“Oh, you have homeschooled before?”
This is a question that I have been asked during my parenting journey. I would smile and say “Yes, but only once!” I would throw my head back and chuckle. The interested person would throw their head back and chuckle because we both knew in that moment that I was not cut out to be a homeschool mom.
I always thought I would be pretty good at it. All the charts, exercise sheets, colouring assignments, etc. Homeschooling felt like it was my kind of thing. Plus, I had a growing concern for what was being taught in the schools.
When we moved from Vancouver to Edmonton, it seemed that this would be a natural time to homeschool. I was so excited to connect with other homeschool moms who seemed to be pros at everything. They walked me through the registration process and pointed me to all the best websites and programs for their children. They patted me on the back and told me I would be awesome.
I was not awesome.
Homeschooling is not my thing. By week two, I could stuff those charts and exercise sheets! My children were not the angelic little people I had built up in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic kids, but they are not angelic! My son had an aversion to anything that required any effort and my daughter had an aversion to the number 7! Yes. You read that correctly. The number 7, people! Anytime she would have to do a math sheet with sevens, the whole world broke apart and Lord help you if you were in the way. Those blasted sevens – she was not alone, I think I have come to develop some issues with the number 7 myself. It is like if it gets mentioned, I duck and look out for any type of object flying at my head.
To top off my super awesome homeschooling abilities, my daughter raised her hand one day during our “school time”. Being the excited, encouraging homeschool mom that I was, I gave her an enthusiastic high-five! When her face did not match my joy but turned to confusion did she quickly point out my mistake. She had to explain to me that she actually had a question and that is what students do when they have questions – raise their hand!
No, my friends, I am not cut out to be a homeschool mom.
Now, here we are: all venturing out to be homeschool parents. For some of you, you got this! You are doing your thing and you love the charts, the exercise sheets, the colouring pages, answering the raised hands. You may have angelic children and you are doing okay with being a homeschool parent.
For others, like myself, this is not your thing. The world is upside down. Perhaps you are working from home. Maybe you are still trying to figure out Google Classroom. Your children show up asking for snacks every fifteen-seconds and you would like to self-isolate in the bathroom.
All. By. Your. Self.
But your darling child is there.
All. the. time!
Do you feel like this? Don’t worry – I get it.
And I know for a fact that you are not alone. I am not here just to write humour into our upside down world but I am also here to bring you encouragement, with maybe a little bit of help along the way.
Hear, O Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on door frames of your house.
This is a fairly common verse when we begin looking at how we are to raise and disciple our children. It is one that we in the church often refer to when we are trying to encourage parents that they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for their children’s spiritual development and discipleship.
As I re-read this verse this week, it occurred to me that this is such a great commandment that we get to live out – loving the Lord our God with all our hearts and our souls and our strength.
Then I thought about my kids: being at home with them all the time with no real break from one another, we are given this amazing commandment, and we have such an honour to talk to our kids all the time about the goodness of God, our love for Him and His great love for us.
Really, think about it.
Especially in this time of uncertainty of not knowing what will happen next, we get to love the Lord our God with everything that is in us, and then we get to share with our kids about it!
Think about if we changed our conversations from COVID-19 to God’s love and promises for our lives?
What if we changed our language around our kids from a place of unknowing, fear and insecurity to a place of God’s promises, love and security in our lives?
Remember this verse:
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
What difference would that make in your family if you spent time being still and allowing God to do His thing, fighting for you?
What difference would that make in the way you view your homeschool days?
I understand that we need to get through our kids’ math and language arts and all that is required of them for school. But what if we also carved out time in our day to be intentional in discipling our children. If this is something that you may have struggled with in the past, perhaps this is your perfect opportunity to start.
What if we created a schedule so that at the same time everyday you get out your bible and read to your kids. Then you share with each other your thoughts about the passage of scripture you read.
There are other amazing tools that you can access, either through our KidZone Parent Resource section on the website or even just through devotional books that you may have at home.
This, my friends, was the one thing that I did love during my very short homeschool career. Spending time really leaning into the word of God with my kids and praying together. It was the one thing that set our days up for whatever life was going to throw at us (those stinking 7s and all). I am not saying that everyday was easy. Far be it (remember I only homeschooled that “one time”).
I am saying, however, that spending time intentionally each day in the Word with your children is a fantastic way to start discipleship in your home.
Parents, you are doing great! This is an unprecedented time for all of us and I think all too often we as parents feel guilty about not being rockstars at everything that is thrown at us, homeschooling included.
But you know what?
You are rocking it!
And this is how I know – you care.
You take the time to learn Google Classroom.
You take the time to sit down with your kid and try to master grade 5 math (stinking fractions).
You take the time to love your kids and that is what matters!
You might not get all of it right. In fact, you won’t. But if you are trying, you are succeeding.
So in the words of a not-so-awesome homeschooling mom – you got this! You are not alone. And you are going to get through this.
Spend time today remembering this: love the Lord your God, talk about that love with your kids, and remind them of God’s great love for us even during this season.