Have you ever had “one of those days”? You know, the kind where nothing goes the way you planned it? Things happen that you don't want to happen, or things refuse to happen when you DO want them to. Well, around our house, the past few months have been “one of those days” – one after another, after another, after another.

Over the past several weeks, I've had many opportunities to think – think about my family, think about our lives, think about our plans and routines and our general lifestyle. Mostly I've had time to think about what really matters, and what our priorities ought to be. Many events have happened in the past three months that have had a tremendous impact on me and on my family. Each event has one common factor – I am completely at a loss to control any of them! All of them have an effect on us, but there is nothing I can do about any of them. Nothing, that is, except think. I have heard the expression, “Stop the world! I want to get off!” Today I saw a sign that said “Grand Central Station.” A television commercial once proclaimed, “Calgon, take me away!” All of those statements would be applicable to my life over the past few months. So what does any of that have to do with homeschooling? Actually, for my family, it has everything to do with it! Because for us, homeschooling is not primarily about “school,” it is about “home.” About family. About loving each other and helping each other. It's about life, and learning to deal with whatever comes our way – especially the things we have no control over.

A few months ago, my parents came to visit us in our home for the last time. It was not the last time I saw them, but it was the last time they were able to make the trip across the state together. It was a trip they have made many times over the last ten years. Every birthday, every Christmas, and on many other special occasions. They willingly made the three hour drive to share a part of our lives with us. I cherish those memories of our time with them, and I always will. But this past Christmas holds a very special place in my heart. It was the last time my father was able to make that trip. A few weeks later his health declined rapidly. By the end of January, my mother needed extra help to come in and care for him. Hospice volunteers came on a weekly basis. They did everything they could to make him comfortable, but that was all they could do for him. He passed away on March 23, just a few days before Easter. In December we celebrated our Lord's birth with my parents, and in March my father celebrated our Lord's resurrection with Jesus. The pain of losing him has been almost unbearable, but it has given my family many opportunities to pull together and help each other learn about life, and about death, and how each is a part of God's plan for us.

Early in February, I started having pain and swelling in the veins in my right leg. When it didn' get better on its own, I finally went to the doctor. He put me on antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory drug, and bed rest until my leg could heal. So there I was, in the middle of our school year, flat on my back all day long. My leg got better, and then worse, and finally healed after several weeks of treatment. My family had more opportunities to work together, help one another, and learn some valuable life skills. During those days of bed rest, we did very little formal schooling, but my children learned some lessons they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

Over the next few weeks, even overlapping my time of bed rest, two of our vehicles broke down, my husband got sick enough to need a doctor (which he's done only a few times in the 20 years I've known him), our son got sick, and other challenges came up that were out of our control. It was sometimes discouraging to sit back and see how many things were coming at us all at once, and how little we could do about any of it. But what an opportunity it has been! We've learned to trust God, even when it isn' easy. We've learned what's really important, and what things are just “fluff” and really don' matter in the long run. We've learned to see miracles in the small things of life, and not to take those things for granted.

As I sit and think about all of these events, I am again reminded of the blessing it is that I can homeschool my children. Through each of these crises, we have been together, dealing with whatever came our way, but never having to be alone. I cannot imagine how I would have survived if I'd had to do all of this, while at the same time juggling school schedules for four children (at three different schools). I cannot imagine how much worse things could have been if we'd had to get up and out the door by 7:30 each morning, instead of being able to sleep when we were exhausted from the chaos of the day. I don' know how I would ever have been able to keep up with the household chores during my time on bed rest without the willing hands of my children being there to help me. Most of all, I cannot imagine having to tell them about their grandfather's death, and then send them off to school for several hours without being able to talk about it, cry together, and comfort one another. Yes, these days we have been in crisis mode much of the time. But our homeschool lifestyle has helped us get through it, and thrive. I am very thankful that God has allowed me the privilege of homeschooling my children, not only when things are good, but when we are dealing with life's challenges as well.

Lori Deese and her husband, Ricky, homeschool their four children in Rockledge, Florida. They have homeschooled since 1992, when their oldest child was four years old, and plan to continue until their youngest graduates in 2012.

Lori Deese and her husband, Ricky, homeschool their four children in Rockledge, Florida.