You’ve had one of those ‘I Just Want To Quit’ days haven’t you? We all have. Maybe you’ve had a string of them?
Well, the following happened in a Facebook discussion last month. One homeschool mama who thought she was not equipped and many who answered in specific encouragement. Those friends stepped up with practical answers, Godly wisdom, experience and varying viewpoints.
Do you have a group of fellow Christian homeschool friends who can lift you when you need it? Be encouraged by this…
Dianne said: Sharing this with just my homeschooling mama friends – sisters in Christ because I am desperate for some wisdom but I am terrible at asking for help. Hope I don’t sound pathetic or whiny and that you hear my heart.
I want so badly to succeed at this and I just can’t figure out why I can’t get it right. Any suggestions / advice you can share are appreciated. We are at a crossroads again. I am unable to keep up with it all, and the deal to homeschool was that the laundry and housework would be PART of the curriculum and thereby get done on a more regular basis – not less. But since I have failed at this, it has once again come up that perhaps we need to go back to public school.
I feel awful… I’ve let everyone down, failed my kids in our homeschool journey, disappointed my hubby in our agreement and most importantly I’ve dropped the ball on all the wonderful privileges and responsibilities my Father in heaven bestowed on me. Can someone feel God’s call to homeschool but just not be made to do it? Why is “if He calls you He equips you” not working on me? What am I doing wrong? Can I fix it or is it time to go back to school??
Lots of heavy stuff, I know Thanks for letting me vent if nothing else.
Angie answered: I have asked for GOD’s direction in what I say (write) to you; I pray that it is His words, not mine, and that I give them with HIS love, mercy, and grace. Just throwing some things out to ponder…you said “if He calls you He equips you” isn’t working for you”…well, either HE didn’t really call you, or HE did and HE has equipped you, but you are not seeing it, trusting it, or following through how and with what he has equipped you. I only say that because GOD doesn’t lie. So, truly if HE has called you, HE has equipped!
Though, that doesn’t mean it will always be smooth sailing I know what I said sounds terrible, but believe me I have personally lived out these kind of situations. You must (and only you can) decide if it was a true calling! If you determine it was, then you must look closely at what you are doing, and how you are doing it; to be able to see what areas need work, to be changed, or to be scrapped. Of course the answers will come through prayer and the voice and direction of the Holy Spirit. Though, I think that the end result needs to be that you and your husband agree, and that if you don’t you will submit to your husband. Homeschooling is truly wonderful, but it shouldn’t come between a husband and wife. I will keep you in my prayers. Believe me I know what it is like to not always see eye to eye with your hubby. I believe you are truly wanting GOD’s will for you, your kids, and your family, and I truly believe GOD is with you, will strengthen, and will show you the way!!
Heidi answered: Well, Angie pretty much said everything I was going to say. My bottom line was going to be that you and your husband BOTH have to be all-in on something like this. One of the biggest problems I have seen over the years with families struggling with a homeschooling call is that either one (or both) parents has one foot still in public school. Does that make sense? I will be praying for you and your husband to see God’s plan for your family.
Judy answered: My comment is not as spiritual as Angie’s, but maybe it could help. Sometimes it helps just to put in a What’s in the Bible DVD and call it “History Class” while you all work together to fold the mountain of laundry while learning about Bible History in cartoon form. School and housework accomplished simultaneously! It’s hard to make a really important decision right now in the Christmas rush. It’s an extremely busy (and sometimes stressful) week for most. Focus on getting your house super clean (which is what your husband probably wants and needs) and then you will have less chaos. That being said, my house currently looks like a tornado ran through the inside of it, leaving the walls intact but nothing else.
Pamela answered: I can get very discouraged in the housework department at times. I start thinking about how if the kids all went off to school the house would be cleaner and the laundry would be done. I would have time to shop for bargains and prepare better meals. I could have more time to read, study my Bible, pray, maybe even exercise. After having some “me time,” looking around at an orderly house, and neatly checking off my to-do list, I would probably be more energetic and be in a better mood at the end of the day. I start to wonder if I would actually be a better mom if I sent the kids away during the day.
