I love homeschooling my kiddos.
But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I felt fearful, nervous, inadequate, and unsure. I read homeschooling blogs and posts from homeschooling moms who seemed to be so good at schedules and crafts and organization. I began to feel like I had no business homeschooling. I’m not organized, I’m not detailed, and I’m not into crafts or strict schedules.
But I know now that those aren’t the requirements for homeschooling.
I also know now I’m a Type-B mom. And I’m finally okay with that. But before I
accepted embraced who I was, I almost quit.
I remember sitting down on a friend’s couch and telling her that I thought I should just put my kids in school. I wasn’t cut out for homeschooling, and I didn’t want my kids to miss out. I felt so torn up about it. What to do?
On the drive home from her house, I called another homeschooling friend who put her daughter in private school for a year and I explained my thoughts and asked her for advice. She asked me this question, “Why did you decide to homeschool?”
Good question. I somehow hadn’t even considered it in such a long time I had forgotten about it. But there it was: Why?
I said to her, “I want to disciple my kids, and teach them according to their bents and strengths. I want to do life with them and help along, preparing them for the world.”
And there it was. The biggest thing was that I wanted to be with them, discipling them, day in and day out. Yes, I want them to have a strong education, but first and foremost I want to teach them how to live.
It was that conversation that reminded me of the beauty of homeschooling, and further more, it made me realize I didn’t have to homeschool according to how anyone else did it. I could tailer our homeschooling to my personality and our unique family dynamics. Recognizing this truth was a game-changer for our family. And now, I am not fearful, and am much better at not comparing myself to other homeschool moms. I am enjoying homeschooling, and I adore watching my kids grow into who God fashioned them to be.
Here are a few things I’ve learned that led to me enjoying homeschooling…
5 Ways to Enjoy Homeschooling
Know Your Why (and Revisit it Often)
Do you have a “why”?
When my friend asked me why I was homeschooling, it brought me to the core of the matter. It made me think about the purpose behind why I am giving myself to this work of educating my children. And you know, once I answered that question, it was a fresh wind to my soul, and felt excited and delighted to homeschool again.
That was two years ago and I still find it such a joy to home educate.
Embrace Who You Are
There is accepting yourself and there is embracing yourself. I say, embrace the beautiful person that God wove you together to be. Sure, you have your quirks, your shortfalls, and there is that pesky sin-nature, but the core of who you are, all that color stuffed inside your soul from the Master Artist, that’s you. And your personalty is God-given and I believe He delights in it, because when you are fully you, He is fully glorified. To deny who you are, or to try and be like someone else, is to deny His handiwork. So maybe you’re not into details, or maybe you rock at them, either way, be you in how you homeschool and you will experience great joy in the process.
Go With What Works for Your Family
Everyone has a different family dynamic. What works for me isn’t going to necessarily work for you. Figure out the unique chemistry of your people and go with it. Do you like to sleep in and get school going late morning over pancakes? Great! Do you like watching the sun rise and hitting the ground running? Great! Strict schedule keeper? Rock it. Flexible, do school throughout the day mom? Cool. We are all different, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to homeschool. Figure out your family puzzle (as Sally says), and get on with it!
Don’t Push Your Kids Before They’re Ready
Each child learns at a different rate. The beauty of homeschooling is that you don’t have to push them before they’re ready. You can watch and observe as they grow and how they learn, and push gently when the time is right. You’ll know. You gain confidence the more you do this homeschooling thing. I used to think I had to understand how my children learned before we even began, and it overwhelmed me! I finally let that go and just did my best, and it became evident when something was or was not working. I didn’t have to force understanding it, it just presented itself.
Here’s the thing, I once read or heard (can’t remember where) this illustration that helped me in teaching my kids: If you look at a class photo, the kids are different heights. You might have an extremely tall child, or a short child, and varying heights in between. That is what it’s like inside a child, it’s just that we can’t see it, and so we tend to treat children as if they’re all in the same place mentally. The reality is, they aren’t. With homeschooling you have the opportunity to know your child and go at their pace.
My daughter is an avid reader, but my son, who is eight, has struggled. He is still only reading BOB books. But he is improving slowly, and I get to be with him to encourage him and not make him feel anything other than what he is, smart. 🙂
Don’t compare your kids with other kids, and be careful not to push them before they are ready. You’ll know.
How does this make homeschooling more enjoyable? You won’t be fearful, you won’t be pulling your hair out when your child isn’t understanding something, and there won’t be nearly as many tears. Unfortunately, the pressure is on for kids, and they feel it, and it is causing unneeded stress in their little bodies. Let them be who they are. Let them enjoy schooling (okay, they won’t enjoy all of it!). Let them be kids and play and for goodness sake, it’s okay if they don’t know world history by first grade!
