How to Start Your Homeschool Year Supported
- Cindy Short and Sue Welch Contributing Writers
- 2006 20 Sep
As you start this school year, you might feel like you can't do it alone - and you're probably right. But the good news is that you don't have to go it alone.
We remind you here that there is more than enough support available to you to successfully see you through the year.
"The joy of the Lord will be your strength." Relax and have a good time learning with your children this year!
Don't try to tough it out all alone. Line up your support team now for smoother sailing; don't wait until it's too late.
Look to the Lord as Your First and Best Support
Others may let you down or fail to fulfill your needs, but not God. Go to him first for the support you need.
"My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation:
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength,
and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people,
pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us."
1. The Lord Is Always There 24/7
You don't have to wait for next month's support group meeting or until someone else is available to help you. You can call on the Lord at any time, day or night. His invitations and promises to you assure that you will never become a burden to him.
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).
2. The Lord Is All-Knowing and All-Wise
The Lord knows exactly what you are going through and how you feel. He knows precisely what your family needs, both now and in the future. He is willing to share this wisdom with you; all you have to do is ask.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James 1:5-6a).
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are,
yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need."
The Lord loves you and your family with unfathomable, pure, and unfailing love.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father
hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1).
"Casting all your care upon him;
for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7)
He will give you what is best in his time and in his way. This is where our trust in him must be implicit.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him (God)" (Hebrews 11:6).
How To Avail Yourself of the Lord's Wonderful Support
Sadly enough, we all too often fail to receive the gracious gifts of our Lord for various reasons.
- We get into the habit of trying to meet our own needs, forgetting to turn to the Lord.
- The physical world can seem more real to us than the unseen spiritual world.
We can correct this habit and misperception and find our Lord's aid and fellowship in the following ways:
1. Spend time daily in reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God's Word.
Morning, noon, and night is not too much.
- Morning - Have your private time with the Lord.
- Noon - Read, study, or memorize Scripture in your school time or at the lunch table.
- Evening - Have family Bible reading at the table or before bed with Dad.
It is in his written revelation to us that we meet the Lord and he speaks to us.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
Restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
Making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
Rejoicing the heart
2. Fill your life with good Christian music
Music is a powerful influence in our lives. Both the words and the style of the old hymns of the faith carry a message that honors the Lord and reminds you of him and his attributes.
Although constant background music can be distracting and lose its impact, there are many times during the day that listening to, or singing, Christian songs can turn your thoughts to the Lord.
You might want to lead your children in a chorus or hymn each time you read from God's Word.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
3. Talk to the Lord frequently throughout the day
It might be hard to visualize the Lord beside you all day long, but if you engage in conversational prayer with him throughout the day, you will be reminded of, and comforted by, His presence.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
let your requests be made known to God
Look for Support at Home
Your family comprises a support group for you, your husband, and your children. Here is how you can give and receive support right at home.
1. Start with Yourself
Set Realistic Expectations
God does not ask us to do more than we are able. It is up to us to make sure we don't load ourselves down with extra projects of our own devising that he did not intend.
- Don't get carried away with extra-curricular activities; you need to be home to home school!
- If you are overwhelmed already, consider some of our suggestions for efficient school schedules in our Back-to-Home-School Checklist.
- Cut back and slow down until you can manage your goals. It is better to do a little well and then add more back in as you can.
Maintain Your Health
We must also be good stewards of the resources he has given us, including our own health. We are not free to indulge in excesses, but must eat, work, and rest in ways that preserve our ability to accomplish his purposes. We all know the basic rules:
- Eat healthily; drop extra pounds.
- Drink enough water.
- Exercise regularly, but reasonably. A daily walk with your family promotes family unity as well as physical health.
- Deal with stress and problems God's way, don't let them build up.
- Take time to relax and enjoy your family.
- Get your full amount of sleep every night.
You cannot get enough support from others to make up for a disregard of the laws of cause and effect that God has ordained.
2. Don't Overlook Your Spouse
Maintaining a loving relationship with your spouse will naturally be a great support to you. And remember, you are his support system too.
While your spouse is your closest human support and should be kept aware of your thoughts and feelings, problems and struggles, he should not feel that he is solely responsible to "fix" everything. Let him know that you have other resources, and discuss options together with the confidence you gain from trusting the Lord.
It might help to obtain a book and show it to your husband to reassure him of the validity and benefits of home schooling.
Your spouse may need some practical suggestions for ways to support you.
- Perhaps you only need 15 or 20 minutes at the end of each day to debrief each other and pray about any situations that have arisen.
- Agree on standards for your children's behavior and a system for their consistent discipline.
- Plan times to relax together.
3. Look to Your Family
Home schoolers recognize the value of the family unit. Let it support you. Enlist the help and support of your children. Grandparents or other relatives may offer support as well.
Your family will need help in knowing how to support you.
- You may need to tell your children, "I really love you and love teaching you, but I need a little extra help in keeping up with the chores. A word of encouragement or a hug would sure come in handy too!"
- Be sure you model support and encouragement in the way you interact with your family at all times.
- Family members can, and should, be each others' best friends and supporters. Talk to your children about helping each other in this way. A focus on the positive can replace problems.
Look for Support from Other People
1. Look to Good Friends
Just one faithful, sympathetic, and praying friend can offer a tremendous amount of support. This informal "support group" can meet on the phone whenever the need or opportunity arises or once a week at a specified time.
Caution: Don't let this good friend take the place of the Lord or your spouse.
When like-minded home-school families spend time together, they provide needed support and encouragement for the whole family.
2. Consider Mentoring
Veteran home educators should consider what they have to offer beginners. New home schoolers can look for veteran home educators to mentor them. A regular time together or an occasional phone call can make a big difference!
A local support group may be able to help you find a mentor.
3. Look to a Support Group
Support Groups may consist of only two families, or they may be large and offer many functions and activities.
Involvement with your local Christian home-school group can provide encouragement, fellowship, educational opportunities, field trips, academic training and information, solutions to your problems, and answers for your questions.
- Don't become overwhelmed by trying to participate in all the activities offered by your support group.
- Look for a group that will support your family's standards.
4. Look to Your Local Church
The fellowship and teaching of your local church provides important support for your spiritual life.
An ideal home-school support group might also be formed within your church if fellow members are home schooling. It is an added blessing to have a pastor who encourages you in your home-school efforts.
"And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is;
but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching"