I can vividly remember the exchange that took place on that sunny September day at McDonalds. I had 4 cranky kiddos in tow and was very, very pregnant. I kept the children entertained for a while as we waited for lunch. Finally the food came. We set the trays on the table and I started sorting things out while managing the crazy toddler with a head cold who kept trying to jump out of my arms “like Suberman, Mom!”
And that’s when I saw it. An elderly couple was staring at us from a few tables away. I smiled and went back to running my own personal circus. Once we were settled, I heard the wife call over in a friendly voice.
“Looks like you have your hands full!” she said.
I chuckled and said “I sure do! But we have a lot of fun.”
The toddler dropped his water and wailed. As I picked it up, she eyed the older kids and said “Are the schools closed today?” As if they got a memo warning them of this golden opportunity, the oldest two shouted “We homeschool!”
Her eyebrows shot up, and with a slight smile, she replied “Homeschool! You are brave! You must be really organized to pull that off.”
At that moment I looked down and realized I had two different shoes on (same shoe, different colors). Lovely. I must not have noticed in my rush to get out the door, escaping our meltdown-inducing morning by ending the homeschool day early and announcing a surprise trip to the golden arches.
Suddenly my 5 year old loudly announced that he had to go to the bathroom “It’s #2, Mom! But I’m going to eat my fries first.” He happily munched his fries and I looked up with a slightly red face and a grimace. But the man and his wife just laughed in a good-natured way. I relaxed and decided… this was ok. Yes, it was managed chaos, and I certainly wasn’t going to win homeschool mom of the year, but this was ok. In fact, it was great.
With a lighter heart and coffee-induced boldness, I took a breath and turned slightly to face them. “No, I’m not really brave and I’m definitely not organized. In fact, I’m a hot mess a lot of the time. But it’s worth it. I’m not ever going to be a perfect mom, but I’ll just keep doing what I can and trust God with the rest. You know?” It was a little bit risky. I waited as the words hung there for a few moments.
She beamed and said “Well, yes! I believe that too.” They finished their meal and said their goodbyes, obviously delighting in each of the kids’ ketchup-y faces and all the random facts they shared with them.
Fast forward to today. Here I am happily homeschooling with 6 kids and 8 years of homeschooling under my belt thus far. Sure, I have made strides since then in routines and systems that work for our family. I’ve learned a lot in my parenting and homeschooling. But truth be told, I’m still a hot mess a lot of times. This McDonald’s scene could have easily been yesterday.
And you know what? That’s ok. I am what I like to call a Type-B homeschooler who doesn’t have it all together. I’m a domestically challenged homemaker whose house is rarely spotless. I’m a less-than-perfect wife and mom who falls short all the time.
But, GOD… He equips me with all I need to educate my kids well. He’s faithful to lead me as I disciple my children. He’s working on me from the inside out and won’t stop until His work is finished.
Do you need that encouragement today, too?
We homeschool moms worry far too much, and that worry can get in the way of our success. Part of that is because our work is so important and our children are so precious. But some of it is because we’re stressing out about things that aren’t so important after all.
4 Things Homeschool Moms Can Stop Worrying About
I’m here to give you a head start on that learning curve! Here are 4 things you do NOT have to worry about as a homeschool mom:
1) You’re not enough.
Well, of course you’re not enough! But that’s not even necessary anyway, so you can stop worrying about it. There’s not one homeschool mom out there who is confident that she has all the patience, time, energy, focus, faith, self-discipline, organization, skill, money, support, etc. to homeschool successfully.
Yet here we are, masses of incredibly diverse moms, educating our children well and raising them for the Lord. You don’t have to be enough. God has that covered.
2) We’ll mess them up.
First, we need to keep the right perspective here. Our goal isn’t to crank out perfect children, because a) that’s unrealistic, and b) that’s the wrong focus. Our job is to be faithful to teach and train our children as best we can and point them to Jesus. We trust the results to God.