I’ll end this section by sharing with you what my mentor shared with me, “If you want your children to be brilliant, read to them tons (and give them good books), have them around adults, and play good music!” 😉
Put Blinders On
Honestly, I have avoided our local homeschool conference for two years because I didn’t want to get neurotic about our educational choices. I know that if I go and look at all the thousands of choices, I will compare, fret, and get overwhelmed. It seems there is always something I could be doing better, and wouldn’t you know XYZ has just the product to help me! And ya’ll, I’m a sucker for it. Avoiding the choices the last two years has been very good for me, and I’ve been happier for it, I’m sure. Irony alert: I got asked to speak at CHAP this year, our local homeschool convention! Ha! So, I will be there, but if you see me, remind me to put my blinders on! 😉
Just as an FYI, I don’t there is anything wrong with looking over curriculum choices at a conference, and I’m sure I’ll do it this year, since I’ll be there. The point is that once you make your decision, be confident in it! Go forward, no comparing, no looking back! And this goes for what you read online as well. If you aren’t encouraged by it, bop away and move on! You are you, you are woven uniquely by God, and you are able to school your babes!
Here’s to the delight of homeschooling!
P.S. Get The Type-B Homeschool Plan (lesson planning for the rest of us) for only $2.99 by clicking HERE!
If I let my house go for a few days, it becomes overwhelming to clean. I look around at the piles and the papers and I purpose in my heart that I am going to become a minimalist and just throw everything away.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with my house and my to-do list, I think, “Slow and steady. One step at a time.” My friend Amy taught me that, and I’m learning…slow and steady. Pick that up. Put it away. Wash that dish, sweep, put on some music, fold clothes, do a little dance with my kids, keep on. Slow and steady.
And when my heart hurts and the waves of discouragement come full on, I have to slow and steady myself. Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One. Slow and steady is how I make it through some days.
Whatever it is today, your home, your seemingly out-of-control child, your work, your marriage, your soul, think, “Slow and steady.”
One step a time, one day at a time, slow and steady, you’ll make it.
I have been really neurotic about something lately.
My book cover. And the fact that my new book is on Amazon.
That’s not actually the neurotic part. I have been trying to figure out WHEN to show you the book the cover. Do I wait until close to the release date? (August 4th.) Do I show the cover but not mention that it’s on Amazon? There must be some strategy to all of the this, right?! Timing! I know it seems silly, but this is what we author’s go through.
Finally, I decided to go for a walk.
It’s a beautiful day here in PA, and I just needed to get out and think and pray and feel the sun on my face. I took a stroll around my neighborhood, and as I was rounding the last curve, heading back up to my house, it occurred to me to ask myself, “What would bring me joy?”
Such a simple question. One I had neglected in all my over-thinking and worrying about strategy.
“It would bring me joy to share my book with my readers.”
And there it is, because I want to.
Friends, I have been holding onto this secret of a cover since September! And I have been working on this book for two years. TWO YEARS. And it’s finally finished.
Yesterday I wrote a post about choosing to wake up to my own life and live. My new book is about that choice, and what I did and how I woke up and how I am now changed.
I am living. I am choosing. I am happy. Happy isn’t always a word we like to use in Christianity, and I get it, but I’m happy. And I’m finally okay with that. I enjoy my life, not because everything is always great, but because I’m here. I’m in it. I don’t want to miss it.
This book is my story and my awakening and my life. And I am so excited and thankful to be able to finally share it with you.
Here she is!!!!
Okay, now I’m naked and there is my book. I mean, I’m not actually naked, but it feels like it when you show the world your new book. But I love her. And I love her cover. Isn’t she so beautiful?!
I have prayed over this book, that it would bring relief to those who need it, who need to know that their longings matter to God.
This book is my unfolding, my evolution from being stuck to getting unstuck, to learning how to live and choose and enjoy my life, right where I am. And it’s for you, the woman who is trying to navigate the tensions between her dreams and her reality. It’s for the woman who feels like she’s going under, the woman who wants to live but isn’t sure how to get out of feeling that life is rolling over her in waves. It’s for you, the woman who is longing for something maybe she can’t even name, but her soul is aching for it. And it’s for you, the woman who is craving beauty and art and travel, but is in a reality that doesn’t allow for that right now.
It’s all for you, and for me, because I believe that fully-alive women are not only able to keep on, but they can (and will) change the world. (Tweet that.)
Soon I will be able to share even more, and of course there will be fun and surprises, but for now, here she is.
If you’d like to pre-order her (YOU DO, YOU DO), you can do that here…
Get it on Amazon
Get it on Barnes & Noble
If you just pre-ordered, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! Also, hang on to your receipt…there will be goodies coming your way as we get closer to the release date… 😉
Well, there it is. And now you know what would bring me joy? A salted caramel mocha and a salad, while sitting outside watching my children play on this beautiful day. So I’m going to do that.
