Everyone wants to know “the secret.” The secret to losing weight while eating whatever you want. The secret to making a million dollars while lying on the beach sipping a cold drink. In fact, people make millions of dollars selling the “secrets” to those things, and a thousand things more.
I know you were probably hoping I was going to fill you in on the one curriculum that would make everything from teaching phonics to rocket science easy-peasy. And I will say that I don’t think that homeschooling has to be a painful process that you somehow get through by the skin of your teeth.
However, there is this thing called “life” that has a tendency to throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans. In fact, there are times when life can be downright painful, wrenching, and traumatic. I’ve been there, so I know.
And when life gets difficult, many homeschoolers are tempted to throw in the towel and call it a day. I’m here to say, “Don’t.”
Homeschooling Through the Hard Times
It is possible to continue to homeschool even when life gets difficult, painful, or overwhelming. I’ve done it and so have thousands of other homeschoolers. The “secret” to homeschooling through the hard times is the same secret to homeschooling successfully when things are going well, or when you’re bored, or feeling tied down, or whatever you may be feeling or going through.
The secret to successful homeschooling is this: commitment.
Yes, it’s unglamorous. Commitment. That’s it.
My last post dealt with battling fear, and I pointed out that it was something of a lead-in to this post. Because sometimes sticking with homeschooling means battling your fears: your fear of failure, your fear that you’ll “miss” something and your children will suffer. There are many fears that homeschoolers face, but as I pointed out in my last post, the way to overcome those fears is to face them. To battle them. To refuse to run and to refuse to surrender.
Commitment and battling your fears go hand-in-hand. If you are committed to homeschooling, or any worthy endeavor, you are more likely to battle your fears. A lack of commitment will cause you to find excuses to run, to surrender.
Face Your Fears
If you have a fear related to homeschooling, face it. Recognize what it is. Consider whether there is any legitimacy to this fear. Perhaps you feel that a certain subject is not your strong suit. Fine. Hire a tutor or enroll your child in an online course to address that subject.
Perhaps you are afraid your family won’t understand and will object to you homeschooling your child. Let me tell you, most homeschoolers deal with that to some degree. You’ll survive. These are your children to raise. I think you’ll find as time goes on that people will come around, once they see the success your children are experiencing.
There’s lots of good advice out there on what curriculum to use for what subject and how to overcome learning challenges your child might have. Hopefully you’re finding good advice right here on this blog! But when it comes right down to it, without a commitment to homeschooling all that good advice will only take you so far.
Why Do You Homeschool?
Sometimes the key to acquiring that commitment to homeschooling is looking at why you started homeschooling in the first place. For my family, I simply didn’t want to subject my children to the humanistic brainwashing that takes place in the public schools on a daily basis. And not only are private schools expensive, but as I learned from the one year I had my daughter in a private Christian school (for kindergarten) even a private Christian school may not teach my values.
Over the years I’ve found many other reasons to continue homeschooling. I’m convinced, for instance, that my children would not be as close as they are if I had not homeschooled them, especially since they are so far apart in ages. If I had not homeschooled my children I doubt that I would have heard my 10-year old say, as he did a few months ago, that “having a big brother like Billy is like having a compass for my life.” (Billy is my 24-year old son.)
Homeschooling does often mean putting aside your own interests and desires. I’m not going to paint you a rosy picture to give you the impression that I haven’t had my struggles or that my children never bicker (in fact, my 19-year old and 24-year old sons think that ANY subject is fair game for debate, even if it’s over what color the grass is!)
But that’s where commitment comes in. Lately I’ve been reminded of something Larry Burkett used to say on his Christian financial radio show: Do you trust God, or do you just say you trust God?
I think you could say that about homeschooling. What are the reasons you are homeschooling? If your reasons for homeschooling are not strong enough to survive the storms of life, then are you really committed to it? If not, why not? My guess is that if you are not committed to homeschooling, there is probably a fear lurking somewhere. And you already know how what I think about surrendering to fear!
My purpose in this post is not to judge anyone. It is to challenge you. Sometimes we need to be challenged. Sometimes we need to dig deep down and look at our motivations and see whether we are living according to our principles and beliefs, or if we are letting life and the difficulties and fears that come our way determine our course.
The secret to homeschooling success is commitment. You commit to staying the course. You realize that the sacrifices are worth it.
Many years ago God gave me a Bible verse that He revealed to me was to be my homeschooling Bible verse – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NIV)
If we don’t give up. If we make that commitment to homeschooling we will reap the fruit of our endeavors.
The bottom line is, it’s a decision. This homeschooling journey is a decision that we make to stay the course. And if we do, if we “run the race that is set before us” we will receive the prize. In fact, I can tell you that the rewards and fruits of homeschooling are beyond what you can imagine. To see your children walking in righteousness, in integrity, in favor before God and man, is a powerful and worthy reward.
I thank God for homeschooling. I really do. I am so thankful he led me to homeschool and I’m so thankful he revealed to me that by His grace I can homeschool through anything.
In my next post I am going to offer some practical tips for how to homeschool even when the storms of life are blowing strong. I know it’s one thing to tell you that the secret to homeschooling success is commitment…sometimes we need some practical help too. And that’s what I am going to share with you next time. I hope you’ll stick around!