I am not giving up homeschooling, if that’s what you thought when you read the title. However, in a way I am trying to give up homeschooling. Taking SCHOOL out of our home. You know, when we started homeschooling about 5 years ago, I did what maybe most moms do when they begin homeschooling. I tried to ‘school’ at home. I bought books for every child I was going to teach, for each subject, and researched to make sure they were really the best books I could get for them. I read reviews, looked at what other moms used, and started homeSCHOOLing. Pretty soon, I became frustrated. Frustrated, because I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t keep up with all the teaching I felt I had to do, taking care of our baby, getting piles of laundry done, trying to keep the house tidy, and making sure the children weren’t falling behind in their studies. What if they weren’t up to speed with other children in school? My husband would tell me to relax, because children are always learning, no matter what. So he said. But how could I feel relaxed, if the weight of this homeschooling was all on my shoulders? What if I was holding them back from advancing in their studies? And so we can get confused and overwhelmed that quitting feels like the only option.
I am not at a place that I can say I have it all together. I think no mom will ever say that. But there is a difference between having a bad day – or a few 🙂 – and continually getting worn down under a heavy burden. I am still struggling to find the balance between what I would like to be the ‘perfect’ day and the reality of everyday. However, there are some things that help me gain some perspective in sorting this all out.
Ask yourself why you started homeschooling. What was your vision when you began? Did you have certain goals or dreams? Did you start homeschooling to see academic excellence in your children? For college or university entrances? Is it because you want to shelter them from the ‘evil’ world out there? Even though these may all be good and valid reasons, they will make us fail sometime. You as a mom have your limits in meeting these goals. You will come up short sometime.You as a mom cannot shelter your children to the fullest. You as a mom cannot make your children well-behaved. You as a mom do not have all the academic knowledge.
Is it fear of failing that you feel overwhelmed? We do not have to measure up to someone else’s standards. Your children are unique, you are the one who knows them best. There is no need to compare.
Is it from fear of losing control that you feel this way? Everything seems to get out of hand, and there is never a time you feel completely caught up and done with your work. Maybe you ( and at the same time I am speaking to myself) have to let go. Let ideas go. Let ideals go.
Is it pride that makes you feel overwhelmed? You want to be good at everything. At being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a friend, a (…) Are we worried others will look at our every move ready to condemn us when we fall or fail?
You see, we need to be taught ourselves. I have so often thought that the one who needs to learn the most, is me. In teaching, we are confronted with ourselves. We see the hypocrisy within. I tell my children to do things I don’t do myself. It’s still a learning process for me. . But there is hope.
When we start looking at the One Who called us to shepherd our children, our perspective changes. He has not asked you to raise children who excel in math, or who have the best grades in college or university. He has asked us as parents to teach our children His words diligently. ( Deuteronomy 6:7) Yes, they still need to be taught the skills they need in this temporal life, but it is secondary to the greatest duty we as parents have: Fearing God and keeping His commandments ( Eccl.12). We do not need the approval of others. We need to obey and fear Him.
I was reading this morning to our children from the book: ‘Grandpa’s Box’, by Starr Meade. It is a retelling of the Biblical story of redemption. I read this about Joshua when he met a Man he didn’t know: ” ‘Are you for us? he asked,’or for our enemies?’ ‘ I come’, the man answered,’ as the Captain of the Lord’s hosts.’ Then Joshua understood. He, Joshua, was not responsible for God’s army and for victories in these battles he faced. He was himself a soldier, following orders. God was the Commander. Joshua bowed down and worshiped.”
We are just following orders. All we have to do is be faithful. And to return to Him daily for strength in the battles we face.
I would like to share some links with you to articles by homeschool moms who have been at this much longer than I have been. They have much wisdom to share. Please read and may you be blessed by them!
Of course, you may still have questions about the practical side of our home educating. Let’s call it that instead, shall we? 😉 I hope to address that in another blog post.
Please read these excellent posts: