Starting Over

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Almost three years ago, I watched as my youngest son left for college. He was the last of four children, and my homeschooling years had come to a close, or so I thought. The heartbreak I felt in the symbolic finality of his saying good-bye was immense. Sure, I would see my adult children and share wonderful moments together in the future, but our family would never be the same. Added to my overwhelming feeling of loss was the apprehension of a fifty-plus retired homeschooling parent’s future. “What now?” was the question that continued to reverberate in my mind.

I didn’t have to wait long for God’s answer to my question. Moving back to my hometown to care for my aging mother, God took me to a whole new homeschooling experience. Miraculously, He orchestrated an employment opportunity where I could write about the lessons I learned from Him during our homeschooling years. Here I am today, writing to you and praying that my words will help you hold fast through the hard times to discover your own homeschooling blessings. What an opportunity—God is so good! Each day I feel like I’m starting over as He takes me back through the memory banks of my mind to recall moments of success and failure. I see the faces of my children throughout our homeschooling years and remember my past to give you a hope and a vision for your future.

Amazingly, I still fight many of the same spiritual battles I faced as a young homeschooling parent: battles of laziness, procrastination, worry, doubt, and pride. Even at my age, God continues to mold me into the likeness of His Son, and I claim the apostle Paul’s words: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Most of all, I’ve come to realize that no matter if you’re a brand new homeschooling parent at the age of 26 or an old-time retiree, Jesus is the same wonderful, loving protector and provider, “who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Lord, thank You for the incredible adventure of homeschooling and the strength to see the end rewards and blessings. Please, encourage those who are homeschooling today to remain faithful, so they too may reap the fruit of their years of sacrifice and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Comments(23 comments)


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ANNEMARIE H 08/03/2008 09:57:27

Dear Starting Over, I wanted to simply THank You... I am 38 with two boys 15 and 4 and I am at the beginning of my journey with Home Schooling. I was moved to tears while reading your message, it is truly a leap of Faith to trust GOD with this process and know that my boys will ultimately gain much from this. THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom From a former nurse turned Homeschool Teacher...... AnneMarie

STACY M 08/02/2009 09:39:33

Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories with us and for encouraging us to greatness through Christ Jesus! You have a wonderful ministry now, and we are thankful for you! Your children are blessed and I'm sure they are a blessing to everyone in their lives. Great job! God be with you & yours, Stacy Homeschooling Mother of 4 blessings

ELIZABETH J 08/02/2009 10:12:46

As we are beginning to start our 14th year of homeschooling it is hard to believe how fast the time has gone.This year is bittersweet as my oldest daughter starts college in a few weeks so I only have one other daughter that is starting 10th grade.Seems like yesterday we were trying to decide if we were going to homeschool. It has been a blessing more then I can say. The devotional today is a great reminder that God has a plan for all of our lives. He has blessed us with the gift of home schooling and it is one to be treasured always.Thank you for sharing your memories. I have the book of all of these devotionals as well. Many blessings to you and your family....... Beth, Newark De

HEATHER M 08/02/2010 04:18:13

Thank you for your inspiring story about your homeschooling season. We have six children and lost our seventh last year in the middle of homeschooling. We did have our baby for a month, but never brought her home because of her condition. I felt so overwhelmed and blessed (she was our miracle) at the same time while we went through this intense time of our lives. God reconfigured our hearts from that point on and we re-evaluated everything, little by little. With the responsibilities that come with homeschooling effectively I found myself still battling the " laziness, procrastination, worry, doubt, and pride" as you mentioned in your testimony. After reading that it made me cry. I felt as if I was not alone anymore and that my struggles are the same as other homeschoolers. Even though you hear it all the time, it just didn't bring it home until reading about your concerns and closures. After Samantha passed I felt that God was showing me that we go through seasons in our lives (Ecc. 3:1-4) and that these times in our homeschooling struggles our seasons. Yes, that doesn't mean we can shurk our responsibilities, but it allows me to rest in Jesus knowing that He gives me peace and joy, even in the struggles, whatever the "season". Thank you for sharing, it magnified Christ and brought warmth to my heart! -Heather, NC

ANITA K 08/02/2010 05:14:35

I have been sooo encouraged through your sharing with us. I am in my 3rd year with 2 young children and it is wonderful to be connected to someone with such wisdom to impart. I thank God for giving you this opportunity to be a blessing to all of us.

SUSAN M 08/02/2010 06:17:55

I am blessed to read your testimonials and encouragement. I have often forwarded it on to friends. We have been homeschooling for 16 years now and I still count on "His mercies being NEW EVERY morning" just as you have said. I guess we will have only "arrived" when we get to heaven! Thank you for your encouragement along our journey.

ERIN B 08/02/2010 06:34:22

Thank you for sharing these daily devotions! They are such an encouragement! May the Lord bless you as you continue in this ministry!

