And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

II Corinthians 12:9

by Daria Danielson, SPED Homeschool community member 

 

I went through a summer where every thought of the upcoming homeschool year was filled with dread. I put myself together as the weeks progressed and readied myself for my son’s 8th-grade year. The first week did not go well, and the second and the third weeks were stressful for both of us. The dread overcame me each Sunday night for the week to come and each evening for the day to come. I was in a bad place in my head and did not know what to do, so I laid my concerns, troubles, fears, complaints, and desperate pleas at the feet of Jesus with confession and wrestling. I confessed that this was impossible for me and that I was not designed for this. I confessed I could not do it, and if the Lord wanted me to do it, He would have to do it ALL.

 

How many failures do I have to have? How many fears? How stuck do I need to be? How many sins? How much hypocrisy and discontent do I need to have before I lay my concerns, fears, and frustrations down at the feet of Jesus Christ? The following discusses details of a few incidents where confession took place which eventually gave way to victory in Jesus. 

 

PRIDE

Surrounded by my family all day can result in words that are spoken, intentionally and unintentionally, that hurt feelings – including my own. One day I took the time to sit and think about why I was responding defensively on a subject and discovered that the reason for my defensive responses was that my pride was hurt. I was then able to bring my discovery of this to Jesus’s feet and repent of my pride and self-love. Much personal healing and victory have resulted from this discovery. Now, I talk with my children about pride and how it was so sneaky so they, too, can begin to look out for sneaky pride and self-love in their communication with others. Satan hates to be discovered and called out.

 

HYPOCRISY

Assuming I am not the only mom in the whole wide world that has this problem, I will venture to confess the burden of my failure to learn has been consistent. Yet while I write this, memories and thoughts of my annoyances with my children for not paying attention, forgetting, being lazy, and disobeying flood my mind. I have to say that I am so glad that God does not treat me with as much intolerance, irritability, and impatience as I have treated my children. He is a kind, patient, and gentle Savior.  I am no longer afraid to tell my children what areas I failed at as a kid. If I have to point out a sin of theirs and discuss it with them, it has been helpful to take a turn and confess my sins, too. It helps to be familiar with myself and my sins since I am no better than my child in God’s eyes. It has opened up more communication between the children and me. 

 

DISCONTENT

First, it started with an offense by a neighbor. Then, it grew in my mind to proportions that brought me to anger and bitterness. It was becoming burdensome to me as well as my friends. Even my teenage child noticed it was becoming a problem, so I confessed these before the Lord. I wrestled with the Lord because I knew I wanted to harbor my bitterness and anger but was not supposed to. There was difficulty in the work of exposing the sin and continuing to go to God, who is the only one who could free me from Satan’s stronghold and my desire to keep my pride and self-righteousness. It was worth the struggle because not only did God deal with my anger and bitterness, but He also revealed a more hidden sin which was that of discontent. I did not like how God allowed things to occur in my life (the offense by a neighbor) and that I was unhappy that things didn’t go my way. I discovered the more concealed sin that, bluntly put, was shaking my fist at God as if I knew better than God. 

 

THE WORLD CAN WAIT!  

Our children benefit a thousand times over if only we afford to step away and acknowledge the evil tendencies in our nature, spill out our concerns and fears, and run to a kind Savior that awaits our pathetic pleas. Unspeakable joy, light, fellowship, and open discussion with the children have been a wonderful result of this exercise of privately confessing and laying out all concerns, fears, hurts, and pain before great God. 

 

The dread-filled summer and school year of my son’s 8th-grade year were not fun at the time; however, it marked the beginning of an awesome and amazing journey of brokenness, submission, secret confession, faith, and fellowship with our humble Savior. 

 

Dear sisters, I cannot emphasize the wonderful salve a dear Savior applies to homeschool moms that cannot help but notice their secret sins mid-day and keep them captive until able to rush to the throne by laying them at the feet of Jesus with confession and wrestling! Too much joy is hidden, too much healing delayed, too much victory unseen, too much praise stifled when my sins are dismissed and not soon called out, caught, called by name, and confessed before God.