But let’s talk about what exactly we think will “mess up” our kids when it comes to homeschooling:
- They won’t be socialized – If by “socialized” you mean they won’t be held captive to the influences and pressures of hoards of children their own age for hours on end every day, then that’s true. But homeschool kids are typically better socialized for the real world, engaging with a variety of situations and ages. Any shortcoming you are worried about here can be overcome with some planning and creativity in your homeschool. It’s really a non-issue.
- They will have an inferior education – Nobody would say that a child who had a full time private tutor and was able to learn at their own pace while also pursuing their talents and interests had an inferior education to public schooling. But that’s what homeschooling is. Add to that the statistically higher performance of independent homeschoolers and the increasingly excellent reputation they have among college admissions… yah, you can stop worrying about that, too.
- They won’t have the same opportunities – I cannot think of one opportunity that homeschool kids don’t have. Sports, scholarships, group interaction, classes with other teachers, field trips, competitions, prom, graduation ceremonies, and so on. Most all homeschool parents can either find these opportunities to participate in if they so wish, or collaborate with other parents to provide them to the homeschool community where they live.
- They’ll be weird – Well, they might be. But that’s not a product of homeschooling. 😆 It reminds me of a quote by Heidi St. John that always makes me laugh: Your kids will be as weird as you are! That’s true for public schoolers and homeschoolers alike.
3) You won’t do it right.
There is no one “right” way to homeschool. We can stop worrying about finding that perfect curriculum, homeschool method, schedule, group, etc. It doesn’t exist, friend.
Sure, there are things that will be a better fit for our kids and make our homeschool lives easier and more enjoyable. Those are worth evaluating. But there is no silver bullet in the homeschooling world, so you can stop the endless second guessing and panicked late night curriculum research sessions. (I mean, you can still do that for fun LOL!)
And another thing… don’t believe the folks who say (or imply) that their way is the only right way. It’s not. Just smile and nod, and move on with your homeschool awesomeness.
4) You can’t homeschool successfully.
Friend, you CAN homeschool successfully! No matter what circumstances, personality, flaws, or limitations you have, intentional parents who put their trust in the Lord can homeschool with great success.
I’m not saying everyone MUST homeschool but I think nearly everyone CAN homeschool. It’s not easy, but it can bring great joy and satisfaction. It takes sacrifice and persistence. But it does NOT take perfection.
And if you are in a situation where you want to homeschool but aren’t seeing a way, do not despair. Submit your desires to the Lord in prayer and He will guide you in what’s right for your family.
Here’s the bottom line, friends:
Homeschool success depends on what the Lord can do through intentional parents who are following His leading and trusting Him with the results. God will give us all we need to educate and disciple our children well.
Let’s Encourage One Another
We need to be encouraging each other and reminding each other of these truths!
I think sometimes we (the homeschool community in general) can look down on a fellow mom who is more “Type-B.” By that I mean someone who is less organized and detailed in her homeschooling, struggles with home management, or has yet to find her homeschool groove.
And you know what? There are times when homeschoolers can start looking down on someone who IS more organized and detailed (the Type A among us) as if her schedules and systems are some kind of sign of a lack of enlightenment about the more relaxed nature that homeschooling and parenting can be like.
Let’s go ahead and stop doing that, shall we, homeschool moms? I think there’s a better way to see ourselves and others. When we are faithful moms who are seeking the Lord, we can recognize and appreciate our differences!
Yes, nowadays I fully embrace my “Type-B,” domestically challenged, less-than-perfect self. And I want fellow homeschool moms to have that freedom, too!
God can use our strengths AND our weaknesses to help us effectively parent and homeschool our children. It’s less about “having it all together” than being intentional moms leaning on the Lord. He will give us all we need to complete the work He has called us to.
To God be all the glory!
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4
Download Your Homeschool Mom Encouragement!
Recently I shared this graphic that I made in our Homeschool Successfully FB group. The wonderful ladies there liked it so much that I promised to make a printable, so here it is! I pray you are encouraged and blessed by this post, dear homeschooling moms. You are doing important work!