From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


12/2/2010 12:30:17 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- December 2010

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
December 2010--Enjoying the Gift of Homeschooling

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It is a privilege for us to welcome Elizabeth Smith as she shares her
heart with you in this edition of the newsletter. Elizabeth is the
wife of Mike Smith, president of HSLDA. Although her homeschooled
children are now grown, Elizabeth continues to encourage the
homeschooling community by speaking, writing, and serving as the
director of development for the Home School Foundation.

Dear Friends,

It has been 15 years since I completed homeschooling and my last child
entered college. As I look back over those years, there were special
blessings I received from the Lord that I want to share with you. The
first thing I want to say is that I am really pulling for you. I know
you face things you never counted on when you set out on this journey.
There are joys and disappointments, and for some, tragedies. The one
thing I can assure you is that the Lord is with you--every day, every
step. My prayer is that you will realize His presence and trust in His

My first and persistent awareness in those early years was that I was
inadequate to the task. I felt like I was entering a great unknown.
The outcome was so important, but there were no guarantees that I was
even on the right track. It occurred to me more than once that I might
be damaging my children for life. There were no studies or research
about the success of homeschooling. I had never heard of scope and
sequence and just figured I needed to turn a few more pages each day
than I had the day before. In the early 80s when we began, the number
one focus for most of us homeschooling families was building Christian
character into our children's lives. As far as books went, we found
what we could and did our best.

Today I realize that the Lord was faithful when I asked for His help.
To that end, prayer became my constant companion. I learned to bring
every uncertainty to Him. I brought my children's illnesses and
character flaws, as well as my insecurities and periodic burnout to
Him. Each year I asked the Lord for direction even to the point of
asking what courses to teach and what books to use. The number one bit
of advice I give to every homeschool parent is to develop your prayer
life. Over time, I realized that the Lord wanted to build faith into
my children's lives by meeting our needs and answering our prayers.

My second piece of advice is to depend on God. There were many days
when I asked Him to give me the motivation to continue. Homeschooling
seemed endless with few breaks. I had to depend on him to give me the
get-up-and-go to homeschool each day. Letting Him know that we can't
do it without Him seems to release His grace into our efforts. Before
I knew it, we were doing exactly that and were witnessing His hand in
our lives.

The last point I want to share is that as the years pass, the memories
grow more precious. My theory is that God just keeps blessing our
sacrifice and obedience to raise up our children for Him long after
our homeschool years are over. The hundreds of days on the sofa
reading out loud to each other, the field trips we did almost every
Friday, the trips to the used book store to fill a shopping bag with
books to read, the hours of conversation, sharing ideas, reading the
Bible and praying together; no one can take that from us. I believe
the closeness we enjoyed as a family can't be reproduced outside of
homeschooling. We were able to enjoy each other so much because we
didn't let the outside world rob us of leisure and uninterrupted time
together. You might say we majored in relationship building.

I believe that the Lord's special blessing, "Well done, good and
faithful servant!" awaits you, too. So take time to smell the flowers.
Don't rush through your homeschool experience so you can do something
else. Enjoy the gift of homeschooling and you, too, will have memories
that will fill your heart with the assurance that you have lived out
your purpose and godly calling.

Merry Christmas,
Elizabeth Smith

We add our warmest wishes for a Christmas season that is full of an
awareness of the Lord's joy, peace, and love.

Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators

HSLDA High School Teacher Training Sessions
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Becky and Diane's Speaking Engagements:

February 15, 2011--FISHE, Fairfax, VA (Becky)
March 4-5, 2011--Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii, CHOH (Diane)
March 25-26, 2010--St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo, MO (Becky)
April 14-16, 2011--MACHE, MN (Becky and Diane)
April 29-30, 2011--MassHOPE, MA (Diane)

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standing in a fierce wind. Yet when 80,000 voices join together,
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