I have found that there are three stages in every work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done. J. Hudson Taylor
Dear First Time Homeschool Mom,
For the last 28 years I sat where you are today. I remember.
This is scary stuff, and it definitely isn’t as easy as it looks.
I am cheering for you from the sidelines; and since I remember how it feels, there are a few things I want to say to you.
Whether this is your first year, or you are an experienced homescool mom feeling a little weary, this is the best decision you and your husband will ever have made for your family. Really it is.
- It is normal to feel overwhelmed.
There are giants in the land. It seems there are always giants in the land that God sets before His people. Israel’s giants were literal. Yours are figurative, but nevertheless they are real, and they can be scary.
My very first year, in the very first weeks of homeschooling, 28 long years ago, I was overwhelmed. I locked myself in my room and told the Lord that I refused to go downstairs and face those kids. (Ok… I was feeling dramatic, but they were a tough crowd.) I needed help. I needed encouragement. I needed Him to give me something that would make me able to do this even one more minute, let alone one more day. He answered and gave me an answer that sustained me to school 7 kids over the next 27 years. I can share my answer sometime if you are interested, but honestly it doesn’t matter. The point is that the same God who answered and sustained me will answer and sustain you. He has the help that you need. Ask Him. He is always faithful.
- Your children will learn.
This is an important to say, because I promise you it will often seem as if they aren’t, don’t, can’t and won’t. When they were in school you didn’t see the blank stares, the inattention, the dawdling, the rushing to fill out the paperwork just so they could play on the computer or go out for recess. All those habits are common to children, and yours may bring any or all of them to your homeschool. Nevertheless, they will learn. You are enough. The same woman who didn’t flinch at teaching her kids to tie their shoes, or eat like a human, can teach them to multiply. God calls, and God equips.
Little progress added up over a year equals great achievement.
Don’t measure your progress by days. Some days the kids are impossible and thick headed. Some days they are distracted and whiny. Some days they are wonderful, attentive, and evidently learning. All the days matter. They are all good. Some days they are learning fractions, other days they are learning persistence. Both are needful. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Plod on. They will learn.
- You are weaving a tapestry, not sewing a simple seam.
I’ve heard it expressed as a marathon, not a sprint. Whichever metaphor works for you, the point is the same. Homeschooling is a great work, and you can’t see the finished product from the meager beginning. Stitch by stitch, lesson by lesson, day by day you are infusing character, and doing life with your precious children. Remember the goal. Cherish the opportunity. I promise that even 28 years goes by really fast.
- Don’t obsess.
Remember the enemy. He will make you think your mistakes are huge, your accomplishments insignificant, and declare that you are not enough. Resist Him. Focus on the One who called you to this great work and who is always enough. He will make your paths straight. He loves your children even more than you do. He knows your weaknesses and your strengths. The God of the universe will help you explain even decimals. (I mention decimals because my first year homeschooling, that was the new concept I was responsible to communicate to my then 4th grader. She proceeded to miss every decimal question that year on her standardized test. It was an epic fail for me that taught us both persistence and eventually how to win. Failure is temporary…. quitting is permanent)
He will help you teach them to read. He wants them to read His Word.
He is behind you, before you and all around you and is not limited by your limits.
- Have Fun.
Families are fun places. Homeschooling is learning done in a family. Take time to make it fun for your kids (and you). Take breaks, laugh, play, do things in a new or different way. Win their hearts, and you win them forever.
Be encouraged brave lady as you continue on this journey with your family. God has your back. He called. He will enable. Don’t listen to your fears, your insecurities, or the kids whining. Listen instead to His voice and believe that the work you do this day, this week, this month, and this year will impact generations to come; because you were faithful.
Praying God’s blessings on your homeschool this year. Let me know if I can be of help to you.