But after studying what the Bible says about parents discipling children and reading and listening to others that have gone before me, I have come to a place of knowing homeschooling is about so much more than academics, and I know that I can never replace the value of it with an education outside of the home. The benefits far outweigh the imagined perks of sending them to school.
Here are some conclusions I have come to:
1. As the kids mess up throughout the day, I am right there to correct them so they can mature through it. As they resolve arguments with their siblings, they are growing in character with their parents guiding them. As we assign them chores, they are learning the importance of being a hard worker. They are learning to honor their parents because all the instruction comes from us. They are seeing the real us day in and day out. They see that we mess up. They see our weaknesses. They see our sin. They see how we respond to everything. They see that we need to be dependent on our Heavenly Farther for all things. We are showing them that our relationship with Christ is a part of every moment of our day, that our faith is genuine. And through all of this, we are building a close relationship with them so that hopefully they will come to us one day instead of their friends when they need counsel.
2. We are discipling them in the midst of this thing we call “school.” The time we spend studying and memorizing scripture, the catechism, devotionals, and the character studies we do would not happen if they went off to school. I just don’t think we would be disciplined enough to get them done in the evenings with homework and extra-curricular activities and baths and dinner and dishes and bed times. With enough determination, I am sure it can be done, but it works well for us to seamlessly make it part of “school.”
3. One of the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place comes to mind frequently. Some friends of ours had a four year old son who died of cancer. I think of how valuable those four years were for them. I have to remind myself that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us. If I was told I only had a year left with one of my kids, would I send her off to school eight hours a day? Not a chance. Life is too precious. Time is too short.
Tricia answered: Dianne – I read your status, stepped away, talked to my husband and am back to share just a bit. I also agree with Angie and Heidi about following your husband’s lead – and you two being in agreement. And I was going to say, like Judy, that the hustle and bustle of Christmas is not an honest reflection of ‘getting stuff done’. Take yesterday for example. You saved me by jumping off my van battery!! I came back home and the house was a mess, the laundry was backed up but we had three girls to get to piano recital. We worked to pick up the house real quick, bump some laundry and get fed and changed. Have we reached all the goals we set for before Christmas? No but it is time for a break. Homeschooling is NOT easy. Never easy at any stage. There is not a magical time that it all falls into place – at least I have never seen it. There is always a character training challenge. Or a new need – or set back with mom being sick and needing to heal.
I also feel like being involved in many, many activities can take away from simply homeschooling. Maybe cutting back and staying home will give you more time to learn and keep house.
Sometimes it is time to, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
Maybe a list of pros and cons for homeschooling and public school. Either way there will be challenges, work to be done, homework, laundry and housework, sickness, commitments… Take the holiday break as a time to just love on each other without school work – find your hearts – play together, watch movies (like Judy suggested!) and just enjoy. Seek the Lord. He will show you. It’s never in our own effort that we succeed… I am weak but Thou art strong… Our homeschool goes through a redirection and reorganization often based on the changing and growing needs of all our ages. Sometimes one thing works, sometimes it doesn’t. But a consistent trust in and seeking, asking, knocking of the Lord will bless your family. No matter what HE tells you to do! Praying for you.
Apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Lisa answered: Amen to what Pamela and Tricia said. Dianne, I’ve been homeschooling for eight years and in my eight years almost every year I’ve struggled with whether I’m doing enough, someone else could teach them better than me, etc. all those are lies that I’ve believed. I’m encouraged by everyone’s comments. I need to constantly be reminded the real reason we homeschool. I mess up all the time, but thank you the good Lord for new mercies everyday! Here is a book that just recently really encouraged me: “lies homeschooling moms believe” by Todd Wilson. My hubbie and I listened to him speak months ago and it was an encouragement to him as far as really truly understanding why we homeschool, not just for academics. Also, there is a YouTube video by Voddie Baucham about homeschooling. It would be great for both of u to watch together.
