Being a homeschool mom is not easy. And you know – honestly – I never saw myself being here. I didn’t have anything against homeschooling. It’s incredibly rewarding, even with some of its challenges. It’s just something that I didn’t think I would be doing. After all, my eldest son is 18 and graduating this year. And what do you know, God blessed my husband and I a few years ago and I now have a 4 and an almost 3 year old.
My journey so far definitely looks different from how I thought it would. Not knowing what to expect, I decided to look to the people who I know and also explore online to see what others were doing.
When I started my homeschooling with my youngest sons, I quickly realized that I had to shelf my perfectionist tendencies, roll up my sleeves and be flexible. After all, we weren’t in a classroom with 25 other students. It was the two of them and me. The classroom design (or lack thereof) was mine. Curriculum choices were mine. I had to embrace that our school model didn’t have to resemble anyone else’s. It was ours to create and enjoy. As I started walking out this journey, I realized that there are four other things a homeschool mom must embrace:
1. Embrace Change.
Change is an inevitable part of homeschool life….and sometime change is hard. I’m not implying your house will be trashed from top to bottom all the time. Some days, it may feel like that if you have kids working on science projects, reading assignments, writing practice and have toddlers practicing counting and sorting with trucks, blocks or Lego’s (like I do.) But just know that homeschooling will change you.
It will stretch you in areas that you didn’t know needed stretching (but God did.) Need more patience? Need to operate in grace? Homeschooling will help you work on those things and so much more. You will have to decipher when to wear the mom hat and when to wear the teacher hat. You will learn what battles to fight and when to just take something in stride. Although just about everything can be a teachable moment, it doesn’t have to be. Growth will come from the changes. Embrace them friend.
2. Embrace Your Children.
Embrace your children. When you start homeschooling your children, there will be a time during your day that the line will need to be drawn as teacher and mom. For some children, a bit more structure may be necessary in order to help them focus on the lessons they are working on that day. Even with the additional structure that may be needed, ensure that your children know that are mom first. School is no easy task. But when mom is the teacher, it’s very possible that your children may feel an added pressure because they don’t want to disappoint you.
They may be reluctant to express themselves if they are struggling with math problems or don’t understand a science question. This could possibly manifest itself in a host of different ways. But one way to help assure your children that you 1) understand it’s not always easy and that 2) are always there for them is to embrace them. Sometimes that hug, encouraging word or smile is just what your child needs. Trust me on this one. They will thank you for it time and time again.
3. Embrace Community.
The homeschool community has been an amazing blessing to me…in so many different ways. When I started homeschooling, I was excited but also a bit overwhelmed. My eldest son went to public school so my experience with “how” to begin was very limited. My cousin, a veteran homeschooler, gave me some tips and told me some things to do. But she lives out-of-state so I couldn’t call her all the time. I wasn’t sure who I could talk to in my area. Well, to my surprise, the first homeschool community that I was a part of it was online. It is a group called Homeschool Scopes on Facebook. These moms utilized Periscope to talk and share about all things homeschooling.
What an incredible support and encouragement they have been to me over the past year. I have learned SO much about homeschooling styles from them. I’ve also connected with some fantastic groups in my area. Homeschoolers are an incredible community. While no two families educate their children the same way, you can be sure to know that homeschoolers understand other homeschoolers. They understand the challenge and are genuine in their support and offer of authentic community. I’ve seen so many examples of different homeschool co-ops working together to help families who may be walking through a difficult season or maybe just need some extra help juggling their schedule. It’s an incredible blessing to know that you don’t have to do it alone. Community is one of the best parts of the homeschooling journey.
4. Embrace Christ.
Embracing Christ is the most important thing that you can do. There will be days when you feel inadequate and ill-equipped about teaching your children. Frustration and exhaustion may creep in and set up shop. Your children may not be cooperating. And you will feel like giving up. Exhale and invite Jesus to meet you right where you are. That’s right. Stop what you are doing and pray. It is in our discouragement that we will find our confidence in Him. In desperate times of weariness or exhaustion, He will gently remind you that you can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).
Take some time to set your heart and mind upon Him. It’s in these times that as we cast our cares upon our Heavenly Father, He will renew us. He will strengthen you and equip you.
Embrace the journey friend.
With a cold latte in hand and my latest read under my arm, I'm usually seen running around chasing little people. In my spare time, you will catch me spending time with family and friends, at live music festivals and on the hunt for a new favorite dessert.
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