2. Memorize 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 together. In these verses, Paul teaches us that we are not only supposed to acknowledge our weaknesses but also to boast in them, because Christ’s “power is perfected in weakness.” He also admonishes us to be pleased in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and pressures, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

3. As you work through learning disabilities, chronic illness, or daily disappointments with your children, model for them what it looks like to walk by faith and not by sight—to focus not on what is seen, “but what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV).

4. Teach your children the importance of attitude and perseverance. Chuck Swindoll says that he is convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it: “We are in charge of our attitudes.” Do a word study on perseverance in the Bible. You will be amazed at how often faith and perseverance are linked in various passages.  

5. Every child needs an Individualized Education Program (IEP). In the majority of school settings, only children with certain disabilities qualify for an IEP. But at home you can develop an IEP that is tailored to each child’s needs and interests—taking into account not only disabilities but also other discomfiting situations they are dealing with in life.

6. Remind your children often of their strengths and areas of giftedness. Don’t neglect to help them discover their areas of spiritual gifting. Find activities they enjoy participating in and can excel in.

7. Pray for and with your children. Teach your children to pray for each other and to bear one another’s burdens in practical ways. In addition to the obvious life lessons learned, this training will keep them from resenting the extra attention that a sibling with a health issue, learning problem, or other special need requires.

8. Stay involved in a support group as much as possible. You need the love and support from close friends who understand the demands of homeschooling while you are dealing with difficult situations.

Just as Christ laid down his life for us, we are called to lay down our lives for our children. Elisabeth Elliot refers to this as the exchanged life principle. As Christ exchanged His life for ours, we are to exchange our lives for others’. Children need parents to advocate for them—to love them, teach them, encourage them, comfort them, correct them, rejoice in them, help them in their weakness, and affirm them. This is part and parcel of the education process. And as you lay down your life for your children, you are discipling them in powerful, life-changing ways. Teaching them to deal with disappointment, heartache, weaknesses, and other stresses is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children while they are still in your home.

PS: Ty’s sight came back miraculously eighteen months later and is an important part of his testimony and life story today.

Zan Tyler is the Director of Apologia Press, a division of Apologia Educational Ministries; the author of 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential; and an international speaker. Her goal is to empower and encourage parents in the eternally significant task of homeschooling. Zan and Joe homeschooled their three children from kindergarten through high school, for a total of twenty-one years.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com  or read it on the go and download the free TOS Apps to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

Publication date: February 6, 2013