Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

Sometimes life is tough and you need a little encouragement. These last couple of years have been tough for everyone. That’s why Vicki was chatting with our friend and colleague at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, Meredith Curtis. She is also a curriculum writer (her website is PowerlineProd.com)

Meredith is the host of the Finish Well Podcast. And she has finished raising a bunch of homeschool high schoolers well! She is the mother of five children: four daughters and a son.

Vicki and Meredith started homeschooling back in the old days when homeschool moms all seemed to wear denim jumpers and drove huge vans. Both ladies kind of broke the mold because they never got around to doing either. However, both us us loved the time with our kids all the way through high school. For instance, we loved to help them develop their interests, skills, faith and character qualities.

Meredith was busy homeschooling her family from 1991-2016, when she graduated her youngest. She was sad to finish up homeschooling. However, she found a renewed need for her experience in her local homeschool co-ops and helping out her oldest daughter who was married and had young children. Therefore, she became a supporter and mentor to those around her.

Through her experiences homeschooling her own teens, Meredith developed curriculum that filled some holes in the material available to homeschoolers. She continues to share her materials and wisdom on her website and podcast.

Both Vicki and Meredith have noticed that our kids were friends through their teen years and (what a blessing!) have remained friends as adults. We have noticed that they will go to each other for comfort or advice in tough times. They find in each other some strength in times of adversity.

How to find strength in adversity for homeschool families

Speaking of adversity…adversity has always been an irritation to Vicki that it happens. She freely admits that, as a young mom, she hoped that by homeschooling her kids in as safe and nurturing environment, they would be shielded from hardships. She quickly found out that, despite her best efforts, she was not in charge of the universe and that tough times happen to everyone.

So how did we find strength in times of adversity? Let’s give some examples:

Some of the best ways to show how to survive adversity is to share specific stories from life. Vicki and Meredith hope you find some strength and encouragement for your tough times.

Church planting

Meredith and her husband are church planters. When they came to Florida to plant churches there, they experienced many times where the finances were low…of course, because building a tithing congregation takes time! There were many times that they prayed together as a family, “Lord, we don’t know how to pay these bills and care  hospitably for these church members.”

She remembers feeling angry or fearful during some of these prayers. That is real. We can be authentic with God. In the end, she found that each month, something happened to get them through.

Friends for our homeschool high schoolers

Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers were always active in homeschool co-ops, group classes, church youth group, choirs and other extracurriculars. Because they had so many experiences with their peers, they developed friendships. Unfortunately, occasionally those friendships would shift, leaving one or the other of her teens feeling sad and lonely.

Vicki found that when she prayed for God to show them new friends, He always answered. Soon, the teens would find that God was bringing a new friend across their paths.

Educational needs

One of Vicki’s kids had several learning disabilities. She prayed for God’s wisdom in training him to overcome the areas of weakness and also to accentuate his areas of giftedness. Not only that, she prayed that God work in her son’s heart to help him notice these gifts and interests in order to build his confidence. In the end, God worked in his life and is now a successful middle school teacher, where he can use his special creative gifts.

Teenage mood swings

There’s nothing like puberty! Meredith found that her daughters, who had been so chill during their younger days, became quite emotional during their teen years. She worked on her own self-awareness and prayer so that she could:

  • Understand what her daughters were going through
  • Support her during all these changes
  • Let go of the fallacy that since she is homeschooling her kids, she could protect them from the tough parts of growth and life

Strength for handling more painful adversities

Sometimes adversities are much more painful and long-lasting. How do we find strength for these adversities?

Chronic illness and severe disabilities

Vicki shares some of the story of her grandson who was born with severe disabilities. Throughout his mother’s pregnancy and all through his young life, the whole family has been praying for this little guy. The way that God has answered these prayers has been giving:

  • each family member the fortitude to pray for him
  • his parents the fortitude to care for him
  • open door for resources for him

When Vicki tells God how he should be running this problem (which God allows her to do), she is reminded that God handles things His way and His way is best…even when we do not like or understand it. Strength and faith grow as she holds onto this.

Caregiving for elderly parents and grandparents

Meredith shares about the time of adversity when her parents, in their seventies, became very ill while they were caring for her one-hundred year-old grandmother. She was needed for daily help for all of them, so found she would need to juggle taking some of her kids to help with the elders and leave some at home to babysit the youngsters. Then her mother died, leaving her father and grandmother. Meredith was heartbroken.

What Meredith needed in that time was the strength simply to function. She found it in prayer and with lots of support from her church community and her own family. On the other hand, she had to find a way to grieve while still caring for the family so she would pull away to work on projects. But finally she learned to explain what she needed to her kids and the family worked together to find a healthy way to adjust their homeschooling and lifestyle.

God showed Meredith that she does not always need to be strong. She can look for his grace in her weakness and find that he can sustain her well.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings and tell God how you feel.-Meredith Curtis

Suggestion for homeschooling parents going through times of adversity

This is a broken world with many adversities. That’s just reality. However, we can get through these challenging times. Here are some of Meredith’s suggestions:

Allow yourself to feel your feelings

Sadness or disappointment need to be acknowledged. Sometimes we need to tell God exactly how we are feeling. Sometimes we need a good friend to talk to (or even a counselor). Eventually we will find strength to keep going…and even move on.

Remember that no matter what things look like, God loves us

Just because you are going through adversity does not mean that God is loving you less. You can hang onto this fact even when in times of adversity when you do not understand what is going on. If you sometimes cannot do this, do not hesitate to talk to a friend, pastor or counselor.

Sometimes it helps to find a Scripture to pray and meditate on

Pray for a Scripture to help keep in mind. In difficult moments, a well-meditated Scripture can give you strength.

You will get so much unsolicited advice, ignore what is not helpful

Remember: no one is perfect, so if you are hearing guilt-inducing advice, turn it over to God and get it out of your mind. It is not your responsibility to explain to or appease folks who give unasked-for advice.

Remember: God is with us

God is with you. He is with you. God is with you. Hang onto that and look for His purposes and work in your life.

Join Meredith and Vicki for encouragement and comfort in this interview. You can reach Meredith at:

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Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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