Written by: Laura Booz
My New Year’s Resolution: I want to stop complaining about the sacrifices I make as a homeschool mom. When I complain, I pull us all down and I miss out on the joy of glorifying God. So, I'm asking the Lord for grace to cherish my life at home with my kids. I'm keeping my eyes open for the things in our day that are good for me personally and I'm thanking God for each one.
Guess what? I'm discovering that most of our day - the same day in which I work so hard to bless my kids - is full of blessings for me.
As you and I build good homes for our children, we're building good homes for ourselves, too. After all, we all - man, woman, and child - thrive in the same atmosphere and benefit from things that are good, true, and beautiful. Homeschooling is good for me because the things I work hard to incorporate into our day for my children's sake, enrich me too. All I have to do is notice and give thanks.
I want to share ten ways that our homeschool day is good for me, in hopes of inspiring you to look for ways that homeschooling is good for you.
Let's enjoy our lives as homeschool moms and thank God for every good gift!
Before breakfast, I lead our kids in The Lord's Prayer. I'm so glad I do! It reminds me that we have a loving Heavenly Father. It helps me to trust Him and to want what He wants for our day. Then we read the Bible together. I keep this morning ritual for my children's sake, but I find God using it to restore my own soul. Do you begin your child's day with prayer or Bible reading? I encourage you to tune in and take it personally. It's part of your day, too.
Whenever I open the windows to fill my children's lungs with fresh air, I am filling my own lungs with fresh air, too.
I try to get us outside every day. After the rigamarole of socks, shoes, hats, mittens & coats, we step outside, and I look up at the sky. I think about our Creator. We walk down the lane, singing a favorite song as we go (on a good day). Maybe the kids play for an hour! Or maybe someone trips and falls. Maybe someone gets cold or hot or irritated and we head inside early, but even if we're only outside for fifteen minutes, the sun has kissed my face and I feel my blood pumping. Let yourself enjoy the great outdoors with your child. Look for interesting things in nature. Take a deep breath.
I love to gather the kids around the piano to sing. One of the kids may play a drum; another the violin. A toddler may grab a harmonica. One of my favorite songs goes like this:
“My worth is not in what I own,
not in the strength of flesh and bone,
but in the costly wounds of love,
at the Cross.”
Even if some of the kids are whining, we can still sing. I hold the baby on my lap, her hair tickling my cheek, and I remember, as the song goes, to “rejoice in my Redeemer, greatest treasure, well-spring of my heart." I need this regular reminder even when the singing is chaotic, interrupted, or less-than-harmonious.
Is singing part of your child's homeschool curriculum? Try singing along! Does it restore your soul?
During our homeschool day, we work on memorizing poetry and Scripture. I find that while I am giving my children good things to think about, I am filling my own mind with good things, too. I am developing a stronger memory and building a store of good thoughts to keep me company throughout the day.
We look at artwork or nature together. We make art together. I pull down my own sketch book from the shelf and do my best. Other times I gather some props and teach a life-lesson about kindness, courage, or sharing, and I listen to myself as I teach the children. I’m forever thinking, “Oh, how I needed this lesson today.”
I read aloud to help the kids understand history, science, and humanity. All the while, I am growing and learning. My master’s degree in English literature doesn’t compare to my education over the past 12 years of homeschooling! Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to read widely and deeply across the disciplines. I understand and appreciate literature, science, and history more than ever before. I'm so grateful! (In fact, I joke that my objective in homeschooling is to provide my kids with a pleasant-enough experience so that they may homeschool their own children some day and finally get an education.)
I encourage you to let yourself learn right alongside your child.
I work hard to enhance our chicken nuggets and frozen pizza with nourishing foods like blueberries, cantaloupe, oatmeal, almonds, and eggs. Every time I feed the kids well, I eat well, too. We sit down together, talk, and laugh. My sense of humor may be stuck at a fifth-grade level forever, but sharing a lunch table with my kiddos is good for me, through and through.
Do you enjoy a boisterous lunch table with your kids? Or, perhaps, you enjoy having lunch all by yourself when the kids are napping. Whatever suits you, I hope you see it as a blessing from God. Your daily bread. Nourishment for your body and soul.
Like every other family, we have our fair-share of whining, bad attitudes, and disagreements. The stress of living in a fallen world weighs on each of us. But as we ask our Heavenly Father to help – to forgive us and fill us with His love and wisdom - we enjoy His peace. We learn how to overlook offenses, address offenses, share, ask forgiveness, and extend the grace we’ve been given in Christ. The daily upkeep of our relationships builds my faith, sanctifies me, and beckons me to rely on Jesus.
In the everyday moments of discipleship look for God's good gifts to you, personally. He sees you, loves you, and will give you what you need as you care for the people in your family.
In the afternoon, we enjoy a “quiet time” so the children can read—each one in his or her special spot with a book in hand. I may brew some tea and invest that hour in writing and reading (two of my personal passions). It’s rarely interruption-free, but my work during that hour is deeply satisfying. The peace and quiet restores all of us.
What restores you? How can you build this into your regular homeschool schedule? Or is it already there just waiting to be appreciated?
One of the things I love about homeschooling is the opportunity it avails for the kids to serve people during the day. I look for opportunities for us to babysit, help neighbors, make meals, or send cards to people. As it turns out, I’m usually the one who must face my own selfishness. With every opportunity to reach out to others, my own heart is warmed. I learn how to depend on God’s grace. I learn how to love.
Look for ways that God is working in your own heart through experiences you were hoping would shape your children's hearts.
We love friends! And fun! I plan playdates for the kids’ enjoyment, but I gain just as much from our friendships. While the kids play, I get to chat, listen, laugh, and enjoy their antics. Of course, I love when my mom-friends stick around, too. We’ve played “moms vs. kids” kickball games, hiked mountains, and celebrated dolly Thanksgivings together. These get-togethers take effort and energy, but I wouldn't trade them for the world.
Never underestimate the importance of friends... for you! As you help your child develop good relationships, let yourself enjoy these friendships, too.
I want my kids to have adventures! To discover! And wonder! A couple of times a month, we venture into the great unknown. In the past, I've focused on how much this costs me personally - the energy and time - but I've started to notice that I have my own adventures along the way. I, too, discover and wonder. It wakes me up. It makes me a more interesting person. It teaches me more about God and the world He has made. Adventuring is often hard work. It rarely goes according to plan. It never plays out like a storybook, but each adventure means just as much to me as it does to my kids.
Do you like adventuring? I encourage you to look for ways that it enriches you. Take pictures. Keep a journal. This life is a glorious gift from God!
I'm sitting here chuckling because I feel exhausted from writing this list. I certainly don’t do these things every day. They’re just aspects of homeschooling that I work hard to create when possible. The point is, I could whine about the effort it takes and the ways it never goes according to plan, or I could notice the profound blessings I receive from each incredible experience along the way.
When we work hard to bring sunlight, fresh air, beauty, truth, goodness, exercise, music, literature, adventure, traditions, celebration, service, fun and friendship into our children’s lives, we bring them into our own lives, too. May you discover the goodness of motherhood and homeschooling for yourself. I hope you, too, can see glimpses of how you are blessed from the good things you are giving to your child. Whether you dance, read, work, play, or snuggle, look for the good gifts God is giving you through homeschooling.
Expect Something Beautiful in Motherhood - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.
Teach Your Baby to Read: The Secrets to a Literary Education - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.
Homeschooling with Babies & Toddlers - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.
Encourage Your Child to High Standards While Homeschooling - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.
Why (and How) to Read-Aloud to Babies & Toddlers - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.
How to Help Your Child Do What You Say - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.
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