7 Dec 2016

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that we may need help with our homeschool. Understandably, we may be overwhelmed with a curriculum choice, lesson plans, need for organization, homeschool itself or the motivation to want to teach. It is during hard times such as these that we should ask for help. Too often, as homeschool parents, we feel the pressure to measure up with other home educators whom we feel have it all together, so we don’t ask for help. We stubbornly or persistently work to find our own solution; and we continue to sink, possibly getting in over our heads before reaching out. This reminds me of an experience I had, related to this observation. It seemed like a very simple plan, but in the end, I began to get stuck, taking my great idea along with me!

We were studying a unit on biology and I decided to take full advantage of the fact that our house fronted a lake. Since we’d just purchased a brand new microscope, I decided to give my children a new experience of seeing a little bit of pond life and an amazing creature called the amoeba. I explained all of this to them as I pulled on my husband’s rubber fishing boots. Little did I know that this was mistake number one. The boots were way too big. Once I was ready, I walked out to the backyard with six laughing, shouting and very excited children running ahead. “See,” I thought to myself, “I knew I could make biology fun!” After giving the kids one final, encouraging warning, “Stay on the bank,” I waded into the lake, specimen jar in hand, while envisioning what impact this type of hands-on experiment would have on their learning and possibly their future career choices. Then it happened. As I took my third step into the water, I felt one foot begin to sink just a tad deeper than the other. I quickly steadied myself, so as not to plunge headlong into the murky lake. I was in trouble. As I attempted to bring my left foot even with my right, I felt my foot coming out of the boot, so I pushed my foot back into the boot to try to put it firmly back on. Trying to force my foot back into the boot only caused it to sink deeper into the mud. This was mistake number two. Still undeterred, I decided to pivot on my right foot and place it evenly with the left and head another way. Yet, to no avail, for the right foot was sliding out of that boot as well. To my horror, my husband’s big boots were stuck in the mud, and with a maneuver in either direction, I felt myself sinking. While trying to remain calm and look cool, I realized the children were closely watching my every move. I tried to think of a plan of action that did not include yelling for my husband. I couldn’t think of one. My feet were not going anywhere, no matter how tightly I curled my toes to try to lift the big boots up. So, now, not quite so calmly, I shouted, “Go get your dad and tell him I’m in the lake, stuck in the mud.” Three children raced to be the first to deliver the message, and three stayed to ask if I wanted them to come in and help. Unfortunately, the tranquil learning environment I had intended had quickly turned chaotic. I saw my husband’s face as he raced out the door and knew at once that the message he’d been given might have been a bit more dramatic than necessary. The dog was barking at all the commotion, the three children who’d remained faithfully at the bank were now screaming for their father to ‘hurry up’ and rescue me. I needed help!

What about you? Are you sending your own cry for help or are you slowly sinking? Are the noises all around you resounding so loudly that you feel as if the world is closing in on you? Are the kids screaming more often than not? Is it time to call for help? It’s available. You need not continue to sink. You, too, can be pulled out of the murky, muddy water. The Great Rescuer hears your cry. He is with you, and He has placed people in your life to help you. For me, that day, it was my husband.

What a blessing my husband was. He was indeed that day, my hero. You have heroes all around you, in support groups, among your friends, your spouses and many others. When you feel yourself sinking under the stresses of teaching and training your children, you should call for help. The plea could prevent you from getting stuck.

Mari Fitz-Wynn has twenty years of experience as a leader in home education. She published her first book, Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School in June 2014 and has published a myriad of articles for NCHE GREENHOUSE magazine and various other home education newsletters. She is a home education consultant and president of Heart for Home School Ministries, Inc. Her blog is Heart Matters. (www.heartforhomeschool.org). She is the former lobbyist for NCHE.