Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.......But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-10
OK. So, can I be one of the few who admit that homeschooling has been very challenging if not difficult? When I was ready to throw in the towel, my friend, Angie, encouraged me a few months ago. I felt defeated, but through her sympathy, I realized many mothers experience the same troubles in educating their own children. Angie handed me a book to read that has been very encouraging....so unlike most parenting books I read which make me feel worse in the end. "Gaining Confidence to Teach" by Debbie Strayer is basic, easy to read, and has many good things to consider in your homeschooling. I realized through this book that perhaps what I need to do to improve things is simply make a few changes, such a curriculum changes that are not really working for my kids.
Like a breath of fresh air, another book came across my path through the recommendation of a new friend, Julie, whose husband is on the board of TLI. She taught her children using the Charlotte Mason method of education after being inspired by the book, "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. My oldest child is eleven years old, so I cannot really "start over" in my parenting or anything like that, so this book has been an encouragement that many of the educational principles we have lived by are "tried and true" and not to be regretted. We have tried to "feed" our children's hunger for knowledge with good books, good music, good art, good experiences outdoors, good creative handwork, and good daily Bible readings.
Through both these books, I was also challenged to keep on the path of God's mercy and pursue what He shows us, not constantly comparing or worrying if we fit in with what the world is telling us or what we think we need to do in order to measure up or compare with other families. These are admittedly struggles for me personally. I must turn to Christ and fix my eyes on Him and His mercy, and not to faint or lose heart as the Bible verse above states. In this world we WILL have tribulation, but be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome the world (see John 16:33).