IMG_9475-001My son just graduated from home school high school at age 16! Wow! Years ago I never thought this day would come but here I am and it seems like it was just yesterday when I started homeschooling. As we approached this final year I promised my son that I would run thirty laps around our backyard when he was done all his major subjects for the year. That number comes from how old I was when he was born when the “Trip of a Lifetime” began! I ran my mini-marathon on the day before Resurrection Day, Easter, a day signaling a new beginning. I thank God for sending his Son, Jesus, for without Him there is no hope in the future.

As I ran I contemplated the thirty greatest things that have impacted in my life, how I raise my family, and home school, the good, the bad, and the ugly. For many of these things, the question arose, “Why did they happen?” There was no answer. I take comfort in knowing that there is a purpose and a reason for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), whether we understand it or not. Over the years I have seen my child’s struggles turn to successes and his failures into triumphs. I could not have done all that I have nor be the person I am today without the people and events in my life that came before. I am thankful for each of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  God’s ways are not anything a mere mortal can even begin to understand. So as I look back and then look forward I have to look at what has been produced, the fruits of my labor and use that as a gauge for the future. For tomorrow, a new day is dawning!

A new day is dawning for many of you who are new to homeschooling as you begin to really get to know your precious children, many of whom have been hurt by a system that fails to recognize that each child is a unique creation of God, wonderfully made in His image. Treasure this time like you have never before, as you get to know your child’s likes and dislikes, their struggles, and their strengths. You are just beginning a journey that is spectacular and can be matched by no other! You start with a clean slate. Though the mountains you need to move may seem impossible, they are not when you bring the power of our Lord into your home and your home school. Nothing is impossible for God. Philippians 4:13

A new day is dawning for those of you who are veteran homeschoolers. Things may have been easy in the past. Times are changing. It is easier than ever to loose hope given the increasing pressures coming from our government, society, etc. What you teach your children is a distinct threat to the system. The system would have you give up, and put your children into their hands. They would have you believe the lie that they know what is best and that by letting them teach your child, it will make your life much easier. Think about it…You will have more time to yourself and your personal pleasures! Your children will no longer be a burden to you. They will be raised by the “community.” How easy life will be. That thinking is not Biblical thinking. Though you may see the storm clouds building more each day, and the figurative armies massing, do not let go of what you know is right. Hold fast! Know that God already has won this battle. Where there is a will, there is a way, and God WILL make a way where there seems to be no way!

In less than thirty minutes I completed all thirty laps. I only briefly grabbed two sips of water along the way from the water bottle my son was holding as he stood by counting off each lap!

I did it! I made it through homeschooling a special needs child from Pre-K through 12th grade!  I could not have done it without the support of NYS Loving Education at Home (LEAH) and Parents Instructing Challenged Children (PICC) as they stood as a lighthouse in the sea of darkness from the first day I started. Knowing that Barb Mulvey, former director of PICC, was only a phone call or email away and knowing that my local LEAH chapter was there as well, gave me the encouragement I needed to stand fast against negative comments and challenges that we faced from friends, family, and our school district. If I did it, you can too!

NYS Loving Education at Home (LEAH) stands to support you in your home school journey. Know that they are here to serve you and walk with you along this path. When the darkness falls, and you cannot find the light switch, pick up phone or get on email with them. They will help you find the switch and turn on the light!

~Mary Fratianni, NYS LEAH Special Needs Coordinator