I’ve been a homeschooling mom for 25+ years, and I’ve had seasons of joy and seasons of struggle. And it’s in the season of struggle that I crash … big time. I feel overwhelmed and weary. I wonder why I’ve chosen to home educate my kids. Looking back, I’ve discovered that the struggle usually stems from three areas. And thankfully I’ve also learned how to combat that.
Why moms crash …
1. We don’t fill up with Jesus and are running on empty. As homeschooling moms, we’re continually pouring out. We are the nurturer, teacher, disciplinarian, cook, family organizer, shuttle driver and so much more. There’s rarely a time we have a minute’s peace, and when we get to empty we usually just keep going. We forget that Jesus wants us to connect with him. We forget he wants to strengthen us.
2. We keep trying to get everything done even on days when that’s impossible. There are always unexpected challenges that come up, yet we don’t pause. We don’t give ourselves grace. We don’t give our kids grace when they’re having a hard day either. We don’t slow down.
3. We lose the fun in learning and become taskmasters instead of joyful learners alongside our kids. We look at the curriculum guides and feel we have to do it all. We think everything is up to us when it comes to educating our kids, and we forget one of the most important things we can do is help them grow to love learning.
What keeps moms strong ….
1. Spending time with God, reading his Word and praying. I try to read through the Bible in a year. I don’t see it as yet another thing to do. Instead, I see it as a wonderful discipline that reminds me to be filled with Jesus. It’s God’s Word that fills me up and guides me in life. If you’d like to join me in reading through the Bible, you can go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/walkitoutscripturejourney/
2. Giving grace. There are days when we start off strong, and I have the energy to work with each of my kids. Other days, when I don’t feel I have the capacity to do it all. On those days, I choose a few favorite things and focus on that. That’s why I love Sonlight curriculum. I purchase two complete sets that cover the same time in history, and I use the read alouds for all my kids. On days that we appointments that take up time, or when we don’t feel at the top of our game, I pull out some of these books and I just read. My kids play Legos or mold play dough, as I do. And we all get lost in the story. We pause and discuss what we’re reading … all of us. We laugh and cry together through the pages. From ages 7 to 17, my kids enjoy this time. We enjoy the slower pace. I enjoy it too.
3. Finding the joy in learning again. I invite my kids to think of creative ways to learn. Do we want to sit outside to do our work? Do we want to split up in teams and help each other? Do we want to skip ahead and do that science project we’ve been looking forward to? There is no reason we always have to do everything in the curriculum guide order or sit at the table to do our work. I also let my kids find supplements to what we’re learning. We check out library books or look up videos on YouTube on the subjects they’re most interested in. It helps to remember that even the best curriculum is simply a guide. We are the teachers and our kids are the eager learners.
If you feel as if you’re getting close to crashing, I hope you’ll try one of these things … especially the first one. As Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” God wants you to have the strength that comes from him. The difference will be seen and felt within you and in your homeschool.