Monday, August 25, 2014

6 encouragements for homeschool moms this year

I'm not feeling ready for this to be happening again, but it's here:


This is my first year to homeschool four children. Ava did preschool bits last year, but I didn't worry much about it. This year, kindergarten is in full swing:


It feels like we were just doing this, and we took a couple of weeks off...well, except for this part:


I now have a curious, active toddler roaming about. ;)


The kids are doing awesome with it. I'm so thankful for their willingness to work, and their desire to learn! They were up early today and couldn't wait to get started. :D I just love them.

But for me... alternating between feeding, diaper changes, snacks, reading, printing out sheets, answering questions, teaching phonics, correcting errors... this homeschooling business is no joke. It reminds me of waiting tables in college, only these customers tend to act like small children, and I'm already in the weeds. ;)

I may or may not have cried last night.

Homeschooling pushes me to places I don't want to go. I'm not naturally a teacher, but I already love my kiddos, so I have that going for me. ;) Thankfully when I was overwhelmed last night, I feel like the Holy Spirit was encouraging me with few things that really helped me get a better perspective.

I needed to realize that:

1. This season is actually VERY short!
I already have kids in 5th, 4th, 2nd, and kindergarten. This is happening fast. After this year, I'll have already taken 4 children through learning how to read. I'll be 80% done! ;) It's going to fly by. Really.

2. This is my choice.
I don't have to do this, I want to do this. But sometimes I forget that. :) No one is holding me hostage to homeschooling. I want these kiddos to be here learning! :)

3. Homeschooling will be hard at times.
Childbirth may be hard, but teaching kids how to read is tougher if you ask me! But then, I realize if I take a step back and remember, potty training was hard, teaching them to sit still is hard, teaching them not to hurt each other is hard... pretty much all parenting is hard at different times.

But it's worth the effort, isn't it? Realizing childbirth will hurt helps me prepare for the pain. And teaching children will be a difficult task sometimes too, just like running a race, or passing a test.  It helps to be prepared for things to be less than easy. :)

4. Their attitudes about homeschooling will reflect mine.
I know this is true in other areas for sure, so I know it will be true of homeschooling too. I want to enjoy this season, and I want them to feel the same way. :) I want us to have a GREAT attitude about it this year! :)

5. In order for me to focus on it, do a good job, and enjoy it, I have to eliminate distractions.
Everything else needs to take a backseat in the mornings and afternoons. Dirty dishes, blogging, laundry, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, Instagram, learning choreography for teaching classes in the afternoon - these things beg for my attention all day long.

I have to re-prioritize what I want to do in order to do homeschooling well. If I'm busy, I do not enjoy interruptions. If I'm not busy, homeschooling isn't nearly as painful. :) And, when I don't have outside responsibilities looming over my head, I feel capable of doing more with my family and enjoying it.

6. My first priority is to teach them about Jesus.
Reading, writing, math, science, history, spelling- these are all well and good, and things they need to know, but my highest priority over all other education is to teach them about the Lord- to teach them His ways through His Word. I want them more than anything to love Him and obey Him, and to love others. This is the stuff that will matter on that final day when they stand before Him. This is my first and most important job.

If I filter this homeschooling thing through the lens of eternity, I start to see why I'm doing this, as well as what I need to do first, you know?

Some days I will feel like a crazy person because this is hard, but I know that I can do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. I need Him desperately, and I am so thankful for sweet friends who pray for you when you're feeling defeated before you've even started {like this morning!}.

This homeschooling deal won't be happening in my strength- that's for sure.  Psalm 73:26 is more than true of me: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." I know His power is made perfect in my weakness. Just like last year, I'm going to be clinging to Him with all my might. :D

This article about investing in your kids was the perfect encouragement from the Lord for me just now- you have to read it!! :D Oh man, I love the Holy Spirit! He is the Comforter. What an encouraging charge Jennifer gives us. It's such a good reminder of our purpose:
Yes, there are many educational feats to accomplish this year in the classroom and many athletic obstacles to overcome in the game but the most important thing they can learn this year is that Jesus loves them, he died for them and that he has made salvation available to them. They need to hear this from the adults in charge of them. That’s you! 
Go into all the classrooms and gyms and halls and preach the gospel. 


What encourages you as a mom this school year {homeschooling or not! :) all kinds of school are hard!}? 

Have you ever struggled with feeling defeated and overwhelmed before you started?
I really think attacks like that are from the enemy. Sometimes I feel and take his accusations as truth, forgetting that he is the great deceiver who wants to devour me, and any joy I have in Christ.

22 comments:

Jessica said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! We started our school year today and I was feeling the same way! Your post was such a blessing to me! May God bless your school year!

Marcy said...

Thank you so much for always capturing the words of my heart and sending me encouragement through cyberspace on exactly the days I need it. Praying for you and your littles as you begin the new school year!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! We are in our 3 rd week of homeschooling and I began feeling overwhelmed and defeated before we even started.

survivingtoddlerhood.com said...

