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Sixty-nine percent of homeschool graduates go on to postsecondary education.

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Faith That Overcomes - And Other Strategies for Successful Homeschooling

God often calls those whom He loves to leave the comfort of the familiar to enter the discomfiting place of the unfamiliar. After warning him of things not yet seen, God called Noah to an unfamiliar task: building an ark. He called Abraham to an unfamiliar place - the land of his inheritance. He called David, a shepherd, to an unfamiliar profession: kingship.

All of these are reminiscent of the call to homeschool - an unfamiliar task, an unfamiliar place, an unfamiliar profession. As homeschooling parents, we can easily become overwhelmed by the unfamiliar. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of homeschooling - living life in the realm of the unfamiliar, outside of our comfort zones.

As human beings we are creatures of habit, and that can be a good thing. We like routine; we like the familiar; we like feeling comfortable. We know what school "feels" like; that aspect of the familiar makes sending our kids to school feel comfortable.

In many senses, when we start homeschooling, we leave the world of the familiar behind. Everything is new. That can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming and intimidating. We know how to send kids to school. We've had experience with that. After all, we all went to school. We don't know exactly how to homeschool - how could we? We've never been there.

In a real sense our ability to cope with life in the realm of the unfamiliar will determine our success as homeschooling parents. There are many things we can do to help:

  1. Give yourself time to adjust.
    Be patient with yourself. Recognize that for the first year or two of homeschooling, you will be faced with unfamiliar circumstances, which can be unsettling at times. It's a little like traveling to a foreign country for the first time; you don't know much of the language or the culture, but the longer you stay there the more at home you begin to feel.
    Also, as you begin a new phase of homeschooling, such as teaching middle school, high school, or a special needs student, these feelings of being overwhelmed by the unfamiliar can quickly return. Just as soon as you get one area of homeschooling down pat, you enter a new phase where everything changes. Sometimes just knowing to expect this makes the coping easier.
  2. Give your children time to adjust.
    Homeschooling is not only new to you, it is also new to your children - especially if they have been in a traditional school setting heretofore.
  3. Persevere.
    Or in the words of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up."
  4. Allow yourself the freedom to really enjoy being with your children.
    The intrinsic reward of homeschooling is the relationship that is possible with your children because of the investment you are making in each other's lives. Play this string for all it is worth. Refuse to let constant worrying choke out your joy in living, loving, and growing together.
  5. Don't lose your vision.
    The goal of homeschooling is to educate and inspire the minds and hearts of your children, preparing them to take their God-ordained places in this world. Equipping children with knowledge, faith, and character is a high calling and a noble adventure. It is easy to forget this in the course of day-to-day living. Focusing on the long-term will help you overcome obstacles in the short-term.

Zan Tyler is the Homeschool Resource and Media Consultant for Broadman and Holman Publishers and the Homeschool Editor for She and her husband Joe have three children and have been homeschooling since 1984. The first year the Tylers began homeschooling, Zan was threatened with jail!

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