"The hard days are worth it. It's worth it to take the time to love them, listen to them and train them. If I don't pay attention to them and give them love, someone else will. Children are drawn to people who enjoy and love them, and it's such a risk to not be that person for them." - Joy Boyer
In reflecting on her homeschool journey, my friend Joy shared her mother's heart so well in the quote above. It echoes what mine awkwardly says when asked to describe the homeschooling days I have experienced. I usually just say, in short, that it was "a challenge" for the most part. In my heart-of-hearts though, I loved having my children home to enjoy their watching their firsts, their growth, their antics, and to know that they were being taught from a biblical worldview. I took a lot of pictures because I wanted to remember their childhood days and capture heart memories.
I did not love the internal and external pressure I experienced all-at-once - being responsible for the education of all my little people after they had attended an excellent Christian school for their elementary years. I wholly desired they would be ensured a thorough education - not a half-shod effort. I gave it my best shot, but it fell short in my mind - no doubt. I'm sure homeschool moms feel this doubt in themselves at some point in their journey. There was no Christian school in driving distance of where we moved, so homeschooling was our only option given our choice to give our children an education based on the Bible
Looking back, I wouldn't change my desire, but I would have gotten outside help sooner if it had been possible financially. I desired more than anything to be a mom over an educator, as Joy mentioned in her original post. Guess what? I still do!
The fact is: moms are built-in educators in themselves. Moms teach much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic, but with homeschooling, these subjects are hers to teach too... and more!
Every mom will have a unique perspective and testimony of the endeavor. For me, there were some hard days - not due to the children, but due to circumstances.
A support system is a necessity. I had a lifetime friend who encouraged me that I could do it, and my parents were always supportive of wherever I've been. In both states, I have had fellow mom friends who get it! I wouldn't have made it without my comrades in the battle.
Seventeen years ago, home education came to me with a bang! It was never my dream or passion, but I made it my goal to do it as well as I could when it became my life. It was very taxing physically and emotionally. I wanted the best for my children, and I knew I wasn't the best there was. I was not a homeschool advocate coming from a traditional school background, but I became a homeschool researcher in the necessary task. I certainly learned much as I went about the science and the art of homeschooling. It IS an art unique to each family made of different personalities, learning skills, and aptitudes. Every year would present a learning curve with its new set of courses, grades, and events.
After uprooting from the place we called "home" for 16 years, a cross-country move 18 hours from family, baby #8 would be born one month later right when the homeschool year was beginning. Additionally, expectations for me were at an all-time high. I caved under pressure thinking it was unacceptable to not do anything and everything I was "needed" to do at home and in ministry. I was blinded in such areas. This aspect made homeschooling even harder for me than the normal grit required. There was no way I could do all I was expected to do. I was only one person. If I had known what I know now, surely it could have been more enjoyable.
Babies are so precious. Throw the academics out the window, and let me cuddle the babies. (That's what I wanted to do.) Babies are babies for such a short moment. So that was another new life juggle thrown in the mix.
My good memories are mostly non-school related... picking cherries, apples, pears, blackberries, asparagus, apricots, and flowers in our own yard! Making a quilt with my daughter and a widow lady. Decorating the house. A gas stove. Amazing windows. Family visiting. Kids playing in the mud. A garden. Fenced backyard of carefree child play. Smiles of friends I miss. I learned to appreciate sturdy trucks and dirt roads. I wished I had had time to breathe to spend with sweet ladies at church and in the community. The skies and sunsets above the prairies were breathtaking as they are where I am now. The stars shone magnificently.
Not only did homeschooling meet me there, but God did too! He drew me closer to Himself. One of my favorite trees now is a Weeping Willow. He had one grown up right outside my bathroom window. Many prayers were made looking through the teary glass. The Lord Himself literally saved my life as I was close to a nervous breakdown or worse by that window.
Upon my arrival at the rural 1912 farmhouse (which my daughter and I had planned to paint yellow one day), God had luscious, pink peony bushes planted there. Lily of the Valley. Purple Irises! Clementine vines, and much more. He thought of me long before I moved to that lovely farmhouse with the wrap around porch with a swing that I loved. My Dad installed a second swing facing the other one. We found it for a few bucks at an estate sale. Actually, my writing space -Morning Joy Compositions - was born on that swing. I distinctly remember my visiting brother state that the farmhouse was God's gift to me. What insight! It was. I know it. He gave gifts in the midst of trial.
On my homeschooling / parenting journey, God has never left me. He has carried me through until now, and I know He will remain faithful to me forever. In my deepest, darkest trials, He is always with me.
My children are all different, and all are the most amazing creations in my eyes. I love them. I have had to trust the Lord with any gaps they may have had in their learning that I thought they should have. He knows their futures. I do not. He knows my capabilities and limitations, and He still trusted me to be their Mom.
Whether homeschool or traditional school, the education part gets easier as the children graduate and enter adulthood. Children morph into my friends and teach me so much. They always have. To love their hearts and pull for them in hope the rest of their days: Pick me! Being a Mom is worth all the hard days.
•I thank God for meeting me and lifting me up in moments of deep despair and loneliness.
•I thank God for the beautiful and best gifts from His gracious hand.
•I thank God for all the teachers my children have had who have been faithful, godly influences. They needed more than just me.
•I thank God my children can read and write. 🙂
•I thank God for being my Father and my Friend.
•I am thankful to know God is the God of all grace - not just grace for salvation. He knows I'm dust, and He is full of grace - every day!
Because of Jesus, the hard days are worth it.
By His Grace,
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