DEBI B 08/02/2010 09:07:25

I am just starting my homeschooling adventure. I have had a few start overs in my life, but I know this one will be well worth it! I just found your blog and I so look forward to reading it and gleaning much needed encouragement, understanding & wisdom. I am a single mother trying to buy a business so I will be able to home school my daughter. She has had to be in the school system because I needed to be out working to support us. God is ever faithful to lead me to this point in my life and pray that he will continue to guide me in this incredible journey. She is very sad not to be going to school, but I think she will soon realize that this is much better! She came home crying so many times last year, saying she hated school. (Summer vacation has diminished those memories.) The school pushed to have her on Ritalin and when I finally complied I saw my exuberant, energetic little girl that I once knew, fade away. I felt so guilty I didn\'t fight them. But I had to work, and I couldn\'t have her get kicked out of school. When summer came I told my sweet daughter she didn\'t have to be on her medicine anymore & she was so happy she danced around the house in glee! She said she didn\'t like the way it made her feel. My little spitfire is back. She is so full of life and love! I am so happy to be able to be with her and start this journey with her! God is GREAT! Thanks for your blog! I can\'t wait to read more and I can\'t wait to begin the scary but incredible journey!

JANET M 08/02/2010 09:13:51

Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage others in their homeschooling experience. This is my second year homeschooling, and I do have doubts and fears sometimes about how I\'m doing and whether they\'re learning enough. But, I also believe God has encouraged me by remembering that since He called me to do this, He will also enable and equip me. :)

PAM L 08/02/2011 03:55:05

As soon as I finish writing this comment to you, I\'m going upstairs to the attic to pull together some preschool materials for my four year old granddaugheter. The Lord has seen fit to continue my homeschool journey into another generation. I also care for my aged parents and I wonder and marvel at how God works to have kept me at home to serve family. All around me, the world is scrambling to accomadate the needs of the young and old. Mothers in the home are here to do it all, with the Lord\'s strength.

LIZ V 08/02/2011 04:12:42

Thank you. I rarely read these morning devotionals for this stone heart of mine, but, this morning was different. Reading your listing of battles, \"battles of laziness, procrastination, worry, doubt, and pride\", I quietly added bitterness. The poison that has corroded the fiber of homeschool. That it is not a choice, but a necessity for our family. Your words helped me to face the \'ugly\'....Now, to the starting over... Liz Homeschooling mother to five (K-9) ON, CANADA

EVELYN B 08/02/2011 05:27:39

Two weeks from today, we leave to take son #2 a thousand miles away to begin college. It is so terribly bitter-sweet. Although I still have two more children at home (11th and 8th grades), I know life will never be the same for our family. As I look down the road to five years from now when this homeschooling journey will end, I have begun to ask the Lord, \"What next? What do You want me to do?\" I am waiting on His answer. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

BARBARA N 08/02/2011 06:13:41

I am a 49 year old \"starting again\" homeschooler. My son and daughter homescooled for 7 years until 3 years ago. They both went to charter schools for 3 years. Now my son has graduated and my daughter is starting high school. We are back to Homeschool this year. I never thought I\'d be homeschooling again. I thought that season of my life was over too! But God gave me clear instruction that He had other plans. So here I am! Thank you for your encouraging words.

KELLE F 08/02/2011 07:52:35

I look forward to receiving my daily emails and am grateful God called you to share your stories with us. I am new to homeschooling as well and am encouraged to keep with it everytime I read. It seems each time you write it was exactly what I needed to hear that day as though God speaks to me through you. Thank you and may God continue to bless your journey. Kelle F Owasso OK

JESSICA M 08/02/2011 08:30:50

Just wanted to write of how yesterday was an extremely frustrating day here in our home. I have an 11, 3, and 1 yr old. They are wonderful children, but I just could not \'get it together\' and was REALLY second guessing myself with homeschooling... this will be our first year doing it. BUT, this message gave me a tremendous amount of Hope. Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us of the comfort only Jesus can bring.

