Homeschooling…!? What did we get ourselves into? In the beginning, it was a question my husband and I were asked often and one we asked ourselves often, but one we avoided trying to answer, mainly because there was no short “good answer”. It took years to develop one because every year changed our lives. As an Air Force family, we moved. A lot. We added children. We met new homeschool families who introduced us to new curriculums. We joined new churches. We settled into new homes. We made new friends, some of whom I am blessed to have join us in iStudy! Finally, I think I have an answer: we got ourselves into the third greatest adventure of our lives. (The first being our walk with Jesus, because, you know: “church answer”, even though it IS true. The second being our covenant walk with each other in marriage, because The Hubs might read this. Still true though.) Raising children and choosing the gift of being able to stay involved in their daily lives and education throughout their years in our home was an adventure unlike any other.
But as anyone with littles in their home knows, and especially homeschooling families, it doesn’t leave much time for focused Bible study, particularly for Mom. (I had a devotional called “The 5-Minute Devotional for Mom” that sat in my bathroom for years. It was my only respite from schoolbooks and children’s books, IF I got 5 minutes alone! #momsneverpottyalone ) And homeschooling moms (and moms whose children are home from their formal schools for the day for whatever reason) know the challenges of finding childcare in the middle of the day on a regular basis so that we can attend, well, anything. And that really includes Bible studies. So for years, I went without those “Forsake not the assembling together of the brethren” and “fellowship” commands and instead settled for church services once a week; Awana Handbook time and the Bible study lessons in our curriculums served as my “Quiet Time”. Anyone else relate?
As the children grew up and needed me less and less, it was easier to actually have a quiet time of study at an adult level, but leaving the house and attending studies at other locations remained challenging and sporadic. For me, personally, that challenge has been harder than for most because my now-USAF-retired husband flies for a commercial airline and is gone from home about 15-18 days a month with a schedule that changes on an almost-weekly basis and is never the same from month-to-month. Therefore, I was not able to count on Dad to be home with the kids on a weeknight so that I could attend a study. Forget weekdays!
This is where iStudyEBS comes into play. In order to attend a weekly Bible study while my children were still home and old enough to stay home alone for a couple of hours, I selected a 5:30am study that met at one of our local high schools. While it was an enormous joy to meet with those faithful, although bleary-eyed, women each week for several years, it was sometimes really hard to haul myself out of a warm bed in the dead of night in the freezing cold to drive on deserted streets and park in a deserted lot to do so! Apparently, our faithful leader decided she had had enough of it, too, because she introduced us to iStudyEBS and we have been meeting online ever since. (Thank you, Marlene!)
Since our children are all now out of the house with the 6’4″ “baby” a senior in college, my days as a HS mom have ended (which has brought its own set of challenges!). Sometimes I now get to go with my husband on trips, so I am often nowhere near my home base or my Bible study group. I love the flexibility that iStudyEBS brings to the table: connectivity from anywhere, electronic study so that I don’t have to have a printer or a hardcopy of Scripture or even a writing utensil, technology that keeps me moving forward.
Our group has changed from year-to-year, including having some familiar faces and some new ones with each study, and expanding our reach to women across the world. It is a blessing to
- be able to meet in my own home and not have to fight traffic to get somewhere on time, or if I still had children at home, struggle to figure out what to do with my children so that I can attend a Bible study;
- meet and get to know women I would otherwise never meet;
- be able to meet with my group no matter where I am in the world, and to stay connected to them even if one of us moves (like me this Fall!);
- know that these women are praying for me and they care about the way God answers our prayers;
- pray for them, too, and
- have the accountability from them to stay in the Word on a regular basis.
All of these are applicable to most, if not all, women and not just homeschooling moms. But I think homeschooling moms (like a lot of single moms) fall through the cracks sometimes and we need a little extra push to keep us going strong. I see the same need in women who are retired from their careers (remember I mentioned having challenges as an ex-homeschooler?) and empty-nesters. We working women/moms/teachers/wives gave of ourselves for so long, we may not know what to do with our time, or we have lost the social circle we had and because we are “out of sight, out of mind” we tend to be forgotten.iStudyEBS online is one great way to keep us connected.
I homeschooled our four children for a grand total of 23 years and I was forcibly retired in 2015 with the high school graduation of our last student (because they don’t let you homeschool your kids through college and he was D.O.N.E.). It was a grand adventure that I miss. My only regret is that online Bible study like iStudyEBS was not available during the majority of my tenure as a homeschool teacher/mom. I am sure that it would have helped me to be a more consistent student of the Word, a better teacher, and a stronger mom and wife because of the “assembling together of the sisterhood” (because “sistren” just sounds weird).
I hope to see you in a Zoom group.
iStudy of Mark starts soon!
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