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The calendar reads January, and that means most of us are about to start the second half of the school year.
And for many of us—myself included—it has already been a long, full year with many unexpected twists and turns.
Fellow mama, how are you? How are you really?
Tired? Burnt-out? Excited? Overwhelmed?
My one word would be… “processing.” Much has happened for our family in the last six weeks or so, and as a result, the second half of our school year is going to be very different from the first.
So honestly, I feel all of the above emotions!
It’s one of those seasons where I feel like instead of being handed a road map, I’ve been handed one of those red-taped walking sticks that the blind use. I know I’m supposed to walk forward, but the steps to get there? Well, that is being shown to me literally on a daily basis.
Maybe you’re in a different place, but I’m guessing that as a fellow mom and homeschooler you can totally relate to where I’m at. This journey is not for the faint-of-heart, that’s for sure, and we all go through times where sometimes the road feels especially long.
No matter where you are at today, can I encourage you to take some time (before the craziness of school and life starts again) to prepare yourself mentally for the year ahead?
To not be afraid to ask the difficult questions?
To honestly assess what you uniquely need to do this wife/mothering/homeschool thing not with perfection but with passion, purpose and joy?
Bottom line, we need fuel and endurance to make it through. Here are five ways to assess and prepare yourself for the rest of the year (I’ll be doing them right beside you!).
- Pray and listen. This is step number one… and honestly it’s the hardest step because it forces us to admit that we really do need Him for absolutely everything, and that no, we really don’t have this all figured out! I mentioned previously that there have been some big challenges around our home recently. It’s been really hard, but like most times of trial, we’ve been simply surrounded by miracles and God-sightings. He has been showing me—just like a guide on a hike—the beautiful scenery along this strange and new path. I’m learning anew how to appreciate life in the moment, and to find his blessings through all trials. I’m clinging tightly to his hand and asking him, “Is this the way?” And I’m hearing him tell me, “Yes, my daughter. Trust me, and give yourself time and grace to learn how to live in this space.”
- Look deeper and consider getting additional perspective. My site Vibrant Homeschooling offers several online classes targeted specifically for homeschool moms and some of the big issues we face:
- “bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms” is a seven-session course that offers open and honest discussion (along with powerful, customized tools) regarding the big lies and joy-stealers homeschool women face such as comparison, anger, perfectionism; and helps moms truly discover the lasting, powerful joy found only in Christ.
- “rhythm: Guiding Your Family to Their Ideal Learning Flow” is a three-session course that introduces the revolutionary concept of “rhythm-based homeschooling” and helps you define and develop a flexible learning approach that works for your family.
Each biblically-based course teaches the material through a pre-recorded, online, slideshow video presentation, and then allows you to dig deeper and develop customized, practical solutions through the At-Home Discovery Packet work (charts, exercises, journaling prompts and other additional resources).
- Focus on progress… not perfection. I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to making changes in my life because I naturally fall into the perfectionist trap. I start off strong… but then as I see myself not fully meeting the (often unrealistic) goals I’ve established, I slowly just slip back into my old habits, and suddenly I see that I am right back to where I was before (except now I have a lot more guilt on my shoulders too). It’s a terrible place to be! So this year I’m choosing to focus on the concept of “progress… not perfection.” Because really, I will never (and can never) perfectly meet any goal I set for myself. But progress? Yes. I can work toward (and celebrate) progress! (My site currently offers subscribers a free “Progress… Not Perfection” chart that you can use to track and celebrate your imperfect steps to change).
- Connect and find accountability. Is there someone in your life that you can share some of this with? A trusted friend? A family member? Your husband? What if you spent some time journaling some of these deeper questions and then asking someone else to help you get perspective and to offer accountability? I believe that something amazing happens when we as humans can share face-to-face and be vulnerable together.
Together, let’s commit our hearts afresh to this great and glorious calling. Let’s ask God for direction in confusing situations; for hope in hopeless ones; and for His indescribable, perfect peace through every life season!
Alicia Kazsuk is the founder of VibrantHomeschooling.com and a homeschool mom to four bright, curious students. Her passion is to encourage and equip moms to joyfully thrive in the often-challenging homeschooling season. She is the author of Plan to Be Flexible: Designing A Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan That Works for Your Family. Alicia also writes and produces online video courses for homeschooling moms (“bloom” and “rhythm”) that give practical instruction and customized learning. Check out these and other valuable resources at VibrantHomeschooling.com. You can also find Alicia on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.