New Horizons

Due to my husband’s profession, our family has moved quite a bit over our homeschool years. We usually don’t have much of a choice, but we can often request a geographical area. Nearly six years ago, our family was shocked when we found out that Los Angeles would be our new home. Coming from rural America, living on 60 acres, nothing could be such a stark contrast as moving to one of the largest cities in the world, Los Angeles. As we were driving, and we crested over the mountains to view the city lights, I cried, cringing at what my children might see and be exposed to.

After settling into our new home, right next to the Port of Los Angeles, we would dread having to drive anywhere. When we left our home, the only view we could see for miles was smog, factories, and cranes from the Port. In fact, we had to go over some of the largest bridges in the country, which were over the largest freight container ships in the world, just to go to church. But one day, it became clear why God wanted us there. He wanted me to turn around. He wanted me to see that, if I took my eyes off of everything that was bad, he had a glorious sight to behold. You see, when I turned around, I would see in my backyard the most beautiful blue water, the most breath-taking sunsets, the magnificent whales, and jumping dolphins — yes, the Pacific Ocean, and the sea world that would be opened to us, when we stopped murmuring.

According to other people, it wasn’t the ideal place to raise a family. It was crowded, polluted, filled with sin in every corner; and yet, God had led the way for us to live here. It didn’t matter what other people thought, God was teaching us very important lessons. I would need to take this lesson of “Turning Around” with me, and apply it in a different way in a few short years.

Our view leaving our home every day

Traffic daily in L.A.

We all have some idea, after we continue with a course, what we would like to see as the outcome. As homeschoolers we are often asked, “Are you going to go all the way?” Meaning, are you going to homeschool through high school? When we start out with our little ones, we can’t see beyond next week! We just want to achieve reading! But, as you travel along on the homeschool journey, you begin to see the kids grow on all levels: academically, in character, and spiritually. Once your child is in the upper elementary, looking to middle school and even high school, it doesn’t seem so daunting — that is, if things are going well. Maybe you are like me, though, and when there is a bad week, self-doubt comes in to play. Each of us has ways Satan likes to tempt us into believing that we are incapable — our education level, our (lack of) patience, our child’s academic challenges, all leaving us feeling like we can’t teach anymore. Whatever the issue is, we are tempted to think that we can’t achieve what God has set us out to achieve. It is God who called us to homeschool in the first place, right?

Sometimes we are faced with less than ideal circumstances. Without being too public with our trials, I can share that our oldest son has always had physical, developmental, and medical challenges. We provided a beautiful foundation, filled with True Education principles, right eating, love, and laughter. We made sure we took away negative influences from the beginning, abstaining from electronic devices like TV, video games, and personal tablets. We provided a musical home, a love for gardening, responsibilities and chores. But, what if all of that is not enough? What if, because of the special needs, behavior escalates, and the child continues to have challenges? We decided, after much prayer, that outside intervention was needed. Even with added therapies, Christian counselors, and even medication, the situation only grew worse. Over the course of several years, it became clear… It was time. It was time to Turn Around. After much prayer, and after counseling with a very prominent marriage counseling couple within our faith and lifestyle, we decided new horizons needed to be seen. We needed to find a way to keep balance in our home and in our personal lives. Having a special needs child in the home is very wearing on everyone, and can create a very imbalanced family. No one is exempt from feeling the weight and stress from the constant struggles and battles, most especially other siblings. 

Older brother watching his younger brother

It took me some time to accept that I wasn’t failing my special kiddo by turning around. In fact, the opposite had occurred. I had provided that much needed foundation and structure. He was spared a more debilitating situation and future because of the growth that he had experienced under my care and love. And now, it was made clear. It was time to put that same devotion towards the many other children in my care. I am not in control of his salvation, just as I am not in control of his mental health and educational path. God is! I can help shape and direct, for sure, but now it is time to start a new path, where relationships can be rebuilt and he can grow again. Someone else, rather, a group of loving Christians, will now be helping facilitate structure, expectation, and more so, inspiring my son to new levels. I know it with all my heart! I can let go, and I can let God lead my son through other people!

Does this mean my other children won’t be homeschooled? No! They are thriving and happy with our path right now. I can look to the future, and still know they will be meeting a beautiful sunset. And, our oldest son will hopefully be taking a rocket ship, climbing high as the stars, while we watch the sunset together.

The view from our back porch, in south Los Angeles County

Nicole Gallagher
Home Engineer at

Nikki is a happy homeschool mom to five children, aged 13 down to two years — four rugged boys and one princess! She is the wife of an active duty Air Force officer, and enjoys traveling the country, exploring their new duty stations. Nikki earned an aerospace engineering degree and uses some of those skills as an avid seamstress — when time permits! She loves to stay active on long hikes, bike rides, and gardening.


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