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Are You Stealing Your Homeschooler's Joy?

None of us set out to intentionally steal our homeschooler’s joy.

It can creep up on us, especially if we have a child who is a pleaser or a child who is especially hard on themselves.

If you are a parent who prides herself on checking off boxes, being “diligent” in your children’s education, and maintaining a predictable schedule, it could easily happen to you.

One day your homeschool is buzzing along - of course you have the occasional bad day (just like everyone else), your children are completing their work - they are even being compliant and diligent.

And then it HITS you. (Or, maybe it doesn’t hit you - which is why I’m writing this post… consider yourself hit.)

Your children - and you, for that matter - have lost their joy. Everyone is functioning and getting the task of homeschooling completed, but the shine, sparkle, and JOY of learning are gone.

It’s happened to me (on multiple occasions), and I want to give us all reminder, pep talk, and encouragement that we need.

Are you stealing your #homeschool child’s joy?

Put Yourself In Your Children’s Shoes

Yesterday it was SO HOT here in Georgia. 93 degrees in the middle of September isn’t right.

I had to get out of the house, so I dropped something off to a friend and then stopped for a cold drink at a cute coffee shop on the way home.

As I was sitting there enjoying this break in the day I thought about my 14-year-old at home. He was at his desk working through his list of assignments for the day. Math, Latin, Debate, Logic, Piano Practice, Reading, Science.

I COULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT.

I had already maxed out after a few hours at home in the morning. I needed a change of scenery, something cool to drink, and a little bit of human interaction (with people not related to me!).

He’s a good worker and puts pressure on himself to finish his assignments each day so he can have free time in the evening. He likes to leave for basketball at 3:30 knowing his schoolwork is complete. I’ve started to feel like he’s almost robotic going through the motions of checking off the boxes.

I immediately was convicted that we need to work on more JOY and flexibility in our homeschool. If I truly put myself in Grant’s shoes I would have been feeling bored and not incredibly inspired to dig much deeper into my subjects than beyond what was simply assigned.

Here’s the Instagram post I made (click if you want to read all of my thoughts and the insightful comments, too!)

Then I also thought back to when my kids were younger.

How many times did I put off the “fun” until all of our work was accomplished? Our best days were those where we put the fun first - and turned our learning into a field trip, hands-on activity, or a game. Because guess what? My college girl now remembers the JOY over the academics.

I know I can’t always scrap a day of school in favor of a day of joy with a teenager who has a challenging curriculum. And, it is important to teach diligence, perseverance, and fortitude - but I also know there are simple ways to make life and learning more joyful - that are applicable to all ages.

5 Ways to Put the Joy Back in Your Homeschool

  • Shock Your Children! Don’t be afraid to hop in the car and go get ice cream. Or, if it’s an excruciatingly hot day, head to the local creek (with swimsuits) and take your current read aloud. Try it - this week do one spontaneous thing that will shock your kids! Depending on the type of parent you are, these activities will vary, right?

  • Change Your School Location How about going to the local coffee shop to set up for school? Or, if it’s a nice day, how about heading to your favorite outdoor spot to do school? How about you let the kids decide the location (within reason).

  • Go to the Library. Really. It’s so simple, isn’t it? A trip to the library can change everything for the day.

  • Go to the Movies. I did this a few years ago with my kids. I remember it vividly - it was a Thursday and we woke up with everyone in a bad mood. At lunch time we headed to the movie theater to eat popcorn for lunch and see Chimpanzee. The best thing was that there wasn’t another SOUL in the theater. We had the place to ourselves. We learned a lot about chimpanzees and made a memory.

  • Declare a Theme Day You’ve probably heard me talk about our famous Angry Birds Day. I woke the kids up and declared the entire day Angry Birds. We played the game on the iPad. We did a Chalk Pastel art project. We had a physical Angry Birds game. We did all things Angry Birds and it was a blast.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you get the point, right?

GRACE - and Be Vigilant!


Moms, I know we are famous for being our own worst critics. If you feel like you have been guilty of stealing your homeschooler’s JOY, remember that GRACE abounds.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You care enough to homeschool your kids. I always contend that my kids worst day in our homeschool was better than any day in public school.

Just remember to be vigilant - on the lookout for kids that seem to have lost their spark and love of learning.

Put yourself in your child’s shoes every now and then and see how YOU are feeling about learning.

I pray we all can be intentional about joy in our homeschoolers’ lives.

