It’s no secret that teaching your kids at home is challenging.

When I first set out to undertake my children’s education, the thought of accepting that kind of responsibility scared me spit-less! I won’t sugar coat it. I didn’t think I had what it took.

Several years in, the feeling of inadequacy remained, but experience taught me some valuable insights. I learned…

  • I will never be totally ready or feel entirely adequate to face the challenges ahead.
  • Every aspect of homeschool has and will stretch me beyond my perceived limits.
  • That stretching strengthened me for the obstacles to come.
  • I shouldn’t overdo it and should never face these struggles alone.

As it turns out, these insights apply to hardship too.

Sometimes tragedy strikes our lives. And if you think homeschooling is hard enough by itself, just wait until the burden of personal hardship throws a wrench in the cogs.

Our family has faced many hardships since we began homeschooling…

By 2007 my husband had lost both his maternal grandparents to cancer.

In 2008 we walked away from youth ministry after enduring a second church split.

Late 2009 my paternal grandfather died from liver cancer.

In 2010 a grass fire burned up one of our cattle pastures and nearly took our home along with.

2012 brought one of the severest droughts we’d ever seen, raising the possibility of our losing the family ranch entirely.

This year, we watched my paternal grandmother succumb to pancreatic cancer.

Such losses would overwhelm anyone. They certainly did me. Many days I didn’t want to get out of bed, much less teach school. Some days I didn’t do either. In every instance I questioned God.

And you know what?

He reminded me of four simple lessons:

  1. You’ll never be ready when hardship strikes.
  2. You were stretched beyond your perceived limits.
  3. That stretching strengthened you to face the next tragedy.
  4. Don’t overdo it and don’t face it alone.

I’m in the midst of it now, and if there’s one thing I would impart to you this day, it’s to claim those simple truths. Even if you never feel ready for these things, you were made to overcome more than you realize. God gifted you with specific abilities and strengths – some you’ll never even realize you have until you go through the fire. In the end, the stretching will strengthen you for the trials to come.

Remember, don’t overdo. Take days off if you need to. You can always catch up.

And never EVER go it alone.

First off, you have God. He knew the day before you and He walks it with you now. Rely on Him. He’s there to guide you and strengthen you through it all.

Then remember that He can and will place the right people in your life to support you through the hardship. Just keep your eyes and your heart open. Don’t hide away and don’t shut them out.

In the end, you’ll find you can look back on the hardships and see the blessings that came about through them.

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Melissa Stroh

Melissa N. Stroh is an aspiring Historical Fiction writer and homeschooling mother of three, enjoying the ranching life outside Newcastle, Wyoming. For nearly three years she's served as board secretary for the Newcastle Area Christian Homeschool Organization (NACHO). She is also an active member of Christian Writers Group International (CWGI).