December 23, 1995
Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the home schooling community and most recently, for the beautiful tribute to home schooling moms. It was such a blessing. However, I believe you need to acknowledge another unsung hero of home schooling: the fathers.
Many of them teach no classes or check a single paper-but not always by choice. Many, like my own dear husband, are pouring out their lives in yet a different way. They work two and three jobs, six and even seven days a week just to keep a roof over their families' heads so that mom can stay home, nurture, and teach.
In my own situation, my husband works two jobs-one is for the most vile people imaginable and the other is outside in all kinds of weather-so that I can stay home to raise and teach our four children. We have had three home business that we hoped would help us ease our finances, fail in three years.
It wasn't always like this. Two years ago, my husband's company was bought out by a conglomerate and closed 10 months later. One month and 200 resumes later, he found work, but took a salary loss of almost 20%.
Sometimes, it's so hectic that he comes home in the wee hours of Sunday morning, gets some sleep, takes us to church, comes home, has lunch and goes back to work. All that, plus he does all of our home repairs and improvements, and continues to look for a better job closer to home (he now works an hour away). We do not live extravagantly. We have four children, a home of less than 1,000 square feet, one car with over 135,000 miles on it, we shop second hand whenever possible, purchase only what we need, and share all we can with others going through worse times than we are (and believe me, we know those who are!). Unfortunately we live in an area of the country with the highest property taxes and electric rates in the nation. We stay here only because my husband has not been able to find work elsewhere. Apparently, the Lord wants us here, at least for now.
To say that the strain is incredible would be a gross understatement. We trust the Lord for things to get better, but, frankly, at times our faith, as well as our marriage and family have been sorely tried. (And mind you, we are not new believers-we've been serving the Lord for over 20 years!)
Both of us are constantly "on" as a result of our schedule and situations. Besides my roles as wife, mom, teacher, and home school support group leaders, I've had to take over many of my husband's responsibilities at home, including playing "mom and pop" to our kids. Our son, a pre-teen, especially feels his dad's absence, and there is no other male role model in his life.
We have no support from our families locally-mine live over an hour away and his family live locally and couldn't care less. (Both are unsaved.)
Our church has its own troubles and is barely keeping its doors open, and because of my husband's work schedule and the "one car factor" we cannot always be there as much as we'd like to be.
I know God will see us through, but I can't understand why the Lord is allowing this to continue for so long with no end in sight-a real test of my faith. All I am sure of is that there are many of us out there, struggling with more than just the challenges of home schooling. We struggle for survival as a traditional family! Yet we continue because we know in our hearts that home schooling is truly the best way to nurture and teach our children to grow in wisdom and godliness-we daily see children from godly families falling away from the Lord and their families as a result of the influences felt in public and even Christian schools, which many times aren't much better than the public schools here. We can't allow that to happen to our children and will willingly continue to make these sacrifices in order to teach them at home.
I share this with you not to invoke your pity, but to let you know the extent of the sacrifices that many of us bear. I know home schooling families in my area-an area that many believe is filled with only the wealthy-in even worse shape: some on public assistance, others with single moms who work all night and sleep through the morning so they can teach their children in the afternoons and others like my husband and myself and our family. Please take the time to write about those unsung heroes-the home schooling dads who make it possible for us moms to do what we do and keep our family and the many like us in your prayers.