For the last day of the Joys of Mothering series, Michelle from Live a Life of No Regrets shares about how she learned to trust the Lord when she was diagnosed with cancer and how she continued to homeschool her children at the same time. {You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.}

This past December I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I am a homeschool mom of 8 children (the eldest being grown, married & 2 babies of her own). I have 6 school age or younger, and I was unsure what this year would hold. However, I was never in doubt that we would continue home schooling no matter what the future held. Home schooling for me was always more than a choice among many good choices.   It was always a calling.

When times were really hard with being really sick from pregnancy and having many little ones two years apart, I never allowed my mind to even wander to how other choices may be better or make my life easier.   I know I cried and prayed like this sometimes: “Lord are you sure? I’m too sick to do this very well. My children are going to suffer.” But I learned that learning is more than just curriculum, it can become a lifestyle. And if He calls you to do it, that He must see more potential in us than we may ever feel.

I do have the most wonderful husband, but he has always worked a lot so I could be home. He could not pick up the home schooling because he was having to help out in so many other areas that I always took care of.

The first thing I did after I was diagnosed was make a plan for the next year. Fortunately early on I was influenced by Charlotte Mason, Karen Andreola, Sally Clarkson, and others. Ambleside Online has been a great resource for our school. We also have done Classical Conversations. My school plans have a lot of subjects we learn together such as history, Bible, copy work, English, vocabulary, spelling, nature journals, memory work, art, music, and bible memorization.

The weeks I was not too sick from chemo or radiation we stayed the course well. The weeks I was really sick or in the hospital the children did math, a lot of reading on their own, and whatever homework they had from co-op. We have always schooled year round so catching up in the summer hasn’t been that big of a change for them. It’s a bit more school than normal summer schedule, but they understand.

There is more to learning than a set of books. My children have learned a lot about compassion for the ill and have been so kind and servant-hearted. Because we have always cooked and cleaned together, they learned to take over those responsibilities totally the weeks I could not. They learned more about being responsible for keeping up with their own school schedule. I have been blessed with how well they have worked together this year.

Lest you think that means my small home looks like Martha Stewarts, it’s far from it! We began remodeling before I was ill so there are many unfinished walls in my home. The carpet in the living room is desperate to be replaced.  There are closets that I need to help reorganize. We are a big family in a little home so there is always decluttering and reorganizing to be done. There will always be things we may need to work on when I am feeling better. We have had to retrain in some areas of cleaning. Although my home is a continual work in progress, it’s because we live, work, and school there. It’s not perfect, but it is filled with the peace of the Lord, laughter of children, and love. How could I ask for more?

My advice for anyone facing illness during homeschooling would be to ask “is this is a calling for your family?” If you know it is, determine to stay the course.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Seek, pray, and ask the Lord to help you do this great work for His glory. He will enable you to do what seems impossible.

The next thing I would do is to tell them to make out your school plans for at least a month out at a time where your children can access them to stay on track. Thirdly, receive help when it is offered. This one was a bit harder for me, but the love and support from family, friends, and the body of Christ this year has kept me grounded in the knowledge that God will provide ALL my needs according to His riches and glory.

Fourthly, don’t feel bad for dropping out of a lot of extras and staying home-focused. This is the season you are in and it becomes a necessity to getting well and staying on track. And lastly, although you plan for your school a bit ahead, truly live day by day.

Matthew 6:34 says “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  This truth has been one of the best things I have learned to really grasp hold of during this trial. His grace is sufficient. May your home too be filled with His peace, His love, and the laughter of children and stay the course.

Michelle Tordoff is a Christian wife and mother who has home schooled for over 21 years.   She has 8 children and 2 grandchildren ranging from 26 years of age to 3 years old. She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last December. You can read about her family and her journey since cancer at

Be encouraged by the Lord’s goodness during this difficult year.
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3 Comments on Finding Joy Through Cancer

  1. Congratulations!!!! I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Find out what to do next

  2. Wow…what an incredible post.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.


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