I am starting to get to have really profound conversations with friends I cherish who are feeling pulled to this journey we all call Homeschool. Though I like to think of it as so much more than just Homeschool. For us, for me, it has been a journey of obedience, of faith, of growth and of trust. It has taught me things about myself, my God and my son that I might never have come to learn had we not answered this mighty call upon our family.
It has taken a lot of hard work and as I approach my one year mark in just a matter of weeks now, I feel like we have come so very far from where we were when I so nervously said, “We are homeschooling our son.”
The last few nights, I have thought a lot about the things I most would like to pass onto the mothers who are coming along behind us to start their own homeschool journeys. While this journey can be wonderful, it can also be a storm and it is important that we cling to others before us who can help us through those cloudy days so we keep walking until we see the sunshine again.
So, with that in mind, I want to share some of the things I think will most help those who have made the decision to homeschool or maybe even just those who might be on the fence about it. I hope that these lessons and truths that I have learned along the way will somehow help you to start your journey with less anxiety and fear and that it will be a reminder of what you can do when you feel you can’t do anything at all.
So without Further Adieu….
I. It’s a journey not a race.
One of the biggest mistakes I think that we make sometimes in homeschool is trying to hurry our children along. We have this schedule of how we wanted things done or how we believe it should be done. We race to finish that lesson so we can check it off our list. “YES! Another Concept Down!!! WOOHOO! GO ME!” But this journey isn’t about you or me, it’s about those little heads who are trying to learn and experience and take everything in to the very best of their ability. Your child might zoom through lesson after lesson absorbing everything like a sponge or he/she might have to go slowly, stopping to have hands on demonstrations and more detailed lessons before they truly begin to understand and are ready to move on. Take your time Momma. Let them learn at their pace. Don’t rush them and don’t slow them down. God made them who they are for a reason and how they learn is all a part of His design for their lives. It’s not a race. The finish line won’t arrive any sooner if you push them. Let them enjoy the experience and learn to love the journey for yourself. You’ve got this. No matter what the pace looks like…you are doing just fine!
II. Beware the spirit of comparison.
It will be tempting, very tempting to look at everyone’s homeschool around you. Whether it be your best friend or somewhere on the blogosphere, you will encounter other homeschool families. You will most likely see their classrooms and their curriculum choices and you will be flooded with images and videos of their field trips and what their children are learning and you will at some point, begin to look at what they are doing and compare it to your own. This is a dangerous thing Momma because we often tend to see everyone else’s homeschool as being more extraordinary than our own. At some point, you might find yourself trying to use their schedule or their crafts because you think if you just do that then you will have a better more awesome homeschool like them. This is a lie. The truth is…your homeschool is ALREADY as awesome as theirs. You are already doing amazing things that fit your own family’s needs and desires. I too have sat at my computer and thought, “Man. I am just not doing enough! They are building the Great Wall of China and Mister M is just building a house out of legos. UGHH!!!” But then I remember that he is five. He can’t possibly understand The Great Wall of China just yet and that Lego House was pretty amazing considering he is still so small. He did it on his own and that’s what makes it so amazing! I used to sit for hours and wonder what everyone else’s schedules were like and I even tried to tweak mine to see if Mister M doing that other routine would be easier and smoother but it wasn’t. It was too relaxed or too chaotic and he would not be able to focus at all. I very quickly learned that our homeschool is AWESOME to us and that is THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. Mister M is smart. He is learning. Nothing is more awesome than that. So take a deep breath. Fall in love with your own homeschool style and remember that this is your family. It’s all about them and nothing else.
