As with anything good, there is the potential for it to become bad.
For the idea, the thing, the doing to become more like a prison than the freedom it once offered. Homeschool is and should be a breath of fresh air, but it can become another point on our parent “martyrdom” list.
How do we avoid homeschool turning into a heavy burden, into something no one looks forward to, and perhaps both parent and child are running fast to the nearest school?
The Family Mission Statement
Remember why you even started this homeschool journey. Go back to your family mission statement and if you haven’t done one yet, then stop right now and read this article for help. Read it aloud with your spouse and ask yourselves if it truly reflects your family. Ask yourselves if it truly reflects Christ because if you are at the beginning of this journey or are in year 10 and you thought homeschool would make you a better mom – think again.
- Homeschool is not the most pleasant way to add followers to your social media.
- Homeschool will not mean all days are nature study, perfect narrations, or fresh baked goods by your 9-year-old.
- Remember the mission that God has called you to and edit it so that it glorifies Him.
Review the Schedule
Our family follows the Charlotte Mason method and one of her most beloved quotes is:
“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” (Charlotte Mason, School Education: Developing A Curriculum)
Charlotte Mason believed that there should be a feast of subjects offered to our children so we hit upon science, math, language arts, literature, history, natural history, biography, art, music, hymn, bible, scripture memory, handicraft, geography, foreign language, nature study, and habit training. Don’t panic! We do not do this entire list every single day. Most of the subjects are twice or once a week. Are you doing too much?
Are you part of a co-op? How many times are you meeting? Perhaps it is more than necessary so you can decide to only go every other week or just once a month. As long as the other families agree then this is okay. If they don’t then maybe it is not the time to be part of a co-op. This is okay too.
Are you trying to have the most detailed, organized, mind-blowing nature study every single month, but now it seems like too much? Edit the schedule. Again, the beauty of homeschooling is its ability to change to you and your family. Have the schedule work for you, not over you.
Which brings us to our next point…
Do Not Have Guilt
My husband always says that you either are guilty or you are not guilty.
Guilt is not a feeling and you, parent of 6 children with 3 still in diapers, do not have guilt because subjects were skipped or entire homeschool days were put to rest moments after they started.
You do not have guilt, dear single-mom who refused to have her child stuck in distance-learning, for deciding to ask a friend to teach math for you.
You do not have guilt, my friend who has realized that it is the want for control that is behind your reason to homeschool.
Guilt can infest us to our very marrow and it has a way to turn into anger and bitterness. All things that are not part of the very fruit given to us by the Holy Spirit. Repent of this and then teach your children out of God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy. When the days are long, hard, tear-filled – cling to that Gospel and know His grace.
Remember Who You Belong To & Allow Rest
If you have realized that burnout has happened or you are right in the middle of it – it is time to rest. It is time to remember the gift we’ve been given in our state of California and that is the right to homeschool. it may not last forever, so do not waste another moment patting yourself on the back, inking every line in your planner, or living out of a title that you have given yourself rather than the title God has given you, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (ESV, Romans 8.16-17).
Now rest, physically and mentally. Rest in who God is, who you belong to, and that it was never God’s intention for parents to complete the job of raising our children. He completes the work that He started. Not us! Hallelujah! The one who is perfect in every way, who prays for our faith, who will return and fully call us back to be wholly with Him – He will be the one who completes our children. This is not our job and it never has or will be our job. We are to train up, invest in, and pray for our children. Allow God to do the rest, fill in the gaps, and finish the job.
Rest, my friends. Imitate, glorify, praise God in all circumstances whether a book was opened or not.
“It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot.” ~Saint Jerome