If you're reading this (and I hope you read part 1 first), it's probably because you're a homeschooling mom who is COMPLETELY burned out. You can no longer see the purpose in why you are doing this. You can no longer see the value in working SO hard, when other people don't- and they're kids turn out ok... right? I mean, YOU probably weren't homeschooled, and you turned out just awesome! So WHY do something that's just so stinking hard that leaves you questioning your sanity and constantly fretting over your child's future and your relationship with your child?
So, let's gain some perspective first before you call it quits completely and have the kids waiting on the bus on Monday.
In our first step toward evaluating our homeschool atmosphere and seeking to delight in our daily journey (rather than preferring to chew nails), we need to have some introspection and reflection. If you have the ability, I highly recommend taking a weekend away from home to explore your heart behind this topic (and maybe pee all by yourself, too, because we all need some solitary potty time every so often). In light of how impactful this decision is for your whole family, this is NOT a crazy idea. Get creative and if it's even vaguely possible, make it happen. It's that big of a deal.
So, let's get to it:
Before you begin, I've created a detailed, FREE, 18 Page workbook that will make walking through this process much more transformative! I promise. Enter your email below to subscribe and download it ASAP. Seriously. You need the workbook.
Question 1- Why did you begin homeschooling in the first place? AND Have you cultivated a vision for educating your children at home? <---- Don't take that lightly. Let's hash it out.
Get on your knees and seek God, asking him to refresh your weary mind and bone-dry heart as to WHY He asked you to this monumental, overwhelming, tedious task in the first place. Write it down. (Get the workbook!)
Do you have a homeschool vision or goal for your family?
Where there is no vision, the people perish... Proverbs 29:18 (partial)
If you don't, let's take the time now to consider what YOUR goals (and your husband's, of course) are for your children. Not what society's or common core's or your nosy neighbor's goals are, but your own vision for what you hope your children will reap from their education and from their childhood.
Here are a few brainstorming questions to get you started if this is a new exercise for you (again, these are in the workbook):
- Use 3 words to describe characteristics that you hope your children will cultivate in their home education.
- What is your definition of having successfully homeschooled your children, big picture? A certain knowledge set? Specific test scores or college admission? A certain attitude or outlook? A love of the Lord? There are no wrong answers. Remember to look at your children as whole persons, not just a depository for knowledge.
- What does a successful homeschool day look like to you? Be realistic... Based on your season, your kids, you learning styles, your family obligations, etc.
- Is there a particular scripture or quote that motivates you in home education? Is there a quote that summarizes your heart and hope for your children? (There's a pretty printable in the Resource Library for you if you need some inspiration or check out this link.)
- What does failure look like to you? In what ways have you been "failing"?
- Now, go back to the "failure" question and pretend your best friend told you all these same ways she has been failing lately... What would you tell her? Would it be true? Then, isn't it also true for you?
Ruminate. Study. Pray and pray more. Read God's word and I highly recommend reading (or rereading) Sarah MacKenzie's Homeschooling From Rest.
Write down all of your answers to these questions and everything else that the Holy Spirit reveals to you during this time. KEEP THIS. This is your Homeschool Journal. This, alongside friends and scripture, can be a huge encouragement when another trying season comes around (and it will, I promise- ask me how I know).
You can go one step further and take that scripture, your words for your vision- the words that will shape your days- and blow it up, frame it, make it pretty, own it- this is your lifeline. Have it printed and frame it. Get creative and have fun with it!
This is your vision for TRUTH when lies of ineptitude, inefficiency, confusion, and failure come knocking at your door. Because they will.
Now that you have sufficiently remembered what your purpose was in choosing to homeschool in the first place (or possibly you're naming this vision for the first time), next in this series we will discuss how inappropriate expectations can destroy our motivation to homeschool and cause fractures in our relationships.
Keep praying, keep looking for encouragement, and press on, sweet friend. (And keep reading with Part 3 here).
In the meantime, enjoy hanging these printables in a place you will see them and be reminded of WHO has called you to this great work and who can walk you right through it.