By Cheryl Swope, M.Ed

Homeschooling is hard sometimes. Parenting is already a challenge because in our fallen states, both we and our children war within ourselves to do what is good and right every day. When we decide to homeschool, we may feel as if we have added another heaping load onto our shoulders. Our own failings, the relentless temptations of the world, and the devil and his evil minions attack our purpose and thwart our efforts. 


Yet as redeemed children in Christ, we bring our children to the waters of baptism and teach them at home, that they may be thoughtful, service-minded, academically strong, and eternally secure in Christ Jesus. 


Looking back now that my children are young adults, one simple truth could have made all of this less daunting for me: All is His.




In our family’s homeschool from infancy through high school, some days were smooth, even idyllic, but many days prompted several overarching concerns that sounded like this in my mind: “Am I hindering my child? Is there a better way to teach this? Are my children picking up my bad habits? my husband’s? How will I ever get my son from where he is today to where (I think) he needs to be as an adult? How will I care for all of my daughter’s needs and still teach her effectively? How do I fulfill my other vocations as daughter and friend, neighbor, worker, and congregation member? Am I ever doing enough? How do I know?”



What I wish I would have known can be expressed in that simple reminder: All is His.

Luther writes, “‘All things’ that have being—obviously also all of our wisdom and abilities—derive not from themselves, but they both have their beginning from Him, are preserved through Him, and must continue in Him” (LW 78:15). As Paul says in Acts 17:28: “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

What does this mean? Nothing happens “by chance and accidentally, but everything comes from and through His divine counsel and good-pleasure. He cares for us as for His people and sheep; He rules us, gives us good things, helps us in danger, preserves us” (LW 78:15). I taught this to my children, yet I did not always know this for myself.










The mysteries of God will yield comfort to the believer, and His Word in Genesis through Revelation reveals His power that is far beyond our own. More than omnipotence, which would be of little comfort on its own, the very mercy of God comes to us in the person and work of Christ Jesus for us. And by the working of the Holy Spirit, we believe. He holds all things together. This comforts me; thus the recent emphasis in my thinking: “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

We may worry excessively or think we do much on our own, “yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6).

Lest we find this knowledge too abstract for our everyday moments, Martin Luther explains the great mysteries in small details.



 “Who can ever learn or explain how it happens that a leaf grows out of a tree, or a grain becomes a root, or through wood and kernel a cherry grows from a blossom?” (LW 78:16).

Similarly, he teaches in the Small Catechism’s explanation of the First Article that God “has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have” (emphasis added). 

A master of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, Luther was both a recipient and proponent of what we now call Christian classical education. Note especially the expert use of details and of the word all to bring us great certainly in God’s great promises.

Luther continues his First Article explanation by saying, “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil” (emphasis added). This is a helpful reminder for us in our instruction of our children.





All Is His

He does all of this. He has given; He also gives. He richly and daily provides; He defends. (I do not do this. We do not do this. He does this.) And He does this because He loves us in Christ, and He is good. “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me” (Small Catechism, First Article).

In those many doubt-filled and prideful moments in which we look to ourselves or begin to trust in our own abilities, we only make things worse for ourselves. We feed our doubts and coddle our pride. However, when in prayer we commend our children, their education, lives, and all things to His care, we can know that He gives us all we need. He already has given us all we need in Christ, and He will continue to do so.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

As we confess our lack of trust, our fear, and our pride, we have One who forgives us. Jesus died for even this. On earth, Jesus alone trusted God in all His ways, and Jesus alone always prayed, “Thy will be done.” Just as our dear Savior, Jesus, comes to our children, so He comes to us. He prays for us even now. All is His, given to us.

We can see this clearly when we confess the Apostles’ Creed. While our theologians today may wrangle about the Third Article of sanctification, our pastors must faithfully bring to us through Word, water, bread, and cup the Gospel of Christ as confessed in the Second Article of redemption. Perhaps now as loved, forgiven, redeemed, and daily cared-for parents, we can reclaim the proclamation of the First Article promises of creation.

“He causes all created things to serve for the uses and necessities of life. These include the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces. . . . So we learn from this article that none of us owns for himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here listed or can be listed. This is true no matter how small and unimportant a thing it might be” (LC II 14, 16).

He gives all. So even today as we teach and raise and love our children, we remember, know, and trust this truth: All is His.




Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded?