Here’s to life and longings and our stories and joy!
Love, Sarah Mae
A hotel room, pizza, and my girl. Great choice.
I remember the morning I sat up in my bed and thought, “If something doesn’t change, I’m not going to make it.”
Life had become like water. I couldn’t catch it; it just kept slipping through my fingers. I felt so behind, so robotic, so stuck. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I get myself together? Why couldn’t I do the things I wanted to do?
I just felt tired and overwhelmed, and many days, defeated.
But that morning in my bed, I decided I wanted to live; I didn’t just want to go through the motions.
And it was that day I purposed to wake up to my own life and choose it. No one was going to do it for me. Whatever it was that clicked in me that morning made me see that I didn’t want to regret my life. I didn’t want to look back one day and see that I missed it.
It’s such a funny thing when you become a mom. You lose yourself to it in the most beautiful way. You give of yourself, you sacrifice, and it’s good and you wouldn’t change it. But then one day you wake up and you think, “Who am I now?” You have to figure out a new normal. You’re you, but you’re different. So this waking up I was doing was more then just getting out of a funk; it was figuring out a new way to live in this mother-self-skin.
“Daily life is very seductive. Weeks go by and we forget who we are.”
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
I committed to making small changes over a period of several months in order to wake up to my life. I experimented with myself, trying all sorts of things having to do with self-discipline, diet, mothering, spiritual depth, figuring out who I was (and accepting myself), and learning to serve out of who God created me to be. I basically boot-camped my own life. And it worked. It woke me up.
I haven’t shared too much about here, but overtime I will. But what I want to share with you today are the two initial things that changed the course of my life: 1.) I chose to live, and 2.) I fought for it.
Choosing to Live
I literally had to say out loud, “I’m going to choose to live my life.”
It was a light bulb moment for me to awaken to the fact that I could choose my life. That God, in His kindness, gave us minds and hearts and guts and bodies to be able to choose how we want to live; He gave us the ability to think and make decisions and act on them. It seems so obvious, right? But life does this thing to you sometimes where you just feel like you have no choice, like you just have to roll where the waves take you.
I know now that’s not entirely true.
We might not be able to change our personalities or our circumstances, but we can make daily decisions that affect our whole life. We can choose to say and believe that we were made for more than a mediocre, just-get-by existence. We are made to live and live fully; a half-dead people cannot be effective in the Kingdom, but a fully-alive people? Watch out. Life calls forth life, and if you are alive, you can call forth life in others. (Tweet.)
I am choosing to live because it matters. It matters to God, it matters to my family, and it matters to me. I want to enjoy life, and God, and His people, and the glory all around me. And when I do that, I am in a soul-alive place where I can help others. Yea, it matters.
But you have to choose it or life will pull you under.
Choosing to Fight
Once I chose, I had to face the reality that it wasn’t going to come easy. I was going to have to fight. I had to make plans, and begin again and again.
Because my plans fail and because my body sometimes fails, and my hormones course through me and make me crazy. But I keep on. I’m fighting. I have a vision to live and enjoy and be delighted in and bring God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth in creative ways. So yea, it’s imperfect, but it’s faithful. It’s something. It’s slow and steady, one day at a time. I will live today.
And when I can’t fight, when I’m feeling battle worn, He fights for me. And He will fight for you.
He sees our broken places; He doesn’t forget.
You are not alone, and I am not alone. We are in a sisterhood, together, and together we can make it.
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
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Today was a glorious day.
I sat on a big white blanket under a glorious sky and watched as my children fished, bicycled around a park, and played. But I didn’t always watch. Some of the time I lied down, closed my eyes, and enjoyed the sun warming my face. My husband sat on a bench and read a book.
The kids played and they were fine and I didn’t have to watch them the whole time. I didn’t have to chase after them. I didn’t have to entertain them.
Every now and then my oldest would come over and sit with me and we’d laugh about something or talk or just rest together. It was wonderful.
I kept thinking how much I wanted to tell moms of little ones, “It gets better!” The kind of better where you can not only breathe and relax on a beautiful day, but that your kids are your friends.
Not only will you not have to watch them every minute, not only will you get to close your eyes under the sun, not only will you be able to get a full night sleep, you will be able to enjoy a sweet friendship with your child. A friendship where you have actual conversations and share opinions and personality and tenderness and giggles. It is wild and awesome and such a gift.
So here it is, moms of little ones: It gets better! Your time is coming. Hang in there. The best is yet to come.
P.S. If you’re in the desperate stage of mothering, this might help. 😉