It is hard to assume both the role of mother AND homeschooling mother.
When we homeschool it feels as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Our children's ENTIRE education is our responsibility.
And, because they are home with us all day, we also train them in various household chores, relationships with siblings, and so much more.
Can I tell you the number of times I have said (out loud) "I just want to be their mom!". That, however, isn't the reality. I am mom and HOMESCHOOLING mom. I am learning to balance the two.
When I met a dear friend for coffee recently we were talking about all the nitty-gritty things of homeschooling - which curriuclum was working, how we were supervising our eldest children, and balancing littles while homeschooling older children.
As often happen (particularly with this wise, wise friend) - I had one valuable takeaway from our conversation.
My friend told me she gets so caught up in the details of homeschooling and the busyness of her life that she has decided to make ONE THING of importance to her this year.
She's making a point of asking herself at the end of each day if she has loved her babies WELL that day - has she shown the love of Jesus to them at every possible moment?
That was a sobering moment for me -- because (if you recall) a few weeks ago I wrote about a school year's resolution - and focusing on just ONE THING this year. Well - I think I'm needing to adjust, or maybe at least to call that post "What's Your ACADEMIC School Year's Resolution?".
Love Them Well
In the end, all that matters is if we loved our children well during the day.
Did we show them grace? Did we model forgiveness? Did we show patience and perseverance?
All of these attributes contribute to loving the people in our care WELL.
I can't expound much more on the point, but I can encourage you (as I seek to change this in my own life) to check in with yourself a few times each day and ask:
Am I loving them well?
Practical Ways to Love them Well
As I look back, our best homeschool days have been the ones where I have loved my children well.
It sounds so beautiful, doesn't it? But how do we really focus on loving our children when there is just so much STUFF to accomplish and so many responsibilities to maintain.
10 practical ideas:
- Read aloud more - do less bookwork - read aloud often (even to those teens!)
- Include things of beauty (music, art, poetry) - these set the tone for a more peaceful and loving home
- Remind yourself (often!) that today is TEMPORARY - those math or reading struggles do not last and will be a distant memory 10 years from now.
- Get Outside - fresh air, exercise, nature study, and a change of scenery recharge our batteries and help us show LOVE.
- Set Limits - include quiet times, routines, and structure - when children know the expectations everyone is happier, more relaxed, and more loving.
- Do Less - a few things done well are so much better than many done poorly - if we focus on just a few things, everyone is happier because their success and satisfaction is greater.
- Say NO - your children are your first priority - you may have to say no to many things in order to have the time, patience, and freedom to love them well. You have been called to homeschool. Let that be your priority.
- Stick with Friends - Iron Sharpens Iron, yes? Spend time with mom friends who have similar goals and ideals. Hold each other accountable.
- Relationship First - always! - As you are interacting with your children, remember your relationship with them is so much more important than imparting sentence structure, the commutative property, or what the capital of Zimbabwe is. Look into their eyes. Stop when they are talking to you. Give them your full attention many times a day.
- WWJD - I know - so cliche, right? Honestly, what would Jesus do if he were in your homeschool working with your children? It's something to think about and strive for.
This year (which happens to be my LAST homeschooling year with one of my children) I'm going to focus on loving my children well .
They will not remember the academics - they WILL remember the memories we made on field trips, the times I was patient and loved them through a hard assignment, and the times I threw academics to the wind to just BE WITH THEM.
I'm thankful to my dear friend who spoke those words of truth to me.
I'm a reader and find so much encouragement and inspiration in books. Here are a few that will help you love your children well.