We’ve been homeschooling “officially” for five years now. And this year I experienced burn out in a way that I never had before. It seemed to go on and on; and my thoughts of sending the kids to public school crossed my mind often as I felt tired and sick more than I have felt well. Nevertheless we powered through and had times of saturated, richly explored homeschooling. Then we had days when I did the bare minimum and let the boys explore the world on their own, whether it be in our backyard or at the zoo. As we completed our most recent set of materials and technically finished what some would call a school year, I decided to do whatever was needed in order to become refreshed and renewed in my life’s work, homeschooling.
This works best when I do three special things…
It’s so important to spend time with other women who homeschool and with moms who share similar values. We are not meant to be alone in our work. We are not meant to do life alone in general. Everyone’s social needs are different and even introverts, like me, need to bite the bullet, get out there, and be social. Homeschooling kids need to learn to socialize outside of the parameters of just family and errands, but this post is more specific to moms and dads. As a homeschooling parent we have to work a little harder at getting out and meeting others. We moved to the middle of the country last year and the only people I knew were my in-laws. Then a met a nice family down the road who had similar values and children the same age as mine. But they moved and we were alone again. So I began signing the kids up for homeschooling classes all over town. And at one of those classes I met a mom who told me all about an online group for Kansas City moms to meet and make plans for getting together. And that became my lifeline to other people. We tried the great big church down the road, but the kids got lost in the shuffle and although they had fun, they weren’t making friends. The online group sure has become very precious to me. This aspect of our homeschool is very important.
Each year I broaden my collection of books written specifically for homeschooling parents. Most of what I read comes from teachers like Ruth Beechick, Susan Bauer, John Holt and most recently, Sandra Dodd. I also subscribe to many of the homeschooling magazines available because the library only carries one or two titles and they never seem to have any available for checkout. I don’t have much time to read them throughout the year so I have a stacked pile by the time I get around to recharging my battery. Years ago I graduated from pharmacy technician school. If I had used my training and gotten a job within a hospital I would have needed to take a fair amount of classes each year to maintain my title and to stay certified. I would need to keep up on current medications, pharmacy practices, and updated methods. I take homeschooling very seriously and choose to look at this job through the same lens. This year as I revive and renew my craft, I have taken out my home-made homeschool bible and my binders (I am totally a binder girl and have one for every single aspect of my life; health, mom stuff, teacher stuff- the last two overlap quite a bit as it’s hard to separate them) and I begin adding new inspiration and information. In a composition book goes all the new ideas and practical advice and lessons I want to remember. Sometimes those ideas even inspire blogs throughout the year. There is much to learn from other voices in the homeschooling community. There are those who have dedicated their lives (I’m talkin’ decades here) to education and raising children to become intelligent, successful, and the absolute “best” versions of themselves. I am so grateful that they choose to share their years of experience, wisdom and understanding with moms like me. It is uplifting and energizing to read these books and update my knowledge in teaching my children.
Finally, I am taking some time to appreciate what I have been given. That is, a shared portion of a life in Christ. None of us are in this thing called life all alone. In addition to support from friends and family, we have the unconditional, unbreakable connection to the Lord. We have a God who insists that our worries are not necessary. He has our children in His hands and He will take care of our families. What is my ultimate goal as a mother? To raise children to be happy, independent, and to know the peace that transcends all understanding. The Lord is doing a work in them and I don’t want to interrupt Him. I want to peacefully come alongside my children and raise them with love and guidance. I want to look for ways to empower them. I want to find ways to give them choices while keeping them safe and protected. We are a team with our children, but Chris and I are the more experience members of the team so it’s our job to keep them within the bounds of what they can handle. It’s a large responsibility, but the Lord is my strength. My faith is being tested right now as I am tired of feeling sick. I am tired of my medicines and my appointments, and I am ready to be healthy and well. Last night I was beside myself worrying about another serious health issue rearing its ugly head… another post when I know more. I was getting myself all worked up and began feeling truly scared. And I chose to hand those worries over to the Lord and I am much better today. I know that I may still have problems, but I can’t heal myself. I can’t force a doctor to heal me today. All I can do is take the necessary steps to move forward in being proactive in my health, and the rest is up to the Lord. And I am at peace and I accept whatever the future has in store for us. That beautiful feeling of losing control and letting the Lord take it… I hope my kids can find that one day. And they will only know that if they know Him.
As I take this time to care for myself and learn more about who I am as a homeschooling mom and what I can give my children this year, I understand that taking time for myself is giving them a great gift. When I am healthy and well in my soul, my kids will benefit just as much as I do.
Thank you for reading.