Anyone who has ever homeschooled for more than a day knows it, and anyone who has only a few semesters under her belt can testify: quitting can be a nagging desire in certain seasons. We can feel doubtful, overwhelmed, incompetent, and stretched to a breaking point. We can worry that we are ruining our children's futures or damaging our relationships.
This 5 part series is for those who are having more difficult days than they'd like and are considering throwing in the towel. Why 5 parts? Because it's that big of a deal.
How do I know? I've been there. I've quit.
And it was OK. It was actually EXACTLY what I was supposed to do at the time. So I'm qualified to chat with you about this- God made sure of that.
But hear this first: if your deep, rich prayer life (over time, not on a whim) and the Holy Spirit are pointing your family in the direction of sending your children to school- you won't be hearing criticism from me. Mmmkay?
The important idea behind this whole series is that sometimes it's NOT the Holy Spirit that's calling us to send our children outside the home for school. Actually, I'll be brave and assert that the vast majority of the time, the desire to quit is *not* a prompting from the Holy Spirit.
This is not about being "anti-school" or believing that homeschool is the right solution for every child.
This is about the Mom that has an image in her mind of what she ought to be doing... of all she ought to be accomplishing, of all she ought to be able to manage inside of each single day. This is about the extraordinary sounding things that her friends at co-op are saying they've been working on and how her Instagram account tells her everyone else is doing way more fun/interesting/exciting/artsy/sensoryish stuff than she can seem to get around to. This is about that Youtube video of the 2 year old who can name every president in order and her friend's 4 year old who can chant John 10 in Latin. This is about that article someone shared in her newsfeed that made her question if she's really capable of preparing her child academically for a college career.
This is about COMPARISON and DOUBT. It's about taking each wonderful snapshot of what all the other moms do WELL and stacking those into a checklist and then holding ourselves accountable for doing perfectly that THEY are all best at. This is about not taking into account our OWN unique resources, family, experiences, time restraints, desires, and giftings, but instead living under the overwhelming burden of comparison.
This is about taking your child- this whole person created in the image of God- and making a checklist for them too (and mama, we all do it, consciously or unconsciously). Maybe it's the checklist provided with your curriculum, or maybe you've been perusing the common core standards for your child's grade, or maybe you're taking the unique abilities of each child in the co-op and compiling them together and saying "this is what my child ought to be doing- I'm clearly failing her" (insert silent screams and panic attack and googling.)
HEED MY WORDS OF WISDOM. THEY ARE PROFOUND.
STOP IT. STOP. IT. S.T.O.P. I.T. Now. Right now
Those of us who are idealists (and this is a disproportionate majority in the homeschool community!) feel in our hearts, from the very beginning of our introduction to homeschool, that "this is the life for me!" We have images of our children quietly gathered around our farmhouse table, pouring over their newest handiwork whilst listening to us gleefully read aloud as the baby entertains himself on the floor and the toddler silently and happily colors the alphabet pages in his highchair (while essential oils diffuse around us in a thick fog, of course). Or maybe your image was you and your only child, curled up on the couch, while you gently taught him how to read (which clearly would have included him quickly and joyfully learning this skill with little frustration or fretting, right?)
Or maybe you walked into homeschool with some apprehension. Maybe you were trying to obey a calling God put on your heart, but you're more than aware of all of the potential challenges, and you fear all that could "go wrong". You've walked into your homeschool journey with a whole list of "what-ifs" and qualifications to be met asap if you are to continue on this scary, woefully uncharted path.
Whatever your original intention and outlook, after a really bad day or a series of REALLY bad days, it becomes increasingly easy for us to consider throwing in the towel and saying we just weren't cut out to be a homeschool mom. Condemnation, doubt, and every imaginable fear crawl into the forefront of our minds.
Clearly there's something about your temperament or education or personality that means you are not capable of doing "this" successfully.... right?
Maybe your child has learning disabilities and every lesson is a frustration or maybe you feel like no day is every panning out the way you planned. Maybe you've just welcomed a new baby and can't seem to "get back to it" the way you envisioned.
We all have those seasons- where we feel disorganized, disappointed, disqualified, and dismayed.
Know first that if you are having a day or week or month that you feel like this, you aren't alone. Most of us hit one of these seasons, which vary in severity and duration, yearly and sometimes more often.
If any of this sounds like you, there's hope, I promise.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phillipians 1:6
He's not done with you or your children. Our Father is famous for calling the unqualified so that through the process of our child's education, WE can be refined and molded into the likeness of Christ, and ultimately, HIS GRACE and goodness can be glorified.
There are few things more sanctifying than homeschool. It's where we come face to face with our biggest fears, potential failures, and our ugliest sins: typically boldly on display in the little people we spend 24 hours a day with.
Homeschool is not for the faint of heart but if you've been called to it, stick it out (at least long enough to walk through this series with me!). It's hard, holy ground that will produce more joy and fruit into your life than you can imagine... Which is insanely hard to see when you want to run away, screaming from your family (ask me how I know).
So let's take a beat and walk through this series together. I hope you'll journey with me and reflect on vision, expectations, and practical ways to breath fresh life and abounding grace back into your home.