Monday, August 7, 2017

Dear Homeschool Mom (Who Thinks She's Failing)

Dear homeschool mom (who thinks she's failing),

First off, you're not. Yes, even if the last year has been one of tears and endless frustration. Yes, even if your second grader doesn't know how to multiply. Yes, even if your house is such a wreck that you just want to cry. You're not failing. 

There. I said it. Now that THAT'S out of the way, let's chat. 

You see, I felt compelled to write this letter to you. I know you are so doubting yourself right now. You are second guessing your curriculum choices. You stay up late at night worrying because everything isn't perfect. You wonder how on earth will you ever be able to provide a quality education for each child entrusted to your care. I could go on. And I get it. I've been there. Many days, I am still there. But I've learned one secret that will change your doubts into strength.

First, let me put your mind at ease and help you understand that your self worth, that your success, is not wrapped up in teaching your children. It isn't about the perfect curriculum choices. It isn't about comparing yourself to other moms, who on the outside appear to be more successful than you. It isn't about how clean your house is. 

This is YOUR journey. YOUR family. YOUR legacy. Just as every family is unique; every homeschool is unique as well. Yours will look different than mine. And you know what? That's OK. It's also OK to take a break. Evaluate. Make a change. Breathe.

Being their teacher doesn't mean you have to use the perfect curriculum. It doesn't mean you have to know all the answers. And it definitely doesn't mean that you have the entire year planned out by the first day of school. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families. There are any number of excellent math programs or reading programs. 

Your children need YOU. You are their best teacher. God gave you these precious arrows to lead and direct in the unique way that only you can. And with God on your side, you cannot fail. That's the cool part! God has a plan for each one of your children. He will accomplish the work that He started when He called you to be not only their mom, but also their teacher.

Take a LONG look down the road. Where do you see your kids? What plans has God revealed to you about each one of your children? Maybe your kids are young. Maybe God hasn't revealed His plan for them yet. That's OK. Keep learning the basics. You will get there. And know that whatever God calls your child to be or to do, He will complete it. Is it going to be hard? Of course it is. Is it going to be worth it? Definitely!

The only ones who don't make it to the finish line are the one who quit. Don't quit. Don't give up. 

Yes. It is hard.

Yes. Some days are challenging. 

Yes. There are times when I want to throw in the towel too.

But don't do it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep walking. You can't make progress if you are always looking around you, comparing yourself. Just keep going. If you stumble, take a moment to gather your arrows back to you, and keep going. Fix your eyes on your goal and head in that direction. 

Your children need to see that it's OK to fail. It's OK to not have all the answers. It's OK to not even have a complete plan. When you do make a mistake, let them see you correct it, and keep going. No one is perfect, and those who appear perfect are lying. 

Here's a secret that I have learned: include God in your plan. Remember He is there to help carry your burden. Start each day with prayer. Give your school and home to God. Rest in Him. He will guide your path. 

And please know, it is just fine to switch curriculum in the middle of the year. If it doesn't work, throw it out. Find something that does. But don't get so hung up on completing the curriculum that you forget to have fun and enjoy your kids. Make the curriculum work for you. You own the curriculum; don't let the curriculum own you.

No matter their age, show your children that all learning is not found in books. Sure, read the books--there certainly are several worthy ones. But don't forget to explore together. Make messes together (and then teach them how to clean up that mess)! Serve together. Cook together. Create together. Do life together. 

Above all, enjoy the time that you have with them because life moves quickly, and before you know it, that little first grader is a big senior ready to be launched into the world. And THAT is partly because of you, Mama. Because you dared to teach her at home. Because you cared enough to train her in the way she should go. Because God gave this one to you, to raise for His glory. 

I'm praying for you that you have the best year ever. And I'm cheering for you too. Let go, Mama, and let God!

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