I love all of these points! I just have one preschooler right now, we aren't starting school for a couple more weeks though, and I already feel overwhelmed with it sometimes.
I so love reading your encouraging posts! Sharing this with others so they can be encouraged as I have. :)

Janelle@The Peaceful Haven said...

What an absolutely LOVELY post! Thank you for sharing...I am at the other end of Homeschooling. Four finished and only two in school this year. Time goes by so quickly!

Jen Graber said...

I can assure you as a survivor of the pre-school and homeschool days, that it is only a brief season. Soon your kids will be much more independent in their studies. As mine reached 5th grade, I enrolled them in an free online public school which kept them home with me and still took some of the load for schooling off my shoulders. It's been a great compromise. Hang in there, little mama! What you are doing is kingdom stuff.

Anonymous said...

This was so encouraging to read! May the peace of God be with you and your family!

Anonymous said...

You are right! It does go so fast! Here I sit this year for the first time with no child left at home to teach!!! I taught four and in the thick of it used to cry myself but what I wouldn't give for those days again!!! It's gone in the blink of an eye!!!

Stacey Rives said...

Yes!! Always remember the why of it. Also, if your budget has wiggle room, don't be afraid to hire outside cleaning help. I am sure you could find an older homeschooler in search of a way to make some money. Win Win

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you talked about investing in our children with the Word of God but I wished you had mentioned how you go about doing that.

AnnieD said...

I have been there.
It is WORTH IT!!!

Anonymous said...

This was encouraging to me. I have not yet started homeschooling as my first is only turning 3 in October, but the idea of it is so overwhelming to me even though I know it's what I want to do. I love hearing people being open and honest about their struggles instead of just posting their "highlight reel". It lets myself and others know they are not alone :-)

Margaret said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post. :-) I just started homeschooling my 5yo daughter in kindergarten, and I have a 2yo and a 2mo baby. Even with just one kindergartener, I already see what you mean about minimizing distractions! My laundry, dishes, and housework can wait, in order to make sure she gets a good education each day. I work in the evenings, so I'm tempted to use my day for house management and fit in homeschooling where I can, but it needs to be the other way around. As someone who was homeschooled 4th-12th grade, I never thought about it from my mom's point of view. :-) Now I'm seeing how much juggling it takes! Thanks for the great reminder about why I do this... to help my daughter know and love God. :-)

Jody Dake said...

I am another who is on "the other side," with my last graduating in 2013 from our "Dake Homeschool Academy." I still glance through our McKay's Used Book Store's homeschool section every.single.time we are there :).

Yes, it is a season, yes, it will go fast, yes, it is, hard, and yes, it is so very worth every single effort, smile, tear, struggle, you will deal with.

Matthew 16:26a says, "For what will a man be profited if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his own soul?" This is and was our goal as homeschooling mothers.

Be blessed this day, and take your rests in Him, He will guide you and give you the rest you need.

Always Experiencing Him,
Jody

y mizzi said...

Hey Mandy!

Just finished reading your WHOLE blog! that's crazy!

Good luck with homeschooling this year :)

Yana (from Malta, Europe)

Jesenia said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. This year I feel a bit overwhelmed trying to juggle homeschooling, house work and work with a very active baby in the mix. It's so overwhelming and all I can do is ask God to give me the strength to get through each day. Blessings to you and your family.

Ashley said...

Oh, I needed to read this today! I just started homeschooling my son this week and it is an entirely new world. I know that I will struggle with no. 4. :) Thanks for the encouragement. It's good to know we are not all alone in this adventure. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with all of the above. I'm on week 3 of our 4th homeschool year and already struggling with some of these areas. Great reminders! What curriculum do you use with all your kiddos?

JoyBelle said...

We are wrapping up week 4 of homeschool and cannot believe how fast August has flown by. Seriously I could cry for that alone! I also run my own business so instead of a long summer break, we take a long winter break (all of November AND December) so I can put my focus on making much-needed income during my busiest time of the year (the holidays).

I also do as you do: all distractions HAVE to take a backseat during school time or I get beyond stressed, impatient. When we focus on getting school done then we get it done timely and then I can move on to my work, cleaning, cooking, etc. Sometimes we'll do some subjects later on or when the baby is napping, too.

We're using Ambleside this year (first time using it, third year of homeschooling though) and we get our work done within 2 hours most days because of how the work is spread out. It's been a huge blessing!!!

Jenn said...

I would love to hear some of your (or anyone else) strategies on how to keep a younger sibling entertained while homeschooling a kindergartener. Thanks!

Michelle said...

We took off the whole month of August and I am exited to be officially homeschooling a K and 2nd. My 2.5 year old will be toddling along behind us I am sure but I am excited to jump in again.

Marlene said...

Are you using BJU Distance Learning again this year? How are you liking it? Is it very Mom-hands-on or are the kiddos able to do most of their work independently? :o)

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