So you’re thinking about homeschooling. Oh, Momma, can I relate to you.
Let me see…
You’ve read every blog, article, meme, and Facebook post that had anything to do with homeschooling. You’ve spent months researching different home school programs, curricula, groups, and how-tos. You talked to your spouse, friends, and God about this undertaking, and you are giddy with the amazing picture of what it will all look like in your head.
Am I right? Do I know your thoughts or what?
Because frankly, I’ve been right there. I know the dreams and plans you have for your kids. Maybe you agonized over taking them out of the school that they (and you) loved because you felt that God was calling you to do a new thing.
I also know the vision you’ve bought into of how it will look. You’ve read plenty about the joys of homeschooling and spending precious time with your children. No more wasted time in a classroom setting! You see yourself taking them on incredible outings, using the great outdoors as a classroom, and molding your little protégés into independent learners and free thinkers! Your child, with the learning/emotional/physical need, will be challenged and allowed to progress at their own pace. Every second of every day, they’ll be learning and growing and loving every minute of it.
You have battled self-doubt, friends' doubt, and family doubt, overcoming every argument. At this point, you probably can not wait until that first day!
Until that first day comes.
Look, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but let me be honest. Expectation and reality are two different things.
Your once excited pupils will realize that schooling at home doesn’t mean they do whatever they want, but that reading, writing, and arithmetic are still a vital part of the day. Their little dream of sleeping in and living out their lives in their jammies is just that—a dream. Between the two-year-old toddler vying for attention, the phone that won’t stop ringing, the dishes piling up, the laundry pulling at you, and worst of all, your once excited students who are now whining and griping monsters, the weight of the decision will hit you. And at that moment where the fantasy meets reality, you will find yourself wilting inside.
“Wait just a minute, here!” Your inner voice screams. “This is not what I signed up for!” “Where’s the joy? The excitement of learning?”
And then, almost immediately, the guilt sets in, and the lies bombard your mind as your inner voice continues its dialogue, running down the List of Things You Didn’t Do Right. So let me help you right now. Here are eight lies that you will inevitably tell yourself at some point during your homeschool launch.
~Lie 1. “It’s because I’m not doing enough.”
Truth: Enough is a bar that constantly gets moved. If we chase the idea of enough, we’ll never find contentment.
~Lie 2. ”They’re bored! They’re supposed to be loving this! I didn’t get the right curriculum.”
Truth: They’re kids. They’ll get bored at a theme park eventually.
~ Lie 3.“I’m not equipped to teach them.”
Truth: They are YOUR children. You are the best-equipped person to teach the little buggers.
~ Lie 4. “This is supposed to be fun.”
Truth: Says who? That mom who writes blog posts for a living and only posts the cute/fun/perfect pictures? Show up at her house unannounced at about 4:15 PM any weekday, and I think you’ll see a different picture.
~ Lie 5. “I’m not crafty/smart/creative enough.”
Truth: Here’s the thing, we need to realize and teach our kids that learning is an ongoing process. The joy in homeschooling comes when you figure out that you are learning WITH your kids. The day we think there is nothing more to master is when we die. Remember that the next time you talk to some “expert” who refuses to acknowledge that we are all life-long learners and act as if they have it all figured out. They are dead inside. Move along.
~ Lie 6. “I didn’t pray over them enough.”
Truth: Really? Guess I missed that part in the Bible where God keeps a scorecard. And there’s that word again. Enough.
~ Lie 7. “I’m a terrible mom! I should have/shouldn’t have nursed them to sleep when they were babies.”
Truth: Just. Stop. It.
~ Lie 8. “I shouldn’t have co-slept/let them cry it out/given them vaccinations/not given them vaccinations.”
Truth: No, really. Stop.
Suddenly you find yourself a blubbering, guilt-ridden mess hiding in your pantry, sneaking chocolate while your children are watching TV. You could not handle any more small, whiny voices interrupting each other with, “What’s 8 x 8?” and, “How do you spell arachnid?” You might even think about giving up at this point.
And it’s only 10 am on the first day. But I’m here to tell you it’s ok. Put down the chocolate. It’s not you. It’s not them. It’s life.
Here’s a secret I wish I had embraced when I first started. Are you ready?? Here it is:
It’s ok for them to be bored.
It’s good for them to do some monotonous things. It’s ok for them to do things they don’t want to sometimes. Your job is to prepare them for life, not entertain them. It’s called character building.
Andrew Kern said it best when he said, “Children are souls to be nurtured, not products to be measured.” Our job is to pour more than just the multiplication table, English grammar, and history lessons into our kids. What would it matter if they mastered all of the laws of physics and mathematics but failed the simple assignments of kindness, compassion, discipline?
Going into that first year, give yourself lots of grace. It can take time to find your own personal rhythm, Every family’s tempo is different, and every family’s homeschool day will be just as unique. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Simply be present. Talk to your children about Jesus, about life, about dishes and laundry. Read books together. Ask questions together. But must of all remember...
The most important lessons they will learn will come from watching you.
Breathe deeply. Let them see you struggle and lean on Jesus to get you through. Prepare them to live radically for Christ first, and they will be prepared for college and life.
Remember Mommas, we CAN do all things through Christ, which strengthens us. Even educate our kids. If you get nothing else out of this rambling post, just remember, with Him, you, imperfect, curriculum-changing, chocolate-eating, grammar-diagramming nazi (or not), Pinterest fail queen, are ENOUGH.
Now, I’m off to the store to buy more chocolate for our pantry.