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If you saw that title and clicked to read, it’s likely that one of two things brought you here: You thought, “What in the world? This girl thinks she’s got it all figured out. I have to see who this chick thinks she is.” OR, you thought, “Sheeesh, I’m struggling. I need a dose of whatever she’s got going on.”
Those are extremes, obviously, but for most homeschool mamas, we tend to vacillate between these throughout days and seasons. We either think we have "it" finally figured out (only to have “it” blow up in our face the next day) OR we think we are never going to get “it” figured out, and our kids would probably be better off spending their days in school.
Since long days, learning challenges, chaotic toddlers, willful attitudes, and mismatched learning and teaching styles can leave any of us questioning our sanity (and looking for a better way), I thought I’d share how I have “it” together (FINALLY!) and how you can too! It turns out you CAN have an amazing homeschool experience and choose the perfect curriculum.
How? There are really 2 incredibly important steps in coming to a place where you truly walk in confidence in homeschooling.
1- Realize you will never have "it" together. I don't mean for that to sound discouraging at all. It's actually a really beautiful, powerful, and freeing thing. Having "it" together is ultimately the choice to homeschool from a place of humility and an awareness of where this vision of "it" is coming from in the first place.
What is "it" and where does it come from? The answer for this will be different for us all, but for me, "it" was a collection of feelings, perceptions, and observations I'd made about what the "ideal" homeschool day would feel and look like.
When I really take the time to step back and ask myself, "What am I aiming for?", it became clear to me that the vision I was searching for was a collection of images compiled from good MOMENTS that appeared in my Instagram or Facebook feed, in the homes of others. I realized that I'd taken beautiful notions from Charlotte Mason, the homeschool mom at the co-op with 10 kids who seems to be so overflowing with calm grace, the images constructed by Pinterest and bloggers I admire, and I'd placed that burden on myself and my children.
When I stripped away this conglomeration of expectations and talked to REAL moms about their REAL days, "it" shifted considerably. How often did their kid meltdown? Did they feel like any of their kids were "behind"? How often do they get around to the "riches"? Do errands and appointments distract from their school days? Do they feel like they have it figured out? GUESS WHAT? Even the most AMAZING, Godly, peace-filled, organized, intelligent homeschool moms I know struggle with every single one of these and more!
I realized we ALL have really high, idealistic expectations. I realized that we ALL have really precious, beautiful MOMENTS that are meaningful, photo-worthy, and cherishable BUT that we have many more that just... aren't. I realized that having "it" together never happens because "it" is ALWAYS moving. Life circumstances, health crises, learning styles/challenges, new babies, new opportunities, new developments, financial circumstances... something is always moving the "marker".
The GREATEST peace that has ever come into my homeschool is the realization that no two days will ever be the same, that I can't hit a moving target, and that keeping us in the general vicinity of "it" is as good as it's going to get. We do have idyllic, beautiful days- once in a blue moon. But more often, we have idyllic, beautiful moments amongst all the mess, fuss, disorder, chaos, struggles, and imperfection.
Having "it" together means acceptance of my human limitations and having a heart-shift to LOVE all the mess that surrounds those moments, so that ultimately- it's all beautiful.
2- Recognize that the PERFECT homeschool curriculum will always be the one that God leads you to. If you stick around Life, Abundantly for long (or check out our podcast or THIS live video on Facebook), you'll hear me mention "Spirit-led homeschooling." Ultimately, what this means is that rather than worrying through, stressing out about, or constantly searching for a "better" program or curriculum, we pray. Most of us have had those moments in our homeschool journey where we were doing everything BUT praying about it. And what I (and most other veteran homeschool mamas) have found is that God has not called us to homeschooling then abandoned us.
Believe it or not, he is in this right alongside us. He created our children, gifted them to us, then called us to home education. He does not leave us all on our own with no direction or help. (John 14:26, John 16:13, John 14:16)
While I certainly have my own curriculum and a few other favorite companies that I've been led to, this does not mean these are what is right for your homeschool. God absolutely has a plan for your child's education that is ultimately all for His Glory. His plan takes into account things about your child's nature, mind, and personality that, even as mamas, we can be in the dark about. Above setting aside the expectation of finally "getting it together" is the profound freedom in letting GO of the huge burden of shouldering every single solitary detail of your child's education all by yourself.
God cares about YOU, and he cares about your CHILD- more than mere words can express. He sent a helper to us to walk us through, comfort us, advise us, and convict us in each calling he has placed on our lives.
When we stop worrying, fretting, and researching and just WAIT on the Lord, he shows up- every. single. time. Our job is to trust that He is good and faithful (John 15:7, 16), that he WILL answer us (1 John 5:14-15), and then wait upon his prompting in our hearts.
The place that His peace is found is the place the peace in your homeschool will be found.
When you combine this peace and guidance of the Holy Spirit with realistic expectations and outlooks, what you come up with is the ability to homeschool in complete freedom- from comparison, second-guessing, and feeling completely overwhelmed. We are all ultimately big sinners teaching our little sinners, all immersed in a big pile of opportunities for our mutual sanctification. When we understand that we have a helper, that we are not alone, and that we are not the "only one failing," it removes all burden and we can homeschool our children in the "perfect homeschool".