Last year I took the kids to drop off some paperwork for our landlord. It was a busy part of town and we had to navigate several crosswalks, and busy intersections on foot – all of this after parallel parking a SUV in traffic. As we had finished our errands and were making our way back across the final crosswalk I noticed a woman watching us. I was giving loud verbal cues to keep everyone in line and moving together. As the final foot stepped up onto the opposite side of the street the woman said to me, “All of this will be worth it. Trust me, it is going to be worth it.”
A stranger affirmed us… affirmed me. I think about her comments often as I am navigating grocery stores, parking lots, teaching them to ride without training wheels, hiking forests, dancing in creek beds, repeating math problems, flipping through flash cards, instructing proper cursive letter formation, measuring for baking, bathing and so much more. A woman I did not know affirmed choices she could not begin to imagine – speaking hope to a mom who some days feels like she is going to do this raising children thing all wrong. Let me sidestep for a moment and just say that if you know a new or young mother, a stay-at-home mom, or a homeschooling mother even if she looks like she has it all together – would you just find a way to affirm her hardwork. Just tell her she is a good mom. And often.
When we started this homeschooling journey I was confident only in God’s leading and love. I was confident in our family’s love for each other. I was confident that we are good parents. I know these things to be true. But I had no clue what this homeschooling thing was going to look like. More than a year later - homeschooling is rocking our family.
If you are considering homeschooling here are five ways it will likely rock your world:
1. Be prepared – your kids are going to talk to you. One of the best things about homeschooling is the face time I get with my children. I don’t have to find a way to fit them in to my day. I love that. Our time together has helped us to understand one another better, to explain our hearts and to learn to listen. I can easily see their learning styles, their personality types, and where they are growing or struggling spiritually. My introvert daughter – has the time and space she needs to be herself with me. I’m loving learning who they are because they talk to me all day long.
2. Be prepared – you will find more of your own weakness. While you are instructing your children be prepared to come face to face with your own weaknesses, sin tendencies, feelings of inadequacy and more. If you stink at something, homeschooling is going to shine that fault in neon lights. If you are easily angered, a rage maniac, clean freak, easily annoyed, perfectionist, slacker, lazy, or whatever be prepared to face that part of yourself every single day. And then give it to Jesus. He can change the rage into peace. He can change the need for perfection into relaxed and free. He can change the lazy into productive. You’ll have to learn how to give every single moment of every single day to Jesus or you will be miserable.
3. Be prepared – your kids might actually grow to like and love being together [and you will love their company]. [gasp] They might just like one another. There does not have to be competitive weird jealousy between siblings or with the whole wide world. They might enjoy playing together, teaching one another and creating projects together. You mean a mom might actually like/love to spend time with her kids? When they learn to love one another and pray for each other you will spend much of your day laughing together. When there is no laughter something is off. You might actually grow to love this.
4. Be prepared – your kids are going to have questions you can not answer. That is why the internet and library are blessings. We can discover what the abyssal creatures look like, how big they are and what they eat in a matter of minutes. Throw in a video or two from National Geographic and we are learning together. I learn new things every single day. If I am not learning then I am not engaged in their learning. Be teachable.
5. Be prepared – People are going to ask a lot of questions, but you do not have to justify your choices or make it sound like a walk in the woods. Be honest. Homeschooling does not take patience – it takes a family willing to live life a certain way. Prepare your short pitch about your homeschooling life for curious strangers and judgmental relatives. But learn to allow people to disagree, to have their own opinions and to be wrong about you. You will not be able to win all of the critics. And that’s the great thing about being a grownup, raising your own family – there is no fine print that says people have to like or agree with what you do with your life.
What did I leave out? If you homeschool how has it rocked your family?