I gently knocked on the door of my friend’s house and heard several voices shout, “Come in!”
Immediately, a bubbly 9-year-old girl greeted me with a huge hug. As I scanned the room, I noticed my friend on the sofa reading a short story with her Challenge B daughter. Before I could speak, her other daughter, a Challenge A student, leaped out with a trifold board and unveiled her science experiment topic with all the words and pictures neatly organized. Lastly, my friend’s littlest learner, only 20 months old, danced to a song playing on the television and slowly shuffled my way to kiss me.
Easing off the sofa, my friend, Wendi, approached me and hugged me tightly.
“How’s it going?” I asked.
“It’s going,” she replied with a smile.
It was the day before her Classical Conversations community day, and she was trying to tie up all the loose ends and finish preparations to tutor Essentials. This was her 10th year in her local community, and she knew the day before community drill all too well.
“What do you do when homeschooling is hard?” I asked.
“I cry,” she replied, still with a smile on her face.
We both laughed and hugged again.
During the ten years I homeschooled my two kiddos, I also cried a lot. But I didn’t give up. You see, I made it to the end, but my journey isn’t over. God has called me to help others make it to the end of this beautiful — yet sometimes difficult — journey. That is part of the reason I am writing this post. Whether you’re wondering if homeschooling will ever get easier or if you can possibly make it to the end and graduate your student, it’s important to know that you are not alone when it comes to these moments of wanting to give up. I felt it too, as do many other homeschooling parents.
5 Ways to Cope When Homeschooling is Hard
The battle to succeed is within each one of us. God has given us homeschooling parents a passion and desire to be the ones to raise up our children. Our journey together is sharpening us, purifying us, and refining us into His image for His glory. He is calling us to let our light shine (Matthew 5:16).
1. Remember the Basics
In 2018, I wrote an article encouraging folks that they can start homeschooling at any time of the year. In that post, I shared several practical actions to take whether you are just beginning your homeschooling journey or are in your 15th year! Do any of these suggestions resonate with you?
- Just breathe. This sounds simple enough but is sometimes forgotten.
- Learn together. This isn’t about how much you know or don’t know, but how willing you are to learn.
- No Plan B. Homeschooling is hard. But it’s important to do the hard things until the hard becomes easy—or at least easier! Remember your “why” for homeschooling and let that motivate you to carry on. Now, being on the other side of my journey and graduating two kiddos, I can confidently say that homeschooling was worth every minute, both fun and difficult!
- Be flexible. Life will throw you some curveballs, but you were made to be resilient.
- Have fun. Although homeschooling does require discipline, don’t forget to have fun!
- Read together. Reading is the most powerful tool you own, and best of all, it’s free!
- Embrace awe and wonder. Get outside and discover the world through your children’s eyes—it will open your eyes.
- Give grace. You will make mistakes, but forgive yourself, learn from them, and move forward.
Some of these suggestions sound so simple yet are easily forgotten in the muckiness of the mundane. Selah.
2. Step Out and Take a Breather
Audrey, another homeschooling mom, invited me to lunch a few weeks ago. She was in a similar boat as my friend, Wendi. She, too, had four kiddos — six-year-old twin boys, a 9-year-old daughter in her first year of Essentials, and her oldest in Challenge A. This was her 7th year in Classical Conversations and 4th year tutoring Essentials.
I asked Audrey the same question I had asked Wendi, “What do you do when homeschooling is hard?”
She started by saying, “I step out of the schoolroom and take a breather.”
3. Start with Small Actions
Audrey also shared a book she was reading called The Slight Edge. The author, Jeff Olson, offers practical ways to shift your thinking and how small actions over time have compounding effects on the trajectory of your life. As you encounter everyday choices, you make positive or negative decisions. The results impact a direction. Audrey’s first step was to start with something small. Her small decision, when homeschooling got hard, was to stop and pause instead of pushing herself and her kids to the point of tears.
4. Write a Letter to Yourself
Audrey also shared the idea of writing a letter to yourself. As we were waiting for our food to arrive at the table, I asked her to tell me more about this letter idea and if she minded sharing the letter with me. She explained that writing this letter to herself gave her the permission to acknowledge her feelings, whether it was frustration, sadness, or “overwhelmingness.” She reminded herself of God’s promises and his character. As she read the letter aloud to me, her voice cracked, and tears flowed.
Today is a hard one. It’s okay to feel the way you do. Cry it out. Your emotions are valid. As you sit reading this, I want you to remember the “why” behind your homeschooling. You homeschool because you and Matt are the best examples to your four beautiful children. You are in a stage with a pre-teen son, an emotional daughter, and two 6-year-old boys. I see you are doing your best. Rest in Him and know He is close by. Have you talked to Him today? When frustrations hit an all-time high, let yourself cry in bed. God is your strength. He sees you.
Teach them, teach them again, teach them over and over again because they are listening to you. Homeschooling is a numbered season, so enjoy the ups and downs. Ask for help. You are loved and cared for by our Father, who adores you as you are. Being open with your tears is a way God is giving you the strength for today, tomorrow, next month, next year. Reflect on that goodness. I see you. You are heard. You are wanted. Take deep breaths. Go on a 20-minute walk. The next eleven years of homeschooling will be exciting, a learning opportunity for all of you, and there are no regrets with each minute you get to spend with your children. They love and appreciate you, and Matt does too!
As Audrey finished reading her letter aloud, we looked at each other. We knew this lunch was a divine appointment. She didn’t know I would be writing this blog, and I didn’t know she would be reading this letter to me. Our relationship had been established and bathed in prayer and trust for at least five years. It was similar with Wendi, who I’ve been friends with for a span of ten years.
5. Find Support and Accountability
Another way to get through the rough patches of homeschooling is to lock arms with a friend. Finding friends and mentors along this journey is imperative so that you will not only finish strong but will walk the journey in abundant joy.
When Homeschooling is Hard: Be a LIGHT to Your Child
When you find it hard to homeschool, my hope is that you will incorporate a few of the practical tips mentioned in this blog. Most importantly, remember to just be a LIGHT to your child:
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