Donate today


By Cheryl Swope


One hot Missouri June when my children were very young, we decorated our front porch with a large white container of flowering impatiens. The pink and red petals with deep foliage cheered our doorstep. At the time, I knew that impatiens needed shade, but I hoped they would thrive in the full sun like other people’s front-porch flowers. 


We closed the door and walked inside. Anyone who knows about shade-loving plants knows what happened next. Over the next few days, in our blazing Midwest sun, blossoms shriveled. Foliage burned. Sobered, I carried those flowers to our shaded backyard. Few would see them now, but maybe we would witness the plants’ return to life from our family’s backyard swing.


The Dangers of Full Sun
As I was raising my young children, local playgroup friends talked about their able-minded children who earned ribbons, juggled extracurricular activities, and made good grades. I already knew my experience was not like theirs. In the afternoons after our homeschooling lessons, my children played in the backyard pretending to be Henry and Violet from The Boxcar Children in the large wooden box my husband nailed to a tree. They collected eastern tent caterpillars in glass jars. They learned, with much practice, how to have conversations. 


Like the impatiens, my children thrived in the sheltered retreat of our backyard. My children did not attend a different scheduled activity every day. My daughter, especially, seemed to need far more attention, supervision, and protection than most children. She also required specialized therapies, physicians, and extra help to learn.


Sometimes we pushed our young children more than we should have, and invariably we then witnessed dangerous or odd behaviors such as wandering, nightmares, playing with matches, and even eating laundry detergent. I did not know much, but I knew that our children would not thrive in the bright hot sun of excessive rigor, complex social demands, and overbearing pressures. 


To this day, the memory of those pink and red petals guards me against overtaxing my children. It also enlivens my desire to provide a beautiful, incremental, and purposefully gentle education for all children with challenges. Our children with challenges need the richly prepared soil of readiness, the shaded warmth of encouragement, the fertilization of regular practice, and the steady watering of good, clear instruction. With this, our children will grow and thrive, even if few ever admire or notice.


Two Sisters
Over the past twenty years or so, two sisters from that first playgroup furnished a similar lesson for me. One spunky little girl with short hair, Susan, evidenced an astonishing intellect from the age of three. My own children’s distracted minds had become so familiar to me, that I marveled when I saw the orderly block designs Susan created. 


Little Susan spoke well, attentively organized her playthings, kicked balls with ease, and even opened her own bananas without squishing them. Suitably, young Susan received a full, rigorous education at our town’s only private school from award-winning teachers. By graduation, Susan had earned honors and scholarships in speech, mathematics, and athletics. She now attends a small liberal arts college hundreds of miles from home and studied a semester in Italy.Outgoing, intelligent, and capable, Susan needed full sun from the very beginning of her life.


By contrast, Susan’s big sister Amanda had long hair and a clear singing voice, but she cried easily, worried much, and preferred to play at home. She loved kittens and anything small. We marveled that the two girls were so close in age, yet so different. As a teen, Amanda had migraines, unexplained stomach aches, and social fears that kept her parents linked to their phones waiting for her anxious calls.


While her sister Susan thrived in the demanding and highly social private high school, Amanda wilted. The girls’ parents chased doctor appointments and medications, and they finally decided to bring her home. Amanda began sleeping at night again. Her parents insisted on a strong education at home but allowed Amanda time to rest, read, and play with her favorite cats. Removed from the intensity of her private school, Amanda slowly regained her strength, color, and vitality. She graduated a year after her peers, attended a small college near home, and this past summer began teaching music and theater to young children. Children warmed to her, and she to them.


The Flowers
Far into October that year long ago, those backyard flowers grew into bushes of color with bright pinks and rich reds. Still delicate, they would never thrive in the bright heat of our front porch. I knew this now with certainty. I still remember that day. When I carried those tender, shriveled flowers to our backyard, the metaphors spoke to me in a sudden and deeply personal way. The flowers needed shade. I could not change that. My growing understanding of my children’s needs brought silent emotion as I made my way to the backyard. Yet somehow the understanding also brought a glimmer of contentment. I did not fully understand the implications, but I began to accept the truth: Some children grow best in the shade.


Reprinted with permission from Memoria Press. Originally published in Simply Classical Journal Winter 2018 edition.



Did you enjoy this article

Support the ongoing efforts of SPED Homeschool 

Donate today