Boy, have I been blessed by this post! Thank you Dianne for sharing your heart. So very thankful for this group! I’ve been in this homeschool group eight years now and many different women have continually spoken words of encouragement into my life when I’ve been right where you are. God has provided these amazing women to keep me on this path, that I’m sure of!! Thank you ladies and may God continue to give all of us the wisdom, strength, and encouragement we need to stay the course. Love you all!
I wonder if we could have a mom/dad’s meeting? A chance for the veteran homeschool dads that feel lead to maybe encourage the other dads. Just a thought.
Also, Dianne, I came across a great idea on Pinterest for decluttering. Make a 30 day list of things you want decluttered. Give yourself 15-30 min a day, whatever you have available and work on that. 1-declutter hall closet, 2-a drawer in kitchen, 3- boys closet(may take more than 1 session to do but put it down on a list. One big box for donation, one for trash and one to sell at garage sale in future. I’m getting myself in the mood to go declutter!
Tish answered: Here is the link to Voddie’s powerful message.
Whoever Controls The Schools Controls The World
Heidi answered: If it makes you feel better, we are only on lesson 50 of Easy Peasy and have been doing school since August! Yes, we are behind, but I feel so blessed to homeschool, especially during this season in our lives. We will catch up and make up everything when we can. Sometimes you just have to step back, take a break, and then reevaluate. Sometimes we make that choice for ourselves and sometimes God makes that choice for us. Keep your priorities in order and follow God’s calling and things will come together, probably not the way you pictured it, but they will come together. As others have said, remember the reasons you decided to homeschool in the first place and focus on those. And I agree with Tricia, sometimes you just have to cut out the extras and focus on the basics. Your biggest responsibility as a homeschooling parent is to lead your children to the Lord and give them a love of learning, everything else will come. Continued prayers for your family as you face these decisions.
Leanne answered: A hearty amen to what’s been said! Remember also that you are single-handedly doing the work of many people. In every generation of every culture in the history of the world (except ours and our parents’), people lived communally. They had their moms, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, sisters and friends surrounding them on a daily basis. Even in cultures where the woman goes to live with her in-laws, there are at least people around to help share the load. Even if they don’t like the people they have to live communally with, there are people there, and everybody pulls their weight.
You have taken on a job that *God* meant for multiple people to do. So to labor under the weight that you need to do all this “right” and that it should look a certain way is peer pressure and idealism that isn’t even the hard, raw truth of what we all live every day. It’s not even what God expects us to do. We have to clean out of necessity, because we don’t have maids or sisters or cousins to do it for us, but if our relationships with our families come first, then the cleaning gets knocked further down the to-do list. That said, if you had less stuff, there would be less stuff to clean. Talkin’ to myself here. I am on a constant mission to get rid of stuff and de-clutter. Most of the kids’ toys are in containers with lids, put away. When they want something out, they must first clean up what’s on the floor, and then I’ll swap the containers out. That’s the only way I can stay sane. We see cleaning as part of homeschooling.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just doing school at home. It took me a lot of years to learn that. I tried to “do school at home” and turn our living room into a classroom, because that’s what all the other homeschooling mommies I knew did. I was pressured into making our lives look like theirs. But there were several huge differences between me and the other mommies who said “This is how it’s done.” They either didn’t have more than one or two children, or their kids were adopted (so they weren’t laying on the bathroom floor throwing up with another pregnancy while their other kids were trying to do math), they were high-energy, super-organized, and didn’t need much sleep. When I realized that what they were telling me was legalism and not anything near what God expected of me, I relaxed and actually began to enjoy my family.
