's calling to the best of my ability.

When we first decided to homeschool our boys, our family chided us to "just put them back in school." They were angry that we were being so fanatical and depriving our children of a "normal" childhood. Eyes rolled and tempers flared at the absurdity of what we were proposing. Sound familiar?

With a complete lack of support and strong opposition, we began our first year of homeschooling. I lasted only three days. Then I caved. I sent my boys back to school, regaining the approval of my friends and family, but losing out on a whole year of obeying God. The next year was a different story. Firm in my convictions, and regretting the year we lost, I knew there was no turning back this time.

Courage from day one…
Remember waking up that first day of school wondering what in the world you were doing? Pencils sharpened and heart pounding, excitement and enthusiasm soon overcame your trepidation. Then we face the first testing year. Scary. I have personally seen women consider sending their kids back to school, simply out of fear of testing.

Then come those worrisome teen years. Thoughts and concerns about credits, college, and career can intimidate even the staunchest homeschooling soul. Finally, we've finished the course and handed our young adult a diploma. While smiling on the outside, inside we are wondering if they are really prepared for what comes next.

Courage to fly…
There comes a time in our lives when we make a decision that flies in the face of convention; a moment when it seems not one person on the face of the earth understands, let alone approves of, our choice. Maybe this is the way you felt when you started homeschooling. Regardless of where you are in your homeschooling journey, it's going to take courage to keep moving, to bravely challenge convention and tradition, face your fears and doubts, and establish your heart so you will not be moved or intimidated by what others think or say.

Developing a spirit of courage allows you to challenge convention and the traditions of this world. Education has long been approached a specific way in our nation. People do not understand why many of us feel led to educate our children a different way. However, the world's standard is not to be our standard. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind…so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and perfect will of God for you, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]." To step out from under that and chart your own course takes no small amount of strength and unction

A courageous spirit does it afraid. In the face of real or perceived threats, rejection, opposition, even discrimination we have the power to obey God. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and fawning fear), but of power…." God will give us what we need to follow His path for our family. Though the world may try to intimidate us, we must obey what God has called us to do, regardless.

The spirit of courage will establish your heart. When your heart is established, that means it will not be moved. It is set on a course, responding to God's direction, determined to do all He has asked you to. Our hearts must be firm in our conviction, not moved by circumstances, fears, or the opinions of others. Psalms 118:6-7 is a tremendous promise to stand on: "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side and takes my part, He is among those who help me; therefore I shall I see my desires established…" (TAB). With God on your side, you can see the results you are hoping for, and enjoy the journey!

A homeschooler for over 14 years, Sue Brage is known as "The Homeschool Encourager." She speaks and writes to hundreds of homeschoolers and currently writes a weekly email devotional called Weekly Word.  She is also a full-time writer for an international ministry in the Denver area. To receive your free e- devotional, or for more information about her ministry, please visit her website, www.homeschool-encourager.com.