What is support and why do we need it?
Two are better than on; because they have a good reward for labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up.-.Ecclesiastes 4:9
We are designed for relationship, by a Creator who craves intimacy with His creation; support is the natural result of the bond of unity we find in those we meet on our journey.
Support is defined as the maintenance or sustaining of any thing without suffering it to fail, decline or languish: as the support of health, spirits, strength or courage, that which up holds or relieves, aid, help, succor and finally assistance.(Noah Webster’s 1824 Dictionary)
The support I needed as a Homeschooling Mom was different at each level of our journey; however, through it all, what I wanted, what I needed most, was to be around like-minded individuals who would bring encouragement, prayer and insight into my life. As a homeschooling support group leader I saw support was different for every family. The needs of the families were often uniquely associated with the interests and desires of their heart. Not suprisingly, this uniqueness makes it hard to find a perfect fit for everyone, yet we serve a God of balance and complete sufficiency. It is in His Word that we find the true meaning of support. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up.” This verse is a sincere reminder of the necessity to bear one another up, in support, in encouragement, and in prayer.
Support in and of itself should be a means to equip and encourage the homeschool parent with the tools to continue this journey. Perhaps it was a journey which initially started with enthusiasm and led to a downward spiral of frustration. Maybe, like me you started with a less that joy-filled attitude, and have had a hard time finding hope in the stretch of days looming large before you. Perhaps you started with fear and trembling, wondering exactly why you had made this lofty decision. Then, maybe, it was a purpose-filled hope to see your sweet children recoup their love for learning. Homeschooling is by no means easy, quite the contrary, there are a lot of hard days. I have found it is a complex journey of immense blessing when traveled with the Lord, and stress-filled burdens when traveled alone. When I contemplate the needs of homeschool families, I realize that it isn’t just the realizing meaning of support, but being aware of just what that word “support” looks like for each family.
By all intents and purposes, our first source of support should be one of prayer. It is imperative to be connected with another believer in willful fellowship and prayer. If you are a support group leader, Christ should be the head of your group. When leaders are in submission to the authority of Christ, you will be able to meet the needs of your group with an attitude of elevation and humble reverence for the heart of God. If you don’t already have a prayer team set up within your homeschooled group, make an effort to see this implemented. Individually, seek the Lord about bringing a prayer warrior into your life who will commit to pray with and for you, your family and your home school.
Honestly, my kids don’t want to give up on homeschooling, it was me who was ready quit. I was tired; I was empty; and I needed my batteries recharged. This reality surprised me. I didn’t see the looming need before it was actually there. The answer that I found was to begin the work of establishing real relationships. Relationships take time and energy. They are an investment for us. How do we do this along with all we are currently doing? Taking the opportunity to be involved in various ways in our support group gave me multiple opportunities to connect. It propelled me to pray, seek his face, and to serve others. Ultimately, I began to cast a vision. While serving the families in my support group, the Lord began to lay a vision for leadership and support. This vision was multi-faceted: to equip the parents, present opportunities for fellowship and relationship on an intimate level, encourage each other in prayer, and serve on another through our own personal giftings.
Fellowship and relationship bring a much needed aspect of support into the homeschooling families’ lives by giving us the opportunity to become involved intimately with each other. It is in the knowledge that we have true support, (like the support of prayer, encouragement and time) that a deep river of encouragement for the homeschooling parent is found. Discouragement has a harder time finding its way to our door when we have a source of support. In complete truth, it is dependence upon the Lord’s grace which will make us fit to see this race completed. He is our portion and our strength and His grace is sufficient. When we begin to trust in His ability to meet our needs exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all your expectations, we begin to have clearer vision where our homeschooling journey is concerned.
This is the starting point. Getting connected to someone else. Someone who can lift you up, pray for you, encourage both you and your children. In the next sections of this topic, I want to delve into ways and ideas that would be a gift to you in your homeschool by sharing lessons I have learned. These concepts have been a valuable source of help to me through the years. Support can appear in many different forms and packages. I’d like to share real, yet simple, suggestions that will not tear apart what you are already doing, but give you moment of fresh air. Hopefully, they can also bring a bit of encouragement to keep plugging ahead and maybe fill up your tank to go further in your journey. There is joy in His presence; I believe that we can choose to home educate in joy, especially when we know we have others willing to walk alongside of us.
“Two are better than one, because we can pick one another up.”