The winds are currently calm outside as I sit at my desk but the cloud bands from an approaching hurricane have already begun to block the sun. The storm is inevitable. We have prayed and made preparations but that will not keep the gusts from beating our house as the circular monster kisses our coast sometime before dawn tomorrow. Homeschooling high school can sometimes feel like a hurricane. As our students approach middle school, we can feel the panic rising in our throats. We have so many questions and we doubt the adequacy of our preparations. After sailing these waters with our three young adults, the three anchors of diligent prayer, intentional preparation and joyful pondering, kept us grounded as the winds blew our little homeschooling boat.
Diligent prayer kept my heart in check during the storm. It put my eyes on the Lord of the storm, the one who has the ability to walk on it and to say, “Peace, Be still.” When the winds of doubt began to toss my heart about, daily prayer anchored my soul to the Anchor of my soul. (Hebrews 6:19) Homeschooling remained a God-sized task that demanded that I humbly trust God with the outcome and rest in his promises.
I needed to confess this daily at my Lord’s feet and ask for wisdom in all that he had called me to do and be. He promises wisdom and without reproach to all who ask in faith. (James 1:5) I often prayed through Scripture which kept my anxious thoughts from wandering and placed my feet on a solid foundation. I recorded some of them in prayer journals like stones of remembrance that I could read again and remember God’s faithfulness in difficult times. Prayer kept my eyes on the One who was able and enabled me to be calm and grounded while the winds of high school raged.
Intentional preparation focused my mind during the storm. One of the ways in which I prepared was taking the time to be well informed. Parent Practicums kept me centered on the educational goals that I had as a classical Christian educator, while others left the course because of outside pressures. Deepening my understanding at practicum each summer both encouraged and equipped me for the challenges of the coming year. Sometimes the scariest part of a storm is its unpredictability. Homeschool Counselor webinars informed me how to navigate all the variables and unknowns of transcripts, scholarships, and college admissions. The second way that I prepared was by placing myself within a community of support. When I joined Classical Conversations twelve years ago, I new little about classical education. I did know that I desperately needed community in order to continue through the waves of our homeschooling journey. It was within this loving community that I learned how to educated classically and received the much needed support and encouragement. It was like swimming in the buddy system. If one went down, the others gathered round and held her up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10) Some of my students’ tutors are my closest friends. We’ve walked through the storm together, encouraged each other and our students to stay the course and finish well.
Joyful pondering centered my attitude during the storm. James says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials”. There is an abundance of joy to be counted while homeschooling your high school students if you know where to look. They are passionate, deep thinkers who love meaningful dialogue and service. They can also ride all the roller coasters with you at the amusement park which is a lot of fun. Seriously, an attitude of thankfulness for their unique God-given strengths can transform your conversations with them. Focusing on their weaknesses and the difficulties can leave you drained and unable to swim to shore. I remember when I decided to do this with our youngest. His dyslexia left us both feeling beat down by the winds and waves. He struggled to keep up with the pace of Challenge. In spite of it all he kept pressing forward. As I noticed his diligence, I began to praise him for it. Then I noticed other things I appreciated about him, his integrity, his work ethic, and his leadership. God was using the adversity to build His character in both of us. “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have it’s perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”(James 1:3,4) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane hunters flew into the eye of the hurricane off the coast yesterday and found something unexpected. There in the middle of chaos was the most breath taking rainbow. It seemed to form in complete defiance of the turbulence surrounding it. In reality they would have been unable to see the beauty of that rainbow apart from the storm. Truly counting joy is essential to walking on the waves of homeschooling through high school. I’ve often wondered if that was what Mary was doing as she pondered the future of her son. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
While the evacuation routes are bumper to bumper with coastal residents fleeing the storm, a few brave (or some might say crazy) souls venture out to the beach. They eagerly anticipate the challenge before them. Surf boards in hand, they plunge into the water to ride on top of the monster waves. As you find yourself approaching or in the midst of the exciting storm of homeschooling through high school remember to let down the anchors of prayer, preparation and joy into the turbulent waves. Remember the One who is Lord of the storm, never swim alone, and look for the sign of His promise.