To the Homeschool Mom Who Wants to Quit

Dear Homeschool Mom,

I see you there.  I see you trying to figure out how to fill up the rest of your 180 days for the year.  I see you worn out and frustrated.  I see you wondering if you should just throw in the towel on this whole homeschooling thing.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, so if you decide to enroll those children somewhere for the Fall, you won’t get any condemnation from me.  Maybe it’s just not the right choice for you and your family.  Maybe it’s a good idea to just cut your losses.

But maybe you’ve just forgotten why you’re doing this in the first place.

People lose their way when they lose their why.  – Gail Hyatt

Before you quit homeschooling, may I suggest a few questions to ask yourself:

1.  Why did we start homeschooling?

I get asked this question a lot, especially by those who are considering homeschooling but not quite sure what it entails.  I’m sometimes hesitant to answer because the reasons we started on this journey are quite different from the reasons we continue to homeschool.  Still, I think there’s a benefit to looking back to the beginning to see what motivated you to rebel against the status quo and to remember why you felt God was leading you in this direction.

2.  What have been the benefits of homeschooling?

When you’re exhausted and frustrated, it can be hard to think of anything positive.  Think back over the course of the school year(s).  What have your children learned?  What have you learned about them that you might not have known otherwise?  What have you learned right along side of them?

3.  What would the consequences be – positive and negative – of returning to, or beginning, public or private school?

Right now, the positive results may be easier to list.  Yes, there are benefits to public and private school, and if you are seriously contemplating giving up homeschooling then you don’t need my help to name them.  There are also negative consequences.  Every choice in life comes with pros and cons.  How would that affect your family’s schedule?  What opportunities might you have to forgo if you were tied to the school’s schedule?  Might it weaken the relationship between siblings or between parents and children?  Would anything taught in the school go against your beliefs or the world view you wish to establish in your children?

4.  What would the consequences be – positive and negative – of continuing to homeschool?

Again, right now you can probably list lots of negative consequences of continuing to homeschool without my assistance.  Yes, there are certainly drawbacks and challenges.  Absolutely.  But what are the potential positive outcomes of continuing to homeschool?  What freedoms does it give you with regard to your schedule, the kinds of things you can teach, and the experiences you can share with your children?

4.  Is the Lord leading me in a different direction, or am I just really tired right now?

Someone once said that when you’re facing a big decision or temptation in life, be sure to HALT: make sure you’re not too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  Could the real underlying issue be one of those things?  Do the kids need to be in public school, or do you just need to carve out some alone time during the day?  (This is particularly challenging for introverted homeschool moms, and I plan to address that in the coming days.)

Lots of people use Philippians 4:13 when they’re facing challenges.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

That’s a wonderful verse and oh so true.  But I have another one I like even more, especially when it comes to homeschooling.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

He is faithful – when I am not.

It is His job to bring it to pass – not mine.

Of course this doesn’t mean we can just sit around doing nothing and expect our children to be well-educated, well-behaved, and all the rest.  But it does mean the full responsibility does not rest on our shoulders.  Sweet friend, these are His children, and He is fully capable of filling in any and all gaps that will inevitably exist in our parenting and teaching because we are human.  And by the way, His idea of a great education may look different from the world’s idea.  He knows what the future holds for our children and how best to prepare them for it; we do not.

If you are called by God to homeschool, then He will give you the strength to do this, and He will bring it to pass.  Rest in Him.  No, literally.  Get some rest.  Take some time to think and pray this through.  And unless He clearly says otherwise, keep moving forward.  Keep persevering.  Keep pouring your life into these children He has loaned to you for just a few short years.

No one ever promised that homeschooling would be easy.  But many who have gone before us have promised it is worth it.

You are loved by God and chosen, on purpose, to be the mother of your particular children.  Walk in the confidence that He has called you to this role and that He is faithful to complete it.  He will bring it to pass.

Love,

Your Sister Beside You in the Trenches