By Marla Schultz
Anxiety creeps in and fear gets a choke hold. It’s that time of the year again. Time for another school year to begin. Questions flood your mind. How will I do this? What will I use to teach my children? How will we afford to buy the curriculum needed for each child? Does this sound familiar?
Perhaps you’re in that same place right now. A place where you believe you are supposed to homeschool, but circumstances—and possibly relatives—are insisting that you’re crazy to attempt it because of the lack of resources.
My advice to you before doing anything else is pray . . . and listen. What is He calling you to do? His answer may not be the one you expect. Sometimes the Lord will use our circumstances to direct us to an alternate route. Other times our situations are challenging, but His solution is to walk us through the challenge. Not around it. If He is calling you to homeschool this year, expect Him to provide.
Sometimes we think that the only way to homeschool is to buy new curriculum at full price. We believe that if it hasn’t been used by someone else that there is more in it. More knowledge. More wisdom. More power. We feel that once someone starts flipping through the pages, reading the information, answering the questions, and possibly . . . writing in the book (gasp!) all of that begins to seep out. The sad part is many times we purchase new curriculum, discover it isn’t as amazing as we thought it would be, and then set it aside to gather dust.
One year, I attended our local homeschool conference. I attended exhibitors’ workshops, drooled over curriculum, and longed to buy products I knew were essential for their education. The problem? My husband was out of work and we had nothing in the budget for school. After roaming the exhibit hall for the third time, I crumpled into a chair and, to my embarrassment, started weeping. Overwhelmed, I had allowed fear to take over. Thankfully, the chair I sank into was located in a booth called “Stressed Out Moms” and was specifically for moms like me. The overwhelmed. The stressed. The “How am I supposed to do this?” moms.
That year at the conference, my friend—who was helping to staff the booth—reassured me, prayed for me, and took it one step further. She offered to lend me curriculum. Since then many friends have lent or given me curriculum over the years. Provision.
Often I think we view being the hands and feet of Jesus as feeding the hungry, providing clothing, visiting someone in prison, etc. These are all wonderful, necessary things that meet specific needs but, although homeschooling isn’t mentioned in Matthew 25: 35-36, my friend’s offer that year struck me in the same way, “I was broke and you lent me curriculum . . . and a shoulder to cry on.”
Soon after that another friend shared that a large church in our town operated a huge lending library that anyone could use. The best part? It also contained homeschool curriculum in multiple levels that could be checked out for an entire school year. Provision.
In the midst of my Internet searches over the past few years, I’ve discovered several helpful sites: HomeschoolShare.com, KhanAcademy.org, and Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool are some free sites that I use, but I know there are many others too. Another website that isn’t free, but has a plethora of lessons available, is SchoolhouseTeachers.com and, since July of last year, I’ve had the privilege of writing Literature Kits for them. There is small, monthly fee for this service, but it gives you access to sixty-eight teachers/instructors and ninety-one courses. An extra bonus is, at times, they offer the first month at a discounted price or for free so you can try it with very little out of your pocket. Provision.
Lastly, pray about being the hands and feet of Jesus to someone else. Do you have curriculum that didn’t work for your family or you’re not currently using? Offer it to a friend to use for the school year or, if you know you will never use again, give it to them. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38.
The Lord is gracious and good and He knows what we need, even if it doesn’t come in the package we expected. Seek Him for answers and trust that He will provide for your needs.
Marla Schultz is married to Rick and the mother of six children, ages sixteen to five. She lives in California where she writes; homeschools; works from home; creates delicious, healthy meals; and plans creative parties for her family.