I didn’t like the ogre I became when we “did school” like schools do. I became a raging tyrant, I saw their “attitudes” as disrespect and rebellion, and I didn’t enjoy homeschooling. I hated life, and so did they. We quit “doing school” and started living life and fitting educational stuff in as it came. It has worked much better for our family and we’re a much calmer, peaceful, happy bunch of people. Your husband may need to meet some other homeschooling families so he knows you’re normal. If he thinks (like many men I know) that it’s just you who can’t do it, he’ll think public school is the only answer, and you are the problem.
He needs to know that most of us struggle on a daily basis, that most of us are scatter-brained, most of us are low-energy, most of us have learned to relax when it comes to academics, and in the end, our kids will be better off for having learned conflict resolution and relationship skills along with school stuff, rather than sitting for year after year after year and only coming out with some academics. Homeschooling is so much more than books. It’s everything, all wrapped up together. If a clean house is on top of your husband’s priority chart, then work on decluttering so there’s less to clean. If he can afford to hire help for you, take him up on the offer! It doesn’t mean you “can’t do it all.” None of us does it all. Please tell him that. NONE of us is doing it all. Stuff gives every day.
Your first priority is your relationship with your husband and children. If he says no, submit to that. Homeschooling isn’t a Biblical mandate–it’s something some of us see as a better choice. If he’s never seen it that way, it’s more important to maintain peace with your husband. I’ve known women who said they were obeying God by going against their husbands to homeschool. Their kids are now grown and out of the house, and their marriage is destroyed. ALL of them now understand that it would have been better if they’d put the kids in school to save the relationships. Would he be open to hiring a tutor for them while you clean, or hiring a cleaner while you teach? If not, would he at least be open to considering that none of us homeschooling mothers does it all?
We all struggle, we all fail, we all cry, we all yell, we all ask God why in the world we’re even attempting it. There are piles of laundry on the couch waiting to be folded. The floor is covered with crumbs. I did sweep two days ago. 5/6 of the family has eaten breakfast, and it’s 10 a.m. I’m sick with a sore throat and one kid is coughing and one has a fever. I did wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. Yay me!
Sounds like your husband would benefit from reading the Moore’s books. Some of them can be found at the library. “Better Late Than Early” is an excellent place to start if he wants data and research and “proof” of the idea of waiting till kids are older to even introduce most subjects at all.
Heidi answered: Yes! Please do come to my home one day while we are “doing school” It is nowhere near perfection, but my focus is on being close to God, not trying to look good to the world. Perfection that we see in magazines or on some homeschool blogs would pull me away from that focus. Each homeschool is different, as it should be. Most homeschoolers say one of their favorite things about homeschooling is the flexibility to do things how we want to do them and then we strive to fit a mold of what the world says it should look like. I am guilty of this, as I am sure most of us are. Homeschool will and SHOULD look different for every family.
Heidi: Dianne- I admire you for being so open and honest about your homeschooling journey thus far and I pray one day you will look back on these first years and be thankful for the decision you made to homeschool. I also admire every one of these ladies that are encouraging you today. I know none of them are perfect, but all of them have followed a special calling from the Lord. God has equipped them all to do His will, and He is calling you and will equip you! I pray you find a way to answer that calling and to see the gifts He has given you to make you worthy of this calling.
Leanne: I remember when I was having terrible postpartum depression after our 4th was born. A wise woman (and homeschooling mommy) told me something that I had to mull over a long time before I understood what she meant. She wrote on a note card that I still have in my bathroom, four years later. She wrote, among other things: “Resist any greed or condemnation that would seek to drive you to do more than you can do with joy.” I read that so many times over the next few months and couldn’t figure out what in the world she meant.