 

 

 

 

 


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 by Emily Wells, SPED Homeschool Community Member 

 

Like many of you, I am just a mom who did what I had to do so that my son could get the best education, so I am honored to write about our homeschooling journey. My son, Jackson, was diagnosed with Level 1 Autism just after his third birthday. It shocks some parents when they receive this diagnosis for their child. But I had nightmares that my son would not be diagnosed and I would not have the support he needed. His behaviors and the amount of catching up that I felt like he had to do in speech, independent living skills, and development completely overwhelmed me. 

 

Soon after we received Jackson’s diagnosis, we placed him into an Early Intervention Preschool. We could also take Jackson to speech therapy and occupational therapy. These were lifesaving to me. I needed breaks. I needed help to understand my son and how to manage his meltdowns. I learned so many things during this time. Had you asked me then, I would have told you that there was NO WAY I could homeschool my son.

 

Since Jackson had a late birthday, he attended preschool for two more years. In his final year, we placed him part-time in a Head-Start program to get used to a regular classroom full of children and part-time in his early intervention preschool again. It was a big growing year for us. We discovered Jackson was VERY social with his peers at school. We were told he enjoyed throwing sticks for his friends to play “fetch”! His early intervention teacher said that he was doing fantastic in her class and she would rely on him to answer questions for her! This was something we couldn’t have imagined possible just one year before. But we also learned from his Head-Start teachers that if there was an activity that he didn’t want to do, they would not force him to do it. So my son hardly came home with any artwork because the teachers did not want to trigger a meltdown.

 

As Pre-K was coming to a close, we started looking at our options for Kindergarten. Jackson’s intervention teacher was confident that he would transition to a mainstream classroom with no problems. But we also heard that most Kindergarten teachers expect multiple sentences and even paragraphs of handwriting by the second semester! We were shocked! One of Jackson’s biggest struggles is his fine motor skills. His occupational therapist had been consistently working with him to develop those muscles, but his handwriting still needed a lot of work. My husband and I became increasingly concerned that Jackson would easily fall behind without a person able to MAKE him do the tasks he was unwilling to do, like handwriting.

 

So I had a decision to make: I could spend time after school with Jackson to practice his handwriting, which would undoubtedly incur more stress and tantrums because he needed that time to wind down; OR, should I teach Jackson myself. By this time, Jackson had a breakthrough with his speech therapy and wasn’t really needing it anymore. He became pretty capable of communicating his needs to us. We also understood his behaviors a lot better and had tools ready to help prevent or manage meltdowns.

 

HOMESCHOOLING IT IS! In the beginning, it was a very daunting task. My mother homeschooled my three siblings and me, so I was partial to familiar curriculums. Nowadays, there are so many curriculum options. What would happen if I chose the wrong one? Would Jackson connect with and understand the material I chose? I prayed a lot. I chose curriculums with the most hands-on material possible. 

 

In the beginning, Jackson struggled with the fact that I was the teacher and not Mrs. Miller (his previous teacher). Many times he told me, “You are not the teacher! You are mommy!”. But we kept pressing through. Getting started in a subject was a challenge but once he got into it, he was fine. Our biggest struggle was – you guessed it – handwriting. The curriculum that I was using relied heavily on tracing and practicing. This was frustrating for Jackson. He hated it. Even with using a golf ball on his pencil to help his grasp as his therapist had suggested, he still demanded me to help him write the letters hand over hand almost the entire time. By the time we were about a quarter of the way through the year, I had another decision to make: should I stick with this curriculum or try something different? I had heard many good things about Handwriting Without Tears and noticed it was very popular on the Facebook Homeschool sale groups. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave this new curriculum a try. Aside from homeschooling Jackson, changing the handwriting curriculum was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Instead of fighting me to repeat a letter on a page, Jackson demands to WRITE the letter before I can give him the full demonstration! He loves the songs, using the blocks and the chalkboards. And it has made a vast difference with his confidence and the clarity of his handwriting!

