Have you believed the enemy’s lie that if you stay home with your children that you’re not doing anything important?
The truth is quite the opposite, you know. There is nothing more important that you could be doing. Even some of us who know better can find ourselves succumbing to his lies without realizing it. I hope to reveal the importance of the attitude we hold towards our job as homeschool moms.
What Difference Does it Make?
If you view homeschooling as a ministry, you’re more likely to protect it and give it the priority that it deserves. In contrast, if you don’t consider it that important, then you’re much more likely to feel guilty if you say “no” when asked to help with other ministries. If you’ve ever kept a change jar, you know how small change can add up to a surprising amount. It’s the same way with seemingly small obligations. By taking on too much, you’ll spread yourself too thin. You won’t feel like you’re doing anything well enough, and that leads to a frazzled mom and wife. That, in turn, leads to a home that is anything but the restful refuge that it is meant to be. You could even find yourself feeling like a failure and debating about putting your kids in school.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 niv)
There will be seasons of life when you will be able to help with other ministries and organizations, but while homeschooling your children, you need to make sure that you don’t whittle away your focus. While guiding our children is an amazing blessing, it is also very draining and can cause a whole range of tiring emotions. How much you commit to outside of your home should be carefully weighed.
Time and Energy
People outside of homeschooling have no idea of the time and energy it requires. Your husband probably has the best viewpoint, and part of his role as the Principal is not only to support you in your teaching efforts by disciplining the children, but also to help protect your time and energy. When someone asks you to help with something, try not to give an immediate answer. Instead, tell them that you’ll pray about it and talk to your husband and that you’ll get back to them. Then do both of those things. Give your husband a chance to help you evaluate the new opportunity and weigh the potential cost to your family responsibilities. If you both come to the conclusion that you should say “no” this time, then politely decline without guilt.
If you are a single homeschooling mother then you can still tell them that you’ll get back to them. Pray about it and seek God’s guidance in the matter. It may also be helpful to discuss it with a fellow homeschooling mother, or other supporter. You have even more on your shoulders, so its even more important for you to be deliberate in your commitments.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 niv)
The Mission Field at Home
How does your thinking change if you view your home as a mission field? By teaching your children from a Christian perspective, they will learn that history is really His-story. It’s the story of the spread of the Good News. You will probably learn many new things yourself as you learn the whole truth, not just the part someone wanted you to learn. You’ll be able to study the Bible, memorize scripture, and use it for writing practice. It can be woven throughout every facet of your homeschool and your children’s lives. What can be more important than teaching your children God’s word and helping them build their faith on solid rock? You can read about one homeschooled young lady’s experience in her article, “How Homeschooling Protected My Faith.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 kjv)
When talking to other homeschool moms, I was surprised to learn that some of them had become Christians themselves as a result of homeschooling. An unbelieving husband may also be positively influenced.
“How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16 niv)
Now can you see why Satan doesn’t want you to homeschool? And if you’re determined to homeschool, then how he might try a different tactic by playing on your guilt from “staying home and doing nothing” to cause you to overcommit outside your home? To do so will undermine your homeschool, and possibly even your marriage.
From my viewpoint, I can tell you that your homeschooling years will go quickly. Before you know it you’ll be standing where I am, wondering where the time went. You won’t regret focusing your time and energy on your children for that period. When they are grown, you will still have plenty of time for new mission fields. In fact, as your children become more independent, I recommend you start some new pursuits to help you transition from Homeschool Mom to Empty Nester for when that time comes. Homeschooling is a ministry – a commitment you have made to God and your family. Protect it as such and don’t let anything undermine it.
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I was blessed to have some wonderful homeschooling friends as examples. It is so important to guard your time and energy. So many times I was asked if I would join this or do that, but I explained that my time wasn’t my own, “school” came first. I don’t regret it at all, but I do miss it now that the children are grown up!
I’m glad to hear that you feel as I do. No regrets. I treasure that time with my kids.
Earlier this year, I was struggling because I hadn’t been able to have guests over as often as I’d like. My dear Pastor’s Wife, (who doesn’t homeschool) told me to remember that homeschooling is like a full-time job. That is a perspective I’ve thought of often when I wonder why I can’t seem to get all that much done even though I’m home all day.
I’m glad she encouraged you that way. I would add that it’s a little different in that at the end of the day with other full-time jobs you get to leave and go home. That’s not true with homeschooling, it’s 24/7. And although that’s true for all stay-at-home mothers, a homeschooling mom takes on the additional responsibility of educating her children which adds more stress.
I love being able to home school Parker. I often wonder if you would be further ahead if he went to school. But I also know that sending him to school would mean a lot more time in the hospital for him as he is so medically fragile.
I doubt he’d be further ahead. Homeschooling is more efficient, and you can cater to his needs.
I’m nearing the “final stretch” of this amazing, exhausting ride called “homeschooling”… 3 more years until my “baby” graduates. And I couldn’t agree with you more, Michelle!
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Homeschooling is a tremendous blessing! Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Completely. One day when we were still very new to homeschooling my oldest asked me about God. That led to Bible lessons with the neighbor woman who was very much a Christian. Before long her interest in God ignited my interest and very much led me to becoming a Christian. Homeschooling started to include Bible lessons at home also. This in turn led four others to Christ! Homeschooling has been and is still today the greatest blessing….hard and scary , but definitely amazing!!!!!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony!
Thank you for this. I think I really needed to hear this today. I know what an amazing opportunity it is to be able to do this for the kids, but I really need the courage to tell people no, and not feel bad that our kids often have no commitments outside of our home right now. We have too many people to take care of, too much to do here to be spending lots of time away from our home. I love the point that you made about it being a ministry. I have never thought of it in those terms, but that is a vital way to look at it.
Thank you for encouraging me. You are doing a good work. May God bless you and give you the strength you need.
I have often thought of it this way, too. My homeschooling ministry takes so much time and energy, I don’t have as much to give others in this season of my life.
I’m glad you think of it that way. For many of us it takes awhile, if ever, to have that realization.
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