I have been hearing some nasty rumors. Whispers of foul deeds waft on the breeze to my ears. Little birdies speak of happenings that simply should not be. Plottings and plannings that have no place in the warmth of summer. Spending your summer worrying over the next year’s homeschool schedule is just wrong ladies! Wrong, I tell you!
I know who you are. Oh yes, my friends, I know exactly who among you are the guilty ones. And while I may step on some toes, I feel compelled to take you back to school. To remind you of: The 3 R’s for Homeschool Moms.
Okay, we all know that we need a break now and then, right? But I have to say that what we sometimes try to pass off as a break from homeschooling is pathetic. A day off, or a weekend away is not enough. So how long do we need? What keeps coming to my mind is in Exodus 23:11. “…but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year…” These little ‘crops’ that we are readying for harvest take a lot out of our emotional, mental and physical soil. We need time to be at rest so that we can be replenished. No, I am not suggesting that we take a year off for this, but I do think that we need significant breaks. For some, a full summer with a couple of smaller breaks will accomplish this. Others take a month off between terms. I think that a bare minimum of two weeks at a time is needed. Refueling takes time and cannot be rushed.
As Christ followers, we understand that only He can truly refuel us. We grow closer to Jesus through study of scripture, serving others, fellowship, and worship. Just as we all have a preferred ‘love language’ or learning style, we all have a preferred spiritual modality as well. I find myself most revived through study of scripture in its historical context. I have a friend who feels closest to our Lord when serving the impoverished. Still another finds worship to be that which buoys her spirit best. While we need to practice all of these, if we are intentional about growing in our preferred mode, we will find the greatest refreshment.
What are other things that revitalize you? For one it may be spending time with a friend. For another it may be organizing closets. (If this is you, may I politely tell you that you are a freak of nature and I have 8 closets you can come and revitalize yourself with.) Perhaps writing, music or physical activities are what energize you. As homeschool moms, those passions all too often take the back burner in our roster of activities. They get relegated to ‘when I have a few extra minutes’, which for the homeschooler is a joke. There is no extra time when we are in the thick of it.
When we stop and take some time to truly connect with our Creator and engage in the activities that we find most enjoyable, our entire outlook can be changed. Replenishment will bring clarity of thought, peace to our spirits, and a relaxed manner which is of immeasurable benefit to our families.
Once we have rested and taken the time to rejuvenate, it is time to refocus. Why are we doing this? Homeschooling is HARD. There is no easy way to do it well so it is imperative that we understand clearly why we are doing it. I have to revisit this constantly. Am I homeschooling to produce little Einsteins? To produce perfectly mannered people who live in a time-warp bubble, a la ‘Leave it to Beaver’? Those of you who know my kids well are laughing, yes?
I have boiled my homeschooling purpose down to its simplest form lest I forget: My reason for doing this is to produce lovers of Christ. To raise up people of strong character who love Jesus with all their hearts, and by extension, will love others as themselves. Period. Everything else is gravy.
I know that some of you are burned out. Some of you are discouraged by the mandatory state testing scores. Some of you may even be wondering if you want to continue this homeschooling journey. I have only one question for you.
Did God call you to do this?
Virtually every homeschool mom I have met has felt the divine call to do so. Even so, it is hard and the potential for burnout is high. This is why I implore you to Rest, Replenish and Refocus. Forget about being super-teacher for a time and just be Mommy. Enjoy your kids. Seek the Lord in how He wants you to do this. Close your ears to the naysayers and the so-called ‘experts’ who delight in telling you how you are supposed to homeschool. Be selective in whose advice you seek. Fellowship with others and know:
You are not alone.
Now take that inner perfectionist and her sister the worrywart and show them the door. Put away your schedules and curriculum for heaven’s sake! Get outside and enjoy some sunshine with your kids.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)