The Hidden Blessings of Military Homeschooling
- Monday, August 22, 2011
Even when the situation is more normal, the kids can take a break during the school day when Steve is able to come home for lunch just to jump on the trampoline or play a chess game with him. My kids would not have the relationship they do with their father had it not been for the blessing of time afforded by the homeschooling lifestyle.
As Christians, we believe that everything that comes to us passes through God’s hand first. Whether that is illness, death, a move, or deployment, we know that God can use the situation for our good. It seems that whenever I am feeling smug and sure of my schedule at the beginning of a school year, some circumstance comes along to upend it! I am not in control. Apparently this is a lesson I’ve needed to learn more than once. I’m not meant to be comfortable in this world, and I am actually grateful that God frequently bumps me out of my comfort zone.
Blooming Where We’re Planted
Yes, this is a cliché, but clichés usually contain a grain of truth. And this is another lesson I’ve had to revisit. Whether it’s a state (or country!) I never thought about living in, a house I don’t like, difficult neighbors, or some other situation not of my choosing, I try to make the best of it, with the attitude of not simply surviving, but thriving. This is definitely not always easy!
From starting homeschooling support groups for my children’s sake to complying with varying homeschooling laws in the U.S. and overseas, “blooming where we’re planted” has taken on new meaning for us time and again. My best advice to families on the move is to be aware of the laws where you’re going, and don’t listen to rumors. For instance, it is not illegal for military families to homeschool in Germany, as we were told by well-meaning people when we received orders to move there. Military dependents overseas fall under the U.S. SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) laws rather than the laws governing local citizens.2
With each new place we move, we know that there is a purpose for our family being there, and though it’s not always easy to leave friends behind, we do remind each other that it’s not always about us. Blooming where I’m planted has been one of my most difficult and rewarding life lessons. What a rich tapestry of memories we can look back on now as we consider all the locations God has chosen to “plant” our family!
God Alone Is My Source
With each new military assignment, we start all over again, finding friends, a church, and fellow homeschoolers. While I find it easier to make friends and approach new people than I did 20 years ago, there is still always a time of loneliness and loss. As much as I appreciate fellow Christians and even my own husband, I have learned the lesson that God alone is my Source and Provider and that I must turn to Him to meet my needs. I wonder if I would know these lessons as well as I do had I not been forced to start over so many times. I am frequently reminded that this earthly home is a temporary one, and not to hold too tightly to people or things.
As a military wife and homeschooling mother, I can clearly see God’s hand through the past years and the lessons He has taught us. Many of the reasons we began homeschooling have evolved into reasons we couldn’t have imagined sixteen years ago. With our oldest child now graduated and moving into the life God has planned for him, I look back over our years as a military homeschooling family, and I can truly say that I have no regrets.
Jennifer McDonald is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in various national publications. She’s been a military wife for 22 years and a homeschool mom of 16 years to her four children, and she has one child in college. She enjoys playing the piano, walking, cooking, and reading. Visit her blog at www.afjen.blogspot.com.
1Anderson, Jon R. “ABCs of Homeschooling.” Air Force Times. www.airforcetimes.com/ community/family/offduty_homeschooling_102510w/
2Smith, J. Michael. “Military Homeschooling Overseas.” HSLDA, May 2009. www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000032.asp
Online Military Homeschooling Resources
4. Life in Paradise (my blog)
This article was originally published in the May/Jun 2011 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Request a FREE sample copy at http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com
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