We started our homeschool year last week. It went great.
For one day.
Then the crazies came to visit. Interruptions. Crisis. Family stuff. Business stuff.
Something inside me knew it was coming. Every year it seems that something stops me from getting off to that great start that I’d dreamt of during those long uninterrupted periods of planning over the summer.
And then it happens – friends begin sharing their awesome back-to-homeschool photos and experiences on my beloved Facebook page. This is when it starts to get ugly inside my head.
Why, after 20 years of homeschooling can’t I figure this out? I encourage moms all summer long as a speaker at homeschool conventions! Shame on me! Guilt. Condemnation. Discouragement. I told you it was ugly.
One thing this long haul of homeschooling has taught me is that my God is faithful. I may be discouraged but I do not despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing.”
I head to the bathroom – many a busy mom’s prayer closet – and pour out my heart to God. He is the only one to go to. Only He knows why. There is no logical reason for my failure. I know how to plan and organize a homeschool. Only He has the answers for my aching heart.
As usual – I felt the Lord’s peace and presence. There is no shame or condemnation here.
I have peace, yet there is this part of me that hurts. That is when God reminds me that the pain I’m feeling is the idol I insist on making out of my kids’ education being torn down. God wants His best for me and my kids and that’s not going to happen if I insist on getting in the way.
Coming from a long line of highly educated people, God knew my propensity for making academics an idol. He has blessed me with 7 kids with dyslexia to make sure that never happens.
But I still try.
I still want to teach everything. Teach it well. Finish every page. Have my kids get A’s on all the tests.
And I still want my first week of school to go well. Is that too much to ask?
God is telling me that my homeschool is for His glory not for mine.
Honestly, looking back over my 20 years of homeschooling, I see so clearly that God has removed my signature from the lives of my kids. Sure I’ve loved them and fed them and done my best to faithfully shepherd them alongside my husband, but their successes are nothing about me – nothing but evidence of God’s amazing grace.
Every year I try to pick up the reigns again and make homeschooling and parenting about me – about what I can give and do and create out of these kids.
But, however much I want to be in control:
It is God that knitted them together in my womb. (Psalm 149)
God who has created them with purpose – since before the foundation of the world. (2 Timothy 1:8-9)
It is God that causes them to will and to work for His purposes. (Philippians 2:13)
Freshly humbled, I am able, once again, to let go of my grip and let my ideals, my plans, and my purposes go.
It’s a little scary and exciting all at once. Shouldn’t that be how it is when we walk with the living God?
If you are struggling with the back to school crazies, may I encourage you with the encouragement that I myself have received?
The baby is the lesson. Most of my homeschooling days have been filled with babies and toddlers in arms and underfoot. Even though my youngest is now five and a very enjoyable, mostly rational young fellow – I have grandkids! When the babies and toddlers are distracting you from your plans, remember that the baby is the lesson. Relax and enjoy them and show your older kids (who could otherwise be doing Math or English) that babies are a treasure. Show them how to love and enjoy that noisy, messy toddler. Mercy, kindness, compassion, service – that is the lesson for the day.
God is your Headmaster. We can plan and research all summer long but remember what God has to say about the plans of man. “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
It’s not about you. I know this is uncomfortable. Believe me. I know! Our homeschools are not for our glory. Look how quickly we finished our studies. Look at how well my kids did at the spelling bee. Look at all the great hands-on projects we’ve completed. Although there is nothing wrong with these things, they are not why we homeschool. We homeschool to raise kids to love and serve God and each other. Academic pursuits must be second to spiritual tasks.
God is faithful, Mama. If life is looking a little crazy today, step back and seek the One who has numbered your days. There is rest in knowing that He is perfectly aware of how much English you finished today and you are right where He wants you. And when others see your homeschool, though they don’t see a Pinterest perfect mama, they will see a family that is being perfected by what God is doing in their lives.