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Cover Story
Called to serve: Home schooling families in the military

On the frontlines: A few HSLDA military families

How do home school graduates enter the military?

How does HSLDA help families in the military?

"Grazie" from Italy

What can you do to help military families?

Special Features
Revisiting the Issue of Charter Schools

Congressional awards: America's best kept secret

Regular Features
A contrario sensu

Active Cases

Freedom Watch

Prayer and praise

President's page

Across the States
State by State

P R E S I D E N T ’ S   P A G E

J. Michael Smith, PresidentA cure for the home school blues

Some of our middle-aged members out there may remember a song that declares, "There ain't no cure for summertime blues." From our experience, it is not unusual for parents, especially moms, to experience "home school blues" this time of year. The good news is there is a cure!

First, we should pause to remember why we began teaching our children at home. Second, we should examine our reasons for continuing. Have they changed over the years? Has our emphasis shifted? Focusing on our reasons for home schooling will give us a renewed vision that will energize us to carry out our calling to teach and train our children at home.

The reasons we continue to home school may go beyond what motivated us to teach our children at home in the beginning. Many of us began home schooling to meet a need of a specific child or situation we were in at the time. That was the case for my family. Therefore, my wife Elizabeth and I began home schooling one year at a time. It made sense. At the end of the first year, we systematically evaluated its success. It was a logical way to address the issue of whether we would continue home schooling, and we did this for several years.

There is a second reason that some of us said we home schooled one year at a time. As you know, not all home schooling families receive the wholehearted support of their in-laws, out-laws, relatives, and well-meaning friends. Therefore, when we were asked by those who opposed our home schooling, "How long are you going to teach these children at home?" we were able to say, "One year at a time." This gave the objectors HOPE. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been to that same question had we said, "I think we'll just take them all the way through high school"? The next question we probably would have been answering would be from the truant officer asking why our children weren't in school.

However, the more quickly we can see that the real reason that we teach our children at home is for the greater cause of glorifying God, the sooner we will get beyond the one-year-at-a-time mentality. Getting beyond that mentality is the key to overcoming the home school blues.

Here is a list of some of the problems you may be facing, or will in the future, that can bring on the home school blues:

  • Child refuses to do school work.

  • Child doesn't like home schooling.

  • Not enough financial resources.

  • Opposition from in-laws, out-laws, friends, and church.

  • Husband is not supportive.

  • Running out of energy or illness.

  • Another pregnancy.

  • Legal challenges.

  • Subjects too complicated.

  • Special needs of children.

  • Feelings of inadequacy and doubt.

    Here are some specific solutions for the home school blues.

    Recognize that the circumstances that led you to home schooling were a higher calling. Home schooling is a calling by God to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Recognize that since home schooling is a calling by God, it will be difficult. There will be opposition and obstacles to success.

    Recognize that since it is a calling by God, God will give us all that is necessary to fulfill the call. No matter how intelligent, gifted, organized, motivated, and educated we may be, we have to realize that there will be times when we will run out of physical, mental, and emotional resources to meet the challenges. This should not concern us, because after all, we are to have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

    Recognize that our strength is made perfect in weakness. The Apostle Paul laid this principle down in II Corinthians 12. God denied Paul's request, after he asked three times, to have the thorn in his flesh removed. God's response was that His strength would be made perfect in Paul's weakness. And Paul said he would glory in his infirmities so that the power of God would rest upon him, concluding that when he was weak, he was then strong.

    The principle, of course, is that when we have done all that we can do, when we come to the end of our ability, then God intervenes as we confess our weakness and cry out to Him for His intervention.

    Finally, recognize that we have to relax and believe God. God is faithful to His promises. Psalm 127:2 says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." The Hebrew text seems to indicate that God gives more than sleep-that if we will rest in the confidence that God hears and answers our prayers, God intervenes and fills in the gaps while we are asleep.

    Many a home school mom and dad have seen that truth firsthand. After seeing the results of standardized achievement tests of their children indicating high performance, parents have said, "I can't believe it!" When we don't give up, when we do our best and then rest, God supernaturally fills in the gaps even in areas we may not have covered in our educational program.

    A Home School Legal Defense Association member family from Iowa experienced this truth many years ago. They had moved from another Midwestern state and enrolled their teenage son in the local public school. They were excited to be in a small-town and small-school atmosphere. However, the enrollment soon became a nightmare. After being tested, the boy was labeled learning disabled. He was teased constantly and despite extraordinary efforts by the mother to participate in the public school and make it work, the heretofore happy-go-lucky teenage son attempted suicide.

    Having no other choice, the mother began home schooling her son in November of that school year. The school threatened truancy prosecution but backed off after HSLDA threatened to expose the special education department at trial. The mother spent most of that year simply emphasizing the spiritual and emotional development of her son with very little emphasis on academics. After six and half months of home schooling, with fear and trepidation, this mother had her son take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. He tested 17 months above his grade level-after being labeled learning disabled just nine months before.

    At the end of the school year, the mother sat down and wrote a poem that summarizes her experience.

    You loser! You queer! You're no good!
    Words sometimes said, always understood.
    Cries of anger and fits of rage;
    Runaway threats and even the grave.

    Grips of despair, hurt and torment,
    Turned into scars and walls never meant.
    Fight against fights, to later give up.
    Ruins of "life," a poisonous cup!

    "Socialization," it is a must!
    "Squeeze them and mold them!" back to the dust.
    Myth upon myth, that line is told;
    A pack of goods have really been sold.

    Line upon line will now reveal,
    His precept on precept is what is real.
    God's risen Son will be your friend,
    In ways others could only pretend.

    Dearest child, your life was torn apart.
    But God can give you a brand new start.
    Our home now will be your safe school,
    Where God's love in your life may again rule.

    No matter how bad the situation may be, no matter how blue we may be, God can give us a brand new start. Our prayer for you is that you will purpose to keep your home "the safe school" for your children so that God's love may rule there.