VANESSA W 08/02/2011 09:32:40

These devotions are such a blessing. This is something I\'ve really been struggling. Doubt is the big thing. I started homeschooling in 2008 and put my kids in private school in 2010 due to doubt. As the school goes it\'s a very nice school and there are some very nice people but I\'ve realized that just because the parents are Christians-does not necessarily mean the kids are Christian. I was so concerned about the \"holes\" in my kids education because of the doubt that the devil wanted me to feel. I got frustrated also with other areas. My children a very good readers. The teacher sent home homework-often reading assignments. But my kids especially my son were bored with them, but they would read anyway. They just read books that appealed to them. To the point where in some cases-reading could be a danger.nose in a book walking across a street or in a parking lot is not recommended! The mountain made out of the fact my kids did not click with time right away. I don\'t remember totally understanding it right away. I takes time \"doing\" before truly getting it. we opted to get tested while in this school and found my 2nd grader to be at a 7th grade reading level and my 1st grade daughter tested in nearly 4th grade level in reading. They scored well in other areas too. After being home schooled for the early years and this being the first year in a traditional setting. We had frustrations with bullies and peer pressure. Yep bullying and peer pressure happens even in highly rated private schools. Granted it was dealt with professionally and quickly but all these reasons helped me see we weren\'t where we needed to be. So we are homeschooling again this year and plan to stay that way. Thanks to the fact Alaska is a very relaxed homeschooling state we are also going to be homeschooling our foster child. Social worker is not concerned about us homeschooling. I love Alaska! No other state has it this good. There is no notification, no testing required, you can homeschool on your own or have assistance from the state. If you so choose. No questions are asked. If you choose to use assistance from the state you can get $2200 for grades K and up and $500 for Pre K. They will not pay for anything religious but you can still use them and pay for other things. Like sewing classes, swimming, tutoring, books, educational toys etc, teacher assistance if you wish So this leaves for a whole lot of breathing room for personal choice on whichever level of comfort zone you are at. So it seems God has opened so many doors for us and we are walking through them. I will miss my friends and so will kiddos but we will see them at church and social functions and my children won\'t be gone 8:00am-3:30pm everyday. So this is a year of changes for us! Moving to bigger home, homeschooling again! Thank you Lord! My little ones even told me they were excited to have me for a teacher! I just pray they still think so in 6 months! Thanks for the inspiration!

APRIL C 08/02/2011 13:07:56

Thank you for sharing your daily words of encouragement. Your words of encouragement, correction, and guidance always come at the right time. I look forward to reading your daily mesages, it is like waking up to a quick conversation with a good friend. Even though we live in a 300+ home school children county this process has been somewhat lonely for us. Our church home is not local so we haven\'t really been welcome to \"join in\" by other homeschool families since we aren\'t part of their churches. Regardless, we know the call to homeschool our children is from God so we move forward. Once again, thank you. Sharing your experiences means so much to me/us. April

MARGARET H 08/03/2011 07:04:22

Wow, what a blessing you are! And I love your words of encouragement. This really hit home for me as I have 2 home schooled children grown and gone now and 3 still home. I have struggled so much this last year with the what are you doing with your life syndrome.And what are you going to do when there is an empty nest? Well, I am certain now that God will have the perfect plan for me also as He did you. God Bless, Margaret

MELISSA B 08/23/2011 09:56:09

Dear Starting over, I am so glad God led me to read this post today! What a blessing, it is exactly what I needed to lift my bittersweet spirits. I homeschooled my 17, 13 and 5 year old last school year, and my daughter actually started when she was 15. I can\'t begin to explain what each child, and myself benefitted from this experience. Even though we had our days of \"Too much togetherness\", they were few and far between, because the children gained so much more from the curriculum and daily Christian lessons. It led both my daughter and my middle son to the Lord in April of 2009 when they got baptized in the East China Sea in Okinawa, Japan, and gave there life to the Christ! Now they are thriving on learning, and enjoy it, and it has brought our family closer than we ever imagined! It was bittersweet yesterday, because I took all of them to public school due to financial strain, and my son\'s illness, and miraculous recovery! A once reserved, timid boy, is now getting a second chance at a normal life after a debilitating neurological disorder that altered his movement so much he was almost bedridden. My daughter wants to experience her senior year at school, which I understand, and I am trusting the Lord to place me in a job that will allow me to both homeschool my youngest, and be able to work! My children are my world, and it is hard to let them go, but I have to give them there wings, and know that Jesus will guide them from here! Thank you for your encouraging words! It makes starting over not seem all that bad!

KATHY S 08/02/2012 07:41:50

To the Author; You have brought encouragement and Blessings to me through your writings. Once again God knew who to give such a special job to. He chose you for many reasons, and I thank him for that. These morning Devotionals are something I look forward to each day. In a \"not so friendly to homeschoolers world\" here, this is a \"safe haven\" and a place where I too can share my feelings. May God Bless and keep you in his care always. Kathy S.

VICTORIA L 08/03/2012 09:09:35

\"For such a time as this\"...thank you for your timely devotionals! My husband and I are about to start homeschooling four of our many grandchildren. We had them in a great christian private school, then God led us to pull them out and homeschool them. Not my plan for my retirement, but knowing that delayed obedience is disobedience, here we are \"starting over\"...your devotionals have been so encouraging and uplifting. We look forward to them daily!

ROSEMARY R 08/03/2012 14:47:22

Thanks for your honesy and encouragement! I am the grandma to 15 wonderful grandchildren, Homeschool has been behind me for a very short time with my 15 year old son....I am now helping 2 of my daughters with their children....my patience is tested in new ways...but the reward is priceless!

Tania Chaplain 08/05/2013 13:19:47

Thank you so much for doing what you do. I have been homeschooling for about 9 years but just lately have had some major changes in my life which mean my motivation and confidence in homeschooling has been at an all time low. Your writings encourage my in the Lord and homeschooling. Thank you.

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