Families choose to homeschool for a multitude of reasons. Some families start because of traumatic experiences their child had in school and some families never send their child to public school in the first place. Whatever the initial reasons, they usually discover a multitude of additional benefits once they begin.
I was talking to a homeschooling friend one day when she said she felt "divinely led" to homeschool. I was a little surprised by her choice of words simply because she doesn't belong to any church. I wasn’t even sure if she believed in God. However, I think many Latter-day Saint homeschoolers can say the same thing. At one time or another we have felt the hand of the Lord guiding us toward our decision to homeschool. Perhaps it was through some experiences we had, because of something we read, or a friend we made. In my own case, it seems uncanny the way things happened. I know that certain people were placed in my path to open my mind to the idea of homeschooling.
Homeschooling is a big step and not one that anyone would take lightly. After all, a family’s future is at stake. For LDS families, before we actually start thinking of ourselves as homeschoolers, we usually go to the Lord in prayer and receive a confirmation that it is the best choice for our family. In some cases, the Lord may even let a family know they should homeschool before they have actually prayed about it.
Even with a confirmation from God, we may feel inadequate. We might wonder how we’re going to do it and if we’re going to “ruin” our children. We may even forget about the confirmation we received and have the notion to throw in the towel, perhaps on a daily basis! I have even run in to a few people that I would describe as frenzied. They are in a panic wondering how in the world they will do it.
Three Scriptures to Strengthen You
I would like to suggest three important scripture verses that we should remember when we have these feelings of doubt and discouragement. Thinking about these scriptures and turning to the Lord in prayer can bring the calming influence of the Holy Ghost so that we will have no need to fear.
One of the first scriptures many LDS children learn is 1 Nephi 3:7.
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commandeth them."
This is a true principle! It was true for Nephi and it is still true today for you and me. God loves us, so He will provide the way for us do anything He expects us to do. He doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves if we turn to Him. That doesn’t mean it won’t require work on our part, or that there won’t be challenges and difficulties. In fact, I can guarantee there will be. But with God on our side, nothing is impossible.
That brings me to the second scripture verse which is Romans 8:31. It says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” With God on your side, you will be on the right side no matter who thinks you are crazy or stupid. Even though you may be the only homeschool family in your ward, in your town or even in your state, with God on your side, you are never alone. And fortunately, there are now many online support groups, newsletters and websites like this one, and homeschool conferences to help you.
The last scripture verse I like to remember is Mosiah 4:27.
"It is not requisite that a man run faster than he has strength." In other words, it’s not necessary that we do more than we are capable of doing. God knows our hearts and He knows what we are capable of doing. If He told us to homeschool, then He knows that what we have to give is enough to make it happen. There may be certain homeschool styles that are better for us with our unique personalities and circumstances than others. If we ask, He will lead us to what is right for us. I know this is true because it happened to me and to others I know. If one method or curriculum isn’t working for you, search for something else.
Whom the Lord Calls, the Lord Qualifies
One of my favorite thoughts is, "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies." (Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996, 43) Of all people, we in the church should be familiar with this principle. When we sustain people in our wards and branches to a new calling, we know that the person called may not be the most qualified by worldly standards. We also know that through the Lord’s help, those people will usually rise to the occasion and fulfill their responsibilities, often quite remarkably.
In the various callings I have had, I have noticed a “change of heart” almost immediately upon receiving the callings. I am filled with a love for the students I teach or the people I work with. I am led to resources and ideas that help me as I prepare lessons. Sometimes, new ideas come to my mind that I had never thought of before but which will help one or more of the people in my stewardship.
This principle will also work in homeschooling. If the Lord led you to homeschool, He will help you to do your best if you turn to Him. I can even say that the Lord helps me pick how and what I will teach. He leads me to resources and ideas that help me be a better homeschooler. What He leads me to might not be what He leads you to. The important thing is that He will lead you when you must ask and have an open mind and a willing heart to receive His answers.
When things are challenging and I wonder what in the world I was thinking when I decided to homeschool, I remind myself that the Lord won’t ask me to do something that’s impossible; that when God is on my side, it doesn’t matter who isn’t; and that I don’t have to do more than I am capable of doing.
Education as the Early Prophets Saw it By Darla Isackson
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