Then I saw it. I could see resisting condemnation. Condemnation from myself, from other mothers, from Satan. I could see resisting things that sucked joy out of me. But I couldn’t figure out where the greed part came in. It took me months to realize that my desire to impress other people by proving my ability to “get it all done” was absolutely greed. It was greed to want approval of anybody but God. I couldn’t homeschool with joy. I couldn’t keep the house with joy. I couldn’t do anything with joy. So I stripped my life down to the bare minimum. What could I still do with joy? Nurse my baby and snuggle with the others. And you know what? At that time, it’s all they needed–to be love and accepted. I realized what I was doing was exactly what God wanted me to do–model HIS nature to them. If I’m not doing that, I’m not obeying Him. Everything else can get done when their needs are taken care of. My life has changed dramatically over the last four years, and if I’ve learned anything that’s helpful or encouraging to anybody else, praise God.
Erin: I thought of Todd Wilson’s talk as well. You are experiencing “Homeschool Vertigo” and you’re in what he calls “the fog”. The fog is this place of confusion where you begin to doubt what you once believed to be true and the reasons that led you to that place of decision. (You can listen to it here on this CD that he offers which is excellent: Raising Dangerous Sons)
There are four points he makes as parents who homeschool:
1. We believe home is the best place to learn.
2. We believe that parents are the best teachers of our children.
3. We believe that every child is a masterpiece.
4. We believe the relationship is first (not academics).
Perhaps you have your own reasons that you could add to the list. I know I do. But, whenever I’ve experience homeschool vertigo, two things are typically going on: fear and trust. Fear of not doing enough. Fear of falling “behind” of some standard in my own mind. Fear of whether the advice we listen to is really the best advice. Fear if it will turn out like the way we hope. The list goes on…
What it boils down for me is a trust issue. Do I trust the Lord to use me, to complete the work He’s given me in my children’s lives. Even when the tasks of the day feel heavy (and yes, the daily living of chores in the house can fall into this as well such as laundry, dirty floors, etc) Do I trust that the people who have sown into my life confirm the steps I feel He has directed for me and my family? Do I trust Him to complete the work in the manner He chooses, period? Look around you. God has surrounded you with godly women of character who are sowing into your life. You have some amazing women commenting above. Listen to each word. I know they speak from their heart and share because they’ve been there themselves. God hasn’t left you alone to try and struggle thru it. Everyone of us have had those moments of doubt and struggle at some point in our journey. The key is to recognize it and reach out to a friend saying, “I’m drifting into the fog – help!” which is exactly what you’re doing!
I know there are those moments for me, personally, in our homeschooling that would have never happened if we hadn’t been doing life together. May I encourage you to write these moments down! That’s what my husband said to me the last time I was so in awe of how God had orchestrated a field trip day (remember that day Tricia?) That day it was so evident that God had brought people along our path in only timing He could orchestrate, so much so I was impressed that if God wanted my kids to know something, He would make it happen—that I just needed to be faithful with each day (and do the lessons planned). Trust. Do not be afraid. Which brings me to my last point, faithfulness. God doesn’t ask us to do it perfectly, He’s just looking for faithfulness. After all, He’s growing you thru this as well as you trust Him on the journey. And I don’t know about you, but growth can feel painful. It can feel hard. Lean into Him. I know you will. I know you are.
Angie: You know what I have seen in this thread…. a picture of the Body of Christ as it should be!! Thank you to ALL the ladies that shared. I truly believe GOD was in all the comments!! Merry Christmas my friends!!
Kim: Have you tried the flylady.net? Excellent resource for the housekeeping-challenged. If I were you, I would also use a simple curriculum. And I agree with everyone else who said that in the end, you need to let hubby lead.
Dianne: OH MY, just now signing in to see if there were any more responses since I checked last night, and I am OVERWHELMED to see all this! I am going to read over these prayerfully before logging in to work tonight and will take the time to reply to each of you who took time out of your busy day to share advice and encourage this hurting momma. Can’t wait to read them all, but want to start by saying THANK YOU for taking time to write all this!! Though I am always embarrassed to reach out, I am so glad I did… I am sure these comments are going to contain pearls of wisdom and gold nuggets of truth I will treasure forever. THANK YOU!!!
Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. Psalm 27:4 MSG
What encouragement and advice would YOU add?