I do not know about you, but I find homeschooling hard. I love homeschooling. I truly do. I love that I can have my children with me and educate them at home. I love that I can tailor their schooling to their learning style, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses. I love that we can do so many neat things, and be free to explore the world of knowledge. But more often than not I find myself wondering why I am doing all of this? It seems sometimes that you wear yourself out planning, studying and carving this wonderful plan for your kids, and then feel as if it is not going anywhere. Your kids want to do what they want to do, they are not interested in your nice laid out plans, and school becomes a drudgery. Sometimes they are interested, but it seems such a struggle for them to keep up.
What do you do then? Do you feel like a failure? Do you wonder if they would be better in school? Do you doubt your abilities as a parent/teacher? I know I do.
However, as much as these thoughts enter my mind, I also remember that I have chosen the better part. Somehow I can never think of giving up as a serious alternative. Why? You may ask. Here are three reasons.
My kids were given to me as a responsibility.
They are MY kids, entrusted to me by my God. I could very well send them to school, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I sincerely believe that the Lord impressed on my heart to educate them at home. When the times are rough, I remind myself of my calling. I am not doing this for myself or even for my kids’ sake, I am doing this for my Lord who called me to this task of homeschooling. When you think in those terms it does put everything into perspective and sends you right back where you should be, on your knees, because it is only with his help that we can fulfill the task.
The world is a scary place.
Everyday I am reminded of what happens out there in the world and ask myself, “Do I really want my kids to be in that toxic environment?” Why in the world would I want that? No good reason never comes to mind.
Teaching them at home gives me the opportunity to shape their mind and worldview in a way that no one else can.
They are my kids, I gave birth to them. I love them and I know them. These are prerequisites that makes the task a bit easier, even though it seems harder. Your kids love you and trust you. You have their best interest at hand and because of that, you can tell yourself that you are doing your best with the abilities and resources the Lord provides. Most of all, you are teaching them from a biblical point of view and to see life from God’s perspective, not people’s, and that in itself is a blessing that can not be minimized or relegated.
Now that you know why you are not giving up, what do you do when you feel inadequate? Well here are a few tips:
Be willing to adjust and adapt. I have found that one reason why we get discouraged in homeschooling is because things don’t go as planned. If the plan is not working, sometimes it means that the plan needs changing or tweaking. We must be willing to adapt all the times.
Another very important tip is to be in constant prayer for our kids and for our homeschool. I know I fail big time at that one and that is why I am often in that position of feeling I can’t do this anymore.
Make sure you ask and listen to your kids. Sometimes kids have great insights as to what is going on in the home. If you feel like giving up may be there is something going on that you are not even aware of: overwhelmed, stressed, too demanding, tired, scattered you name it. Sometimes our kids can help us identify those. Remember this whole homeschooling thing is a growing experience for both you and your kids.
Lastly, connect with other homeschoolers. It can be one, it can be many. Every time I talk to another homeschool mom I feel encouraged and rejuvenated. Resist the temptation to compare, but do share struggles and failures. You will be surprised at how much you share in common and of the fact that you are not alone in your struggles and feelings.
I am sure I am not the only one who has these feelings of giving up every so often poking into our heads, so I hope I have encouraged you today with these insights on how I deal with my own struggle.
Joelle is a homeschooling mom of two energetic and funny boys. Originally from the French island of Martinique and married to a Filipino, they now are pastoring a church in Toronto. Joelle is a lover and student of theology. She also loves teaching, singing, playing games, laughing and baking. You can follow her homeschooling adventures, recipes and reviews @ Homeschooling for His Glory.