It’s a brilliant California afternoon complete with the October sun streaming through my dining room windows, and here I sit eating caramel popcorn and feeling really guilty about it. You’d think by middle-age (which I am), I’d have this stress-eating thing down, but alas, I do not.
I’ve been homeschooling my kids since 1997. I kid you not. I’m even a new grandmother, but there are still three kids growing up in our home that I gave birth to, so we keep plugging along, trusty Tupperware container of caramel popcorn by my side.
It’s also October, and I’ve been doing this long enough to recognize that sometimes, even when we’ve only just begun, by October I want to quit. Are you surprised?
When we’re new to a thing, we tend to believe that the people who’ve been at it longer than we have are on top of the thing we feel is about to crush us. But can I tell you a secret? We older and seemingly wiser homeschoolers sometimes feel like we want to quit, too. Homeschooling is no easy undertaking, and no matter where you are along your homeschool timeline, you will have days of grave discouragement and many hot tears. You’ll have glorious days of success, too, but for now, let’s talk about how we can turn the quitting days around.
Believe You Are Who God Says You Are
Before we can understand what we are supposed to do or how we are supposed to live, we have to get a grip on who God says we are. We must, at all costs, believe that we are His children, created to do good works, but only because He has given us the strength and power to do so. Without this foundational belief, we will swing from emotional highs to emotional lows driven by our daily circumstances.
When you became a believer in Jesus Christ, you were also given the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Little by little, in His ever-so-gentle way, He is changing you from the inside out. Because we are impatient humans, said change sometimes isn’t fast enough for us. We want to see the full fruit of the Spirit in our lives right now. Full stop. Right now!
This is where I tend to get bogged down in the day-to-day of homeschooling. I get impatient, both with my kids and myself. I want them to be super engaged with our lessons. I want to know that I am doing an excellent job. I want to know the end result of all this striving, of the difficult task I’ve taken on, of the hours and hours (and hours) I’ve spent pouring into their lives.
God asks us to wait. Not in so many words, mind you, but in the slow process that is the educating and raising of children. The fruit of our labors is so far out that we have to return our hope to who God is and who He has made us to be, not in the stuff we’re doing each day. It’s a subtle shift but a crucial one. We must—at all costs—remind ourselves of who God is and what He’s done for us.
Believe That What He’s Done is Everything
We homeschooling parents are typically doers. We pick up the ball and run with it because we know we are doing the best thing for our kids, no matter how and when we came to this decision. But because we are doers, it’s easy to slip into the faulty belief that we must do it all.
Jesus did it all. He paid for all of our transgressions, and when he was finished He actually declared, “It is finished.”
Pick up the pencil, create the lesson plan, read the historical fiction aloud, color the maps, watch the correlating videos, solve the equations, visit the zoo, but as you are doing all of those good- homeschool-parent things, remind yourself that none of your value or worth lies in the doing. It’s already been done. It is finished. Believe that what Jesus has done is everything.
It’s actually good to be in a place of feeling like we want to quit this difficult thing God has asked of us. When we are weak, He is strong, remember? Write 2 Corinthians 9-11 on an index card this week and tape it to your mirror. Let it saturate and re-align your thinking to the beautiful truth of who God is.
I’ll leave you with the powerful words of author and Bible teacher Steve Brown: “It’s a paradox, but the difference between strong faith and weak faith is need. The strongest Christian really is the Christian who knows how weak he or she is (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
When we are weak, when we want to quit, He is strong. He has done it all!
Author, Kendra Fletcher
Kendra Fletcher is a mother of 8, speaker, author, and 22-year homeschool veteran. She is the author of Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace, and Leaving Legalism, and she regularly writes for Key Life Ministries. The Fletchers reside in California, where they play in the Pacific Ocean as often as possible. Find her here: www.kendrafletcher.com.