We Americans—and the rest of the world—have found ourselves in a crisis, the magnitude of which has not been seen in my lifetime. COVID-19 can be a devastating killer. The threat to our health is real and serious; governments across the globe have taken drastic measures to try to control the spread of the virus. And now, new waves of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Florida, Georgia, and other US states.
I’m penning this communication in April from my house because I’m obeying the Virginia governor’s request to stay at home when possible. HSLDA’s office is functioning almost normally, with most staff working remotely and a few necessary co-laborers (that’s what we call ourselves at HSLDA) on site.
We are prayerful that most of the concerns caused by this virus will be resolved by the time you read this, but regardless, HSLDA will be available to help you educate and nurture your children.
What are some of the issues that we all have faced—and are still facing—through this crisis?
Death is the big one. At HSLDA, all our co-laborers are Christian and have similar beliefs about death and the afterlife, which provide hope and comfort.
We believe that physical death is a promotion of sorts. When we choose to trust Jesus Christ, we are not only forgiven and added to God’s family, but we also receive a new life that is for eternity. When we die, we’ll go to be with Christ in His home—heaven—and get to experience the joy of knowing God and being fully known and fully loved forever! (But—if we’re being honest—most of us don’t believe that we’re ready yet, don’t think that we’ve lived long enough, and don’t want to leave our families.)
In short, we don’t fear COVID-19’s potential to kill us personally, but for other reasons (including a general desire to avoid sickness when possible and to love and care for those who are more vulnerable to the virus), we still respect our government and comply with its orders and requests to curb the virus’s spread.
Of course, there are more issues. Other big ones are loss of employment or loss of investments in the stock market. For many, these represent a loss in financial stability. More than once, I’ve heard “there goes my retirement; I’m never going to be able to stop working.” These and other money-related concerns have been very stressful for many homeschool families that depend upon one income. Some people have seen almost half of their life savings vanish.
In March 2020, as more and more governments in the US declared states of emergency, Oklahoma Senator Lankford made a speech on the floor of the Senate that may have been shocking to some listeners; it was a refreshing reminder to me. As senators discussed the trillions of dollars to be given to the American people, Senator Lankford warned that if one relies on the government as the ultimate source for anything, only disappointment will follow. He read some comforting words from God to us, from Psalm 121 of the Bible:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
God knows what we are going through. He is not asleep; He is working on our behalf to make everything turn out for our good,1 and He’s promised to provide for all our needs.2 Believing that is the key to peace in the midst of the storm. (If you want to read more about what we believe and what it means to be a Christian, I encourage you to visit this link.)
A movement in pandemic
Finally, the homeschool community at large has felt the effects of the pandemic. While the relaxed testing and evaluation standards across the states may have made some of our families’ lives easier (isn’t homeschooling great?), many of our state homeschool organizations have had to cancel their annual homeschool conferences. Some were able to move the gatherings online, but these solutions didn’t bring in the same revenue that they needed to be able run their organizations in a fiscally sound manner for the whole year.
I’d like to encourage you, if you are able, to check in with your state and local homeschooling organization and see if they need financial help. These organizations partner with HSLDA in monitoring legislation, advocating for homeschooling in the media, and defending your homeschool freedom. These homeschool groups also provide valuable resources, like used book sales, field trips, learning centers, and social support, to serve and strengthen the homeschool community—the homeschooling movement would not be the same without them.
I am confident that this pandemic will pass. And other crises will come. And when they do, I invite you to lift your eyes to the Lord and find Him ready to help you. That’s what we do at HSLDA, and He has never failed.
1 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
2 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)