Do you have a way you spark joy in your homeschooler? Share it with me in the comments below!

When Your Homeschooler Goes to College

Moms, it’s HARD to step back from homeschooling your child.

We made the homeschool journey to college and now I’m passing off the baton.

Being replaced (well - replaced in the educational facilitator role at least) is an odd feeling.

For the past 18 years I’ve had a front row seat to everything in her life. Now it’s time to start moving to the balcony.

So many times in the past few months I’ve had BIG revelations (which I’m also considering affirmations) about how homeschooling high school has prepared my child for this next step in her life.

When your homeschooler goes to college it is difficult on a mama’s heart - but also wonderful at the same time.

When Your #Homeschooler Goes to College

While I grieve the daily presence of my daughter, my heart rejoices at the young woman she is becoming, and I absolutely love watching her tackle this next phase of her life. As I watch her fly I KNOW we made the best educational choices for her.

When your homeschooler goes to college you will watch any homeschool doubts you had vanish into the past.

Hard Times in the Rearview Mirror

I was always very honest with you about some of the hard times we had throughout homeschooling.

In my daughter’s homeschooling years we watched my mother battle cancer and pass away. We moved my father into an Assisted Living center. We watched my father-in-law decline and pass away.

These things are HARD when you are a teenager. (They are hard when you are in your forties and raising a teenager.) We kept going with homeschool and stuck together as a family. We found comfort in being TOGETHER each day and not apart.

Many days I just wished I could enroll my children in school. We actually toured private schools when my daughter was at the end of seventh grade. It took me a while to understand that I had to follow my child through high school - let her take the lead.

Guess what? Those times are behind us now.

I look in the rearview mirror and see experiences that grew and changed us. As my daughter and I have been talking about these things she agrees. Do you know how much good that does a mama’s heart?

When Your #Homeschool Child Goes to College

Confidence for the Future

Homeschooling gave my daughter some very specific skills that I am hopeful will serve her well in college:

  • organization (the child uses a bullet journal to keep herself incredibly organized - much more organized than me!)

  • communication skills (She knows how to speak to and email with adults - this is coming in very handy with her professors and advisor even before classes begin)

  • social skills (ironic, huh? Because of her involvement with multiple age groups in high school, she is great at walking into new situations and meeting new people)

  • money management (We made learning about money skills a priority - she has had her own checking account since the 9th grade and pays for everything on her own at this point. She understands how to transfer money, save money, and budget money. This is HUGE.)

  • time management (She’s been managing her own schedule for two full years. I think this will help her transition to the “freedom” college will offer.)

Mom Begins A New Journey

As a child leaves the nest you will still be mothering. You will obviously, however, have more time.

This article spoke to my heart. Motherhood (being a homeschooling mom) is not my defining role.

I still have another child at home to educate, but he will be leaving home soon, too. My identity is in Christ - not in how or who I homeschool.d

(Plus, now I will be spending much more time on my SQUILT Music Appreciation Curriculum, which brings me great joy!)

And let me recommend the book Release My Grip - it has been a wonderful source of encouragement for me.

A New Relationship Begins

I am enjoying a new relationship with my daughter - one where I am NOT her teacher.

(Can you hear me rejoicing in that?)

I have loved homeschooling her, but now it’s just great to be her MOM. And even more wonderful is the development of a friendship.

My own mother and I shared a beautiful relationship, and I can see this taking place now with my daughter. I am so thankful.

When Your #Homeschool Child Goes to College

Pay it Forward

I feel strongly about this.

I now have a responsibility to encourage and assist other homeschool moms in the trenches.

We need each other. We need the emotional support. We need the nitty gritty sharing of details on how to get to graduation with our homeschoolers.

If you have graduated a homeschooler, help someone else behind you. If you haven’t graduated someone yet, ask someone older than you for help.

(Have you joined my private Facebook group, Equipping Homegrown Learners? This is where I love to encourage people.)

The next time I write to you I will have delivered Anna to college. I can’t promise I won’t cry, but I will try and hold it together until we are in the car and making the drive home to Atlanta.

I remember my dad telling me that my mom cried the whole way home after they took me to college. I thought that was so silly.

I wish she was alive now so I could tell her I understand.

Moms, have faith. The homeschool journey is difficult, wonderful, messy, and joyful.

When our child gets to that next phase in their life I think you’ll see it’s all been worth it!