A few weeks ago, we wrapped up our seventh year of homeschooling.
With a bang.
And a sigh.
And a, I’m SOOO glad to have another year filed in the books!
As much as I love being a homeschooling mom, there are those years when it just feels like a flop.
Like I flopped. Failed. Made a really, really bad grade on a really big test.
Sometimes the struggles are related to financial issues. Other times, sickness, ministry stress, strained relationships, or a million other challenges contribute to feelings of failure as a homeschooling mom.
The truth is, I never get it all right, but there are those years when next-to-nothing feels like it was really good enough.
Ever been there?
Maybe you are there?
I have a few questions for you- and for myself.
Who are you trying to please?
This is a great question to ask yourself when you’re drowning in feelings of failure.
Who are you trying to please?
Your peers? Your skeptical relatives? The perfectionist who lives down the road? Or, how about the perfectionist that lives inside your head? (Believe me, she’s impossible to please!)
Who’s opinion really matters in this equation?
I’ll tell you: God’s opinion matters.
Your husband’s opinion matters.
Your children matter.
And, of course, you matter… so lighten up and quit trying to meet everyone’s expectations.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Sometimes, I wonder… really wonder… what we homeschool moms are trying to accomplish.
I mean, are we trying to prove to the world (read: the sister-in-law who is a public school teacher) that our kids are smart enough?
That we are smart enough?
That our kids can out-do, out-spell, out-obey, and out-everything everyone else?
I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I came to the conclusion that we homeschooling parents have some pride issues… and those pride issues have created other issues. Like unhealthy competition, over achieving… and feelings of failure if our kids can’t keep up academically.
If the past few years of learning to gently coach my two struggling readers has taught me anything, it’s that just because I homeschool my children doesn’t mean that we’re always going to look and act smarter than anyone else.
Homeschooled kids struggle. Homeschooling moms struggle. And that’s okay.
So ask yourself, What am I trying to accomplish? If your priorities and expectations are way off track, ditch them and ask the Lord to help you get an eternal perspective.
Are you enjoying life?
What does THAT question have to do with homeschooling? you may ask.
My reply: It has everything to do with it.
Think about it: Is homeschooling about school work, or is it about life? Are you endeavoring to raise a professional student or a charactered adult?
Chances are you would say that homeschooling is about life and that you want to raise a charactered adult.
So are you enjoying life?
Because if the answer is no… if you’re stuck in a rut of joyless days…how do you expect to have anything of eternal value to impart to your children?
Do you take time to read books (or blogs) that challenge and encourage you?
Do you listen to inspiring music?
Do you make time every week to put your feet up a little and engage in something you enjoy?
Do you plan dates with your husband…or fun outings with your kids?
Do you ever eat a picnic in the back yard or let the kids do school work on the trampoline?
Do you laugh every so often? Or smile?
Do you drink coffee or tea in a pretty cup? Keep a journal? Take a nap? Wear fuzzy socks in the winter and cute sandals in the summer?
Are you cultivating beautiful places in your life and home?
If not, then you’re on a crash course toward burn out, discouragement, and possibly failure…if not failure to succeed, then failure to thrive.
Mama, you can’t keep giving and giving and giving without feeding your soul and keeping it alive.
I’m not puppeting the culture’s “me time” lie, but I am suggesting that you do need time to regroup and recharge so that you can keep on loving and nurturing and training those amazing kids.
Sure, there have been times when I hit the end of a school year and felt like the whole thing was one ugly failure.
Those years definitely don’t give us any incentive to keep on going, so if you’re feeling that way right now, you might need to ask yourself a few questions…and be honest about the answers.
Take some time off to refocus, reprioritize, and recharge.
Homeschooling is not a sprint, my dear. It is a marathon.
To run well, we must live well. We must love well.
Chances are, your school year wasn’t a flop. Not at all.
You are learning.
You are growing.
And there is always next year…and tomorrow…