 

For those of you that are trying to make that first step to homeschool your special needs child, my advice is to trust your gut. Everyone will tell you their opinions. Jackson’s EI teacher and his psychologist assured me he would do perfectly fine in public school. That may have been true. But as Jackson’s mother, it still didn’t sit right with me. There are so many resources and supports out there now that you do not have to start this journey alone. And it could very well be one of the best decisions of your life.

 

 

 

 

 


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Melissa Schumacher, SPED Homeschool Team Member

 

How long did you consider homeschooling before you actually did it? What events or factors made you finally decide to homeschool? I considered homeschooling for years. But, it took a once-a-century global pandemic for me to finally start. Our journey to homeschool spans nearly ten years, two continents, and three moves.

 

As an active-duty military family, there is always change. I admit I looked to public school to be one of the more stable parts of our lifestyle. Certainly, with federal laws like IDEA, education and special education should serve my kids well. Over the years, I have met many military families who homeschool. When I was still pregnant with my son, I sat with a homeschooling mom who talked with me about how homeschool was a natural fit for her boys who loved to explore nature. Or families who lived overseas and traveled to see history, rather than just reading about it. There was so much appeal.

 

One of my parenting mottos is “Begin well, end well.” We don’t have a lot of control over where we will be stationed, how long we will be away from family. But we can begin well by planning as much as possible and having a good attitude when things are difficult or plans change. 

 

We moved from Ohio to Texas during the days between Christmas and New Year. A mid-year move is always difficult, but the added stress of my husband returning from a deployment, moving during the holidays, and re-establishing medical care and therapies for my son with special needs was another level of challenge. Before our move, I had multiple meetings with both schools to ensure a smooth transition. 

 

But, let’s just say it wasn’t smooth. The following two years were very bumpy. But I held on. If we were to homeschool, I didn’t want to abandon public school or leave over my frustration. I wanted to end well.

 

I also held on because my husband traveled frequently; I worried about how I would get a break during those long stretches of parenting by myself. I held on because I had a father fighting cancer, and I was his primary caregiver. I held on because I wanted both of my sons to have the same opportunities, even though they are very different children.

 

While my children were technically enrolled in our public school, I let go in March 2020. Just two weeks before the pandemic shut down our city and our schools, my father passed away. My husband’s upcoming travels were canceled. In one month, our lives and the entire world changed, and I found us at home homeschooling.

 

While there was no beautiful ending to our public school experience, we had a beautiful, yet unplanned start into homeschooling. We started our days with nature walks and had home-cooked lunches. We sat at the kitchen table together and worked on all our subjects together. We focused on cooking, drawing, and building. I used this time to observe my new ‘students,’ and my kids adjusted to a new ‘teacher.’ This was an enormous shift for each of us. I don’t regret that we waited to start homeschooling. 

 

“…we can begin well by planning as much as possible and having a good attitude when things are difficult or plans change. 

 

We know that homeschooling is a wonderful choice for our family during this season. We also know that seasons change. If you are considering homeschooling or are approaching a new homeschool year, what do you need to begin well? Some moms find a weekend retreat for resting and planning for the upcoming year to be most beneficial. Or maybe finding other homeschool moms in your community to connect with will set you up for success.

 

What will your children need to begin well this school year? Do you have a tradition for the first day of school? Whether your kids have always homeschooled or new to homeschool, how can they contribute ideas to your homeschool plan? In military terms, we do a “hot wash” where my sons can talk about their likes and dislikes and strengths and challenges with our homeschool journey. This helps us make adjustments together. 

 

As we start to think of the end of summer, the beginning of a fall, a new school year, I think of all the big and little transitions in my children’s lives, our home, our community. And I’m thinking of all the mothers like me who may be entering a new season of homeschooling. I’m wishing you a wonderful beginning.

 

 

 

 

 


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