by Deb Wuehler, The Old Schoolhouse
No matter how long you have been homeschooling, there will be seasons where you feel alone. No matter how many people are around you, or how much or how little support you have, you may have a season or two of feeling alone.
There have been many seasons in my own homeschooling where I have felt alone. There were seasons of no physical support as I educated and took care of many little ones while my husband’s career had him busy day and night. These were years with no other family support and I cried out to the Lord for help. Then there were years of plentiful homeschooling friends and support, but even during those times, there were seasons of aloneness in trials or tribulations where only the Lord knew my heart and my struggles.
Our feelings of failure, our thoughts of inadequacy, our difficult children, our severe trials— all are incapacitating and no one really understands completely. But you are not alone in these times. Whether new to homeschooling or veteran homeschoolers, most families have the same temporary or recurring thoughts and feelings.
What do we do in these times where we feel alone inwardly or outwardly? We need to tell ourselves the truth. You are never left unsupported or alone.
God’s provision of encouragement is vast as He has given the homeschool community His abundant blessing, and this community loves to share it with you. Here are many avenues of support so that you never have to feel alone:
Local Support Groups
Before I started homeschooling, I found my local support group and attended the meetings. I wanted to know what to do and how to do it and to hear from those who were already doing it. Not only did I find all the knowledge and information I needed, I made lifelong friends. During the seasons I felt alone, I would go to a monthly meeting and realize I was not alone. When I was transparent and shared my feelings, others would open up and share times they had felt the same. It was liberating to know that I was truly not alone.
I asked Sara B. if she ever felt alone while homeschooling. She shared, “For sure. Connecting with our community helps. Connecting with other homeschooling families helps. Getting out into nature and just doing life and reminding myself that homeschooling isn’t an 8 to 3 job; it’s a way of life. And remembering to look at every day as an opportunity to grow and learn more about God’s world while staying focused on His kingdom helps.”
Whenever possible, these yearly conventions are beneficial in so many ways. I was highly encouraged each time I went as I saw thousands of other families who were like-minded, and I heard inspiring speakers who shared their struggles and how to overcome in this endeavor called home education. I always came away from a convention feeling that I was definitely not alone.
Some are blessed enough to attend churches that support home education. You may live near one that either has a lot of homeschool families or that offers a support group or co-op of their own. Take advantage of these opportunities if they are near you. If not, find any homeschool families in your own congregation and be the one to initiate a meeting with them. You just may find some long-term friendships if you take courage and ask.
Curriculum Providers / Homeschool Organizations
Most curriculum providers have social media pages or other means of supporting homeschooling. In fact, you may even find local homeschoolers who have the same philosophy of education that you can meet up with. For example, I have seen local gatherings of families who all ascribe to the Charlotte Mason way of homeschooling, and gatherings either in person or online of those who all purchase a certain type of curriculum (for example, homeschooling with Master Books, or homeschooling with SchoolhouseTeachers.com).
When asked if she ever felt alone in homeschooling, Denise P., said, “I sure did in the beginning! It was 2001, we had just moved to a new area with two that I had pulled from public/government school who had IEP’s (Individual Education Plans). I felt alone and overwhelmed. Facebook wasn’t a thing back then. I listened to Focus on the Family and one week Dr. Dobson was talking to someone who specialized in reading comprehension. My girls were both struggling learners! Then another week he was actually talking about homeschooling! I don’t recall the guest, but I was able to find HSLDA.org. That sent me on the right trajectory to meet other homeschoolers in my area. It took a few years … de-schooling is a real thing. But it became our lifestyle. Those two have graduated now and are functioning adults. There were definitely times to feel alone in illness.1 God is good! He sends peace even in the turmoil.”
Blogs, Books, Magazines, Podcasts
Reading about or listening to others who homeschool is highly encouraging when I feel alone. I find out that not only am I not the only one with tired, negative thoughts, or thoughts of inability, or difficult circumstances to navigate, but I also find answers to help me overcome.
Our feelings are real and even during seasons of support, there can be times of inner turmoil that no one knows about or can really understand but God. It is these times that draw us close to God and we learn that He alone is our help and companion. And we gain focus and find strength in the truth of His Word and His promises.
- “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
- “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).
- “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23).
- “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:15).
- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2).
- “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
- “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).
- “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
There is probably at least one day a month or more that I feel alone in my life, whether it be in teaching my children, or life in general. We all share the same thoughts and feelings. I think those feelings stem from a lack of peace. Because of the confusing, mundane, or difficult circumstances in our life, we lose our peace. Peace doesn’t magically come in a change of circumstance. It comes in a change of mind and a step of faith. Let’s break down this verse of promise:
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4).
Our minds need to be stayed (focused, kept, continued) on Him. Take your mind off your lonely circumstances and put it on Him. Magnify Him above all else you think you need. Our minds are able to stay on Him when we put our trust in Him. Do not trust in what you see or feel. Trust in your God—He is the only unchanging thing in your life! Walk in faith.
In Him is everlasting strength! Tired, weary, discouraged, alone? You need strength and you don’t have it in yourself. In the Lord alone is everlasting strength.
Think about and memorize that Scripture in Isaiah, start putting it into practice, and you will find peace whether you are alone or not alone. Don’t put more things into practice until you put this into practice. In other words, don’t try to find solutions to your problems, or people to fulfill you, until you find peace in Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you as you train up His children at Home. Where They Belong.
Deborah Wuehler is Senior Editor for TOS, wife to Richard, and has eight children and one grandchild. She writes for The Homeschool Minute (www.TheHomeschoolMinute.com). She is author of Homeschool Moms Teach the Psalms Bible plan on Bible.com. You can contact Deborah at [email protected].
1. My third daughter has her own story: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Summer 2020, page 96.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.