by Katie Julius
If your social media feed has been anything like mine the last month or two, it’s likely that you’ve experienced similar feelings of frustration, discouragement, and even despair. Between the attacks on parental rights, the increasing sexualization of children in our culture, and the never-ending arguments on any number of political issues, it can be a challenging time to hold to a pro-family, pro-parent, conservative Christian worldview and not feel isolated.
I know several friends who won’t even watch the news because of the bias with which news is reported. It’s discouraging to watch the seemingly endless stories of our world falling further and further away from God.
I have found myself often wishing I could wake up one morning and realize it was all a dream. That the government isn’t trying to regulate every aspect of our lives. That they aren’t trying to come between me and my child. That they don’t think they know better than I do about how to raise her and make decisions in her best interest.
Even as a homeschooling family, I, at times, feel isolated. Most of our friends have chosen to use an independent study charter school. This affords them opportunities that we can’t fit into our tight family budget or schedule. Not that we’d want to add more outside the home, but it means our friends don’t have as much time for an impromptu park day or field trip. I have also found that many have begun to shift their philosophy of education to one that is more reliant on learning that happens outside of the home. None of this is bad if that’s their choice for their family, but it’s been hard to find like-minded friends with whom you can truly “do life” with during your homeschool journey.
Now, don’t worry! This isn’t all “doom and gloom.” The one bright spot I’ve had as I’ve worked through these negative feelings is the anticipation of the CHEA Convention coming this week. I promise this isn’t just a shameless plug to attend Convention. But, if you’ve been experiencing any of these feelings, knowing that there is more than just one or two people near you who hold to the same values, ideals, and beliefs that you do is a welcome respite in the midst of a darkening world.
I’m sure many of you attended “church camp” as a teen. Often these camps are held in the mountains or other sparsely populated remote areas. Back when I was in high school, we didn’t really have social media, smart phones, or wi-fi. While the internet was only accessible through a dial-up modem on a desktop computer, our annual church summer camp was still a place of quiet; a place to rest; a place where many of our everyday distractions were removed. We could devote our time and thoughts to our relationships with each other and our Creator.
After attending my first CHEA Convention last year, this event has now become the adult version of my teenage “summer camp mountain top” experiences. Now that I’m a parent with a family of my own in an ever changing culture, the struggles of everyday life have changed. But, I am still eagerly anticipating the opportunity to surround myself with friends, mentors, and speakers who will not only challenge me in my walk with the Lord, but now, also as a mom and a homeschool parent.
Yes, the few days we get to be together are often all too short, but they can help give us the encouragement we need. They can remind us to trust and rely on our Lord and Savior to sustain us through the disheartening days until we can meet together again.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Thank you for writing this! It’s so true! I am a veteran homeschooler who has graduated our first two students but I still have 6 more little ones in the homeschooling trenches, so to speak. I feel the need to attend homeschool conferences and conventions more than ever! I don’t need curriculum advice so much anymore but me and my family benefit greatly from the fellowship with like minded believers! My graduates come to meet people and be an encouragement to others. And my husband and I come to encourage fellow homeschoolers, new and veteran alike. We can only attend one day of convention this year and we are making sure that we stay for the family fellowship times.
Beautiful post! Love CHEA! Friendship with other home school Moms and families make our journey so precious!