Monday, August 25, 2014

6 encouragements for homeschool moms this year

I'm not feeling ready for this to be happening again, but it's here:

This is my first year to homeschool four children. Ava did preschool bits last year, but I didn't worry much about it. This year, kindergarten is in full swing:

It feels like we were just doing this, and we took a couple of weeks off...well, except for this part:

I now have a curious, active toddler roaming about. ;)

The kids are doing awesome with it. I'm so thankful for their willingness to work, and their desire to learn! They were up early today and couldn't wait to get started. :D I just love them.

But for me... alternating between feeding, diaper changes, snacks, reading, printing out sheets, answering questions, teaching phonics, correcting errors... this homeschooling business is no joke. It reminds me of waiting tables in college, only these customers tend to act like small children, and I'm already in the weeds. ;)

I may or may not have cried last night.

Homeschooling pushes me to places I don't want to go. I'm not naturally a teacher, but I already love my kiddos, so I have that going for me. ;) Thankfully when I was overwhelmed last night, I feel like the Holy Spirit was encouraging me with few things that really helped me get a better perspective.

I needed to realize that:

1. This season is actually VERY short!
I already have kids in 5th, 4th, 2nd, and kindergarten. This is happening fast. After this year, I'll have already taken 4 children through learning how to read. I'll be 80% done! ;) It's going to fly by. Really.

2. This is my choice.
I don't have to do this, I want to do this. But sometimes I forget that. :) No one is holding me hostage to homeschooling. I want these kiddos to be here learning! :)

3. Homeschooling will be hard at times.
Childbirth may be hard, but teaching kids how to read is tougher if you ask me! But then, I realize if I take a step back and remember, potty training was hard, teaching them to sit still is hard, teaching them not to hurt each other is hard... pretty much all parenting is hard at different times.

But it's worth the effort, isn't it? Realizing childbirth will hurt helps me prepare for the pain. And teaching children will be a difficult task sometimes too, just like running a race, or passing a test.  It helps to be prepared for things to be less than easy. :)

4. Their attitudes about homeschooling will reflect mine.
I know this is true in other areas for sure, so I know it will be true of homeschooling too. I want to enjoy this season, and I want them to feel the same way. :) I want us to have a GREAT attitude about it this year! :)

5. In order for me to focus on it, do a good job, and enjoy it, I have to eliminate distractions.
Everything else needs to take a backseat in the mornings and afternoons. Dirty dishes, blogging, laundry, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, Instagram, learning choreography for teaching classes in the afternoon - these things beg for my attention all day long.

I have to re-prioritize what I want to do in order to do homeschooling well. If I'm busy, I do not enjoy interruptions. If I'm not busy, homeschooling isn't nearly as painful. :) And, when I don't have outside responsibilities looming over my head, I feel capable of doing more with my family and enjoying it.

6. My first priority is to teach them about Jesus.
Reading, writing, math, science, history, spelling- these are all well and good, and things they need to know, but my highest priority over all other education is to teach them about the Lord- to teach them His ways through His Word. I want them more than anything to love Him and obey Him, and to love others. This is the stuff that will matter on that final day when they stand before Him. This is my first and most important job.

If I filter this homeschooling thing through the lens of eternity, I start to see why I'm doing this, as well as what I need to do first, you know?

Some days I will feel like a crazy person because this is hard, but I know that I can do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. I need Him desperately, and I am so thankful for sweet friends who pray for you when you're feeling defeated before you've even started {like this morning!}.

This homeschooling deal won't be happening in my strength- that's for sure.  Psalm 73:26 is more than true of me: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." I know His power is made perfect in my weakness. Just like last year, I'm going to be clinging to Him with all my might. :D

This article about investing in your kids was the perfect encouragement from the Lord for me just now- you have to read it!! :D Oh man, I love the Holy Spirit! He is the Comforter. What an encouraging charge Jennifer gives us. It's such a good reminder of our purpose:
Yes, there are many educational feats to accomplish this year in the classroom and many athletic obstacles to overcome in the game but the most important thing they can learn this year is that Jesus loves them, he died for them and that he has made salvation available to them. They need to hear this from the adults in charge of them. That’s you! 
Go into all the classrooms and gyms and halls and preach the gospel. 

What encourages you as a mom this school year {homeschooling or not! :) all kinds of school are hard!}? 

Have you ever struggled with feeling defeated and overwhelmed before you started?
I really think attacks like that are from the enemy. Sometimes I feel and take his accusations as truth, forgetting that he is the great deceiver who wants to devour me, and any joy I have in Christ.

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