It really is true: The days are painfully long sometimes, but the years fly by faster than a sneaky toddler snatches a cookie from the counter.
Here I stand 20 years after our choice to homeschool our oldest child was made, with three adult sons launched and loving life, two daughters still in high school (one graduating in May), a middle schooler, a 4th grader, and a 2nd grader. I’m still homeschooling, 20 years in.
While the years have flown by in regards to our oldest four, I just can’t believe I’ve still got so many years ahead of me to homeschool and continue to raise kiddos. What I thought was a short-term best-case-scenario choice for our oldest has turned into a full-fledged career lasting over two decades.
If you’re still at the business of homeschooling a decade or two in, good job, Mom. You have hung in there hopefully because you’ve been doing exactly what God has called you to do, and obedience to God is never a wasted life.
And if you’re starting out, wondering what it looks like to continue homeschooling kids for so many years, here’s the truth from me, anyway: I’m tired. Sometimes I’m burnt out, sometimes bored with the curriculum, sometimes just needing some space from kids who are home all day long.
But you know what else? I can’t imagine a better life. The reality is, every job makes someone tired 20 years in. Every job can become boring, monotonous, and overly-peopled. Every job needs a shot in the arm decades into it.
So here’s where I would like to tell my younger me something helpful, something that might have changed the whole ballgame in the years when it felt as if I wasn’t even going to win the game, let alone the whole World Series. While I have to show up, pick up my bat, swing at the balls being pitched, adjust my uniform, keep my eye on the ball, and make good use of the time between innings, there are a lot of variables that contribute to whether the game is won or lost, and ultimately, the one who decides the outcome isn’t me.
But here’s the beautiful truth: I am loved and accepted and on the team because God chose me to be, and I am already a success because God says that I am defined by what Jesus already accomplished on the cross. In other words, the game is already won, and my job as a homeschooling mother is to show up, do my best, love my family, and remind us all of whose we are in Christ.
Had I been able to look back and tell the younger me that — you are loved, valued, accepted, worthy, and significant because of what Jesus did for you – I might have stopped trying to find my identity in how I parented or what was going on in our homeschool. My days could have looked a lot less hopeless when they seemed to drag on forever, and I might have known ten years in what I now know solidly twenty years in: Homeschooling is a fabulous tool, but Jesus is the best thing that I can give my kids, whether I teach them every single subject all by myself, create the best curriculum on the planet, or turn the computer on as they study with an online class.
Ultimately, it’s never the particulars of how we homeschool that make a life-changing difference for our kids, but those details sure can be the things that drag us down into slumps that last for years. No, ultimately it’s the why — it’s the One — who takes our attempts at educating our kids and turns them into a thing of deep beauty.
Free yourself from thinking it’s all you. It isn’t. It’s a life-giving truth to know that the one who created the universe, the one who calls you by name, the one who tenderly gave you the children in your home will see you through each long, trying day and to the very end of your homeschool journey.
Kendra Fletcher is the mother of 8, speaker for groups and conferences around the country, author of several books, and podcaster on HomeschoolingIRL. Her newest book, Lost and Found: Losing Religion,Finding Grace, is published by New Growth Press. You can read more from Kendra at Kendra Fletcher.com.