It’s that time of year again. Summer is drawing to a close, and for many homeschoolers this marks the start of a brand-new school year. Some of you are just venturing forth into the world of homeschooling for the first time. You may be excited or scared—or fluctuate between the two with startling rapidity. Some of you already have a few years under your belts. You may feel like you’ve got your homeschool waters charted and you’re prepared for smooth sailing. Others of you may already be gritting your teeth, counting the days till the year is over.
That’s a pretty broad spectrum, with many varied points between. But no matter where you find yourself, don’t forget to remember (often) the five things I’ll share in a moment. I say “don’t forget to remember” because sometimes, when the rubber meets the road, I do just that—I forget to remember. I forget to think on the truth I know. Sad, but true.
Don’t forget that the 24/7 homeschooling life is a blessing:
The world may look at us like we’ve lost our minds when they realize that we are home with our kids all the time. Having our kids with us 24/7 can seem noisy, full, busy, messy and constant! Sometimes we can get so busy and bogged down that we forget that the “all-the-timeness” of homeschooling is, in itself, indeed a blessing.
I know homeschooling is a big job. It can be a tough job. But through homeschooling, we are given the blessing of lots and lots of time with the children God has placed in our homes. Time to build relationships. Time to form and shore up foundations to last a lifetime. Time to enjoy our children. Time to pray with and for our children. Time to play with our children. Time to train our children. Time to teach our children.
As homeschoolers, we don’t have to deal with all the busywork and time-consuming crowd-control that the public school does. The teacher-pupil ratio is usually far better, even in large families, than it is in most schools, which can facilitate faster and better learning. Our schooling can take place anytime—day, evening, weekends, and vacations. We can work toward mastery for our own children without having to wait till a whole classroom of students get it (or don’t). We can maintain skills through summer vacation and other off times so that less time needs to be spent in review. All of these factors, and more, give us ample time to complete our educational course by the usual graduation time and frequently before.
Time is such a precious commodity—once it’s gone, it can never be retrieved. But time well spent is an investment with huge returns! Being a homeschooling family 24/7 is a wonderful investment and a huge blessing!
Don’t forget that your homeschool is your homeschool:
It’s okay for homeschools to be like fingerprints—unique. There is not another family on the face of this planet that is exactly like your family. Certainly there are things we all must do, but your homeschool doesn’t have to be exactly like anyone else’s!
Go ahead and look at other families—not to compare, but to get helpful ideas. Learn how they homeschool; organize their time, home, or family; raise children; and live life. Incorporate things that line up with the Bible, make sense, and work for you. But don’t feel like a failure if something doesn’t fit. And don’t try to force something that God doesn’t intend for your family!
Maintain a close relationship with God, read His Word, and follow His leadership, and you will see amazing things happen in your life and in your homeschool. That will likely mean that your family will be different from other families—and that’s okay. It’s your family and your homeschool!
Don’t forget that you can personalize your child’s education:
Homeschooling gives abundant opportunities to do what works and leave behind the things that don’t. You can tailor your homeschooling to whatever degree you prefer. You can even let your child’s interests determine at least some areas of study. Many types of curriculum can be easily adapted to suit any learning style, so you can go with your child’s prominent learning style and add in other styles here and there to build new strengths. Or you can use curriculum straight out of the box.
God has a plan for each child, and homeschooling is the best way to personalize your child’s education to prepare him to fulfil that plan!
Don’t forget that God is highly interested in growing character—your children’s and your own:
As people, we’re frequently engrossed in getting or accomplishing something. We want to arrive at the finish line—today, or sooner if possible. But God is much more interested in the process, because it is in the nitty-gritty of life’s difficulties that we are more likely to develop godly character. I think that’s why some things take so much time for us to achieve or acquire. And while life can be simple, it is almost never easy.
It is important to take your relationship with Christ, your marriage, your parenting, and your job as homeschool mom very seriously. But don’t be surprised or afraid when challenges come. I know, that is far easier said than done! But if we let them, challenges can grow character, strength, diligence, and faith in our lives. Those are all good things that will have wonderful fruit.
Don’t forget that things don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly fine:
It is easy for us to think we know best what would be “perfect” for us. We imagine that if we just had a different house, or if our husband could get a new job, or if we had that other curriculum, or if we had some spare time, things would be fine.
However, according to Jeremiah 17:9, our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” So when we follow our hearts, hoping to achieve our perfect life, we still don’t arrive at perfection!
On the other hand, when we focus on the Lord and faithfully obey Him, He is free to work in and on our lives, and He will lead us where we need to go. As Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
We can trust God implicitly. He knows what we need, and He knows exactly how to fully satisfy our souls. He is more than capable of achieving His perfect will in our lives—and believe me, whatever His plan is, it is good!
Life isn’t perfect. No marriage or spouse is perfect. No parent or child is perfect. No homeschool or curriculum is perfect. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t be perfectly fine! Through the grace, mercy, strength, and direction of the Lord, we can rest assured that everything is under His complete, loving, powerful control. The sooner we get that straight in our minds, the happier and more peaceful we’ll be—and that is always perfectly fine!
Well, it’s about time to close. May God grant that you head into this new school year well aware of the blessings that are yours as a Christian homeschooling mom. And don’t forget to remember these five little thoughts!
Kari Lewis is the "mom" here at Home School Enrichment. She and Frank have been married since 1977 and homeschooled their two sons, Matthew and Jonathan, from their early elementary years through their high school graduations. Together, the four of them started Home School Enrichment Magazine in late 2002. More recently, she's been enjoying her new role of mother-in-law and grandma! You can reach her at kari@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.