III. There is NO right or wrong way to Homeschool.
As I type this I already can hear some people choking on their water. Those people are probably just like me. They like to plan. To organize and they are determined to not let their child down. All of those things are so amazing to have when homeschooling but they can also get us into this pattern of thinking that there is a right way and a wrong way and we must find that one right way. The truth is, the only right way is what works best for YOUR family. (Are you noticing a similar trend of wisdom here?) Your right way might be another family’s wrong way. There are SO many ways to homeschool. Some treat it like a classroom, some treat it like a field trip every day. I have seen homeschooling families who learn through traveling the world (If only my checkbook were bigger!) and other families who learn by doing nothing but reading and writing in notebooks with every subject they learn. I have seen so many different ways that families teach and disciple their children and all of them are right because their children are flourishing, they are learning and they are loving their journey. If you want to know the measure of success, ask your child how much they love getting to learn with you and how much they love to learn new things. They may not be able to name all the elements of a Chemistry Chart but they might tell you that you gave them a love of reading. That’s so remarkable. Reading is the key to learning. What a wonderful gift Momma. Don’t keep searching for the RIGHT formula. Just ask God to show you what will help your child fall in love with learning. That’s the most important thing you can give your child outside of teaching them about Christ.
IV. Be flexible.
Schedules are a wonderful thing. It is good to have a plan. Without a plan, we might get too lazy or just not be able to have some ounce of control over getting our children to do their necessary work. You should have a goal for what you want your children to learn each day. That’s a great thing to know so that it will give you a bit more confidence in yourself and give you some direction with your children; but don’t get so focused on your schedule that you burn out your children and yourself. When I came into this journey, I had a LOT of plans and a LOT of schedules. I had this idea of what homeschool was going to look like and that was that. The Lord quickly, without any hesitation, taught me to be flexible. My schedule, though put together with the best intentions, was just too much for my son. I had to learn early on it was good to have that schedule for us so as to have a mapping point for our lessons and our day but also, that it was not law. It was okay if we deviated and changed our day up as we went. It was even okay if we didn’t finish EVERYTHING I had planned for that day. If we were having a hard time, I stuck to the core subjects giving Mister M long breaks in between to play and just be a kid. Some days, we had a great time doing every single thing I planned. I have learned that just like our purpose in Christ, homeschool is HIS plan. It’s okay to make my own but I need to take a step back and be willing to be flexible and listen if the Holy Spirit says, “Give him a break.” Remember that whole it’s a journey not a race thing. It’s good to remember that when planning your days. It’s usually the schedule that sets the pace but rather than that being your dictator, ask the Holy Spirit to be your compass. He will take you where you need to go, show you how long to stay there and tell you when it’s time to take a break. Homeschool success is not based on a plan or a schedule. It is based on your ability to learn what is best for you family and to let that be enough. It’s based on your ability to do it the way that God has designed for you.
V. You will win some. You will lose some. You will survive.
Some days you will lose the battles that come with homeschooling but you won’t lose the war. Some days you will win the battle but the war will seem a defeat. At the end of whatever the day brings, you WILL survive. Take your journey minute by minute. Then hour by hour until you eventually work your way to day by day. No day will look alike. You will want to quit some days and other days you will want not want to stop homeschooling. You will feel like a victor and then sometimes you will feel defeated but you are NEVER alone. We all wage those same battles and we all face the same war within ourselves. It’s a spiritual battle more than a physical one. The enemy knows that God called you to this precious journey and he will use whatever weapons he can to deter you but do not give in. Do not raise the white flag. Take a deep breath. Grab your Bible. Pour another cup of coffee. Call your homeschooling best friend or just find someone else who can encourage you. You won’t win every battle you face but you will keep getting up and fighting again and again and again because you are mighty Momma. You are courageous and you have been entrusted with the extreme honor of discipling your child in faith, in academics, and in life. God would not have called you to this journey if you were not meant to travel down it. When it feels like you just can’t win, fight one more battle. You will see victory just ahead. Give your fears, your anxieties, your expectations all to God and trust that if He called you to it, He will equip you to finish it. You will survive this. I promise. But even more than that, you will be successful and blessed that you chose to be obedient to this calling. You’ve got this. You really do.
So go ahead. Take that step of faith. Do what God is calling you to do and don’t allow all these overwhelming details take away the joy of the journey. It’s going to be an incredible one. I promise and YOU CAN DO THIS!
In Christ’s Love,
Kristy Delgado ❤
Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me.”