Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years or are just getting started, we all run into rough patches along the way. You can find joy in your homeschool journey and enjoy this amazing experience with your kids!
HOMESCHOOLING CAN BE A REMARKABLE ADVENTURE
Teaching your children at home provides the opportunity for one-on-one instruction that can be tailored to their unique interests, needs, strengths, and challenges. It’s also a great way to foster a genuine love of learning, which can be a rich, interactive, unhurried endeavor in the nurturing environment of home and family.
As a parent, you are uniquely qualified to provide instruction for your children. And homeschooling is so much more than academics. Not only are you teaching your children math, science, grammar, and history, you are also teaching them important life skills and character qualities—and most importantly faith in God.
HOMESCHOOLING HAS ITS CHALLENGES
Homeschooling is work. Sometimes hard work. It requires effort, time, and diligence. And let’s face it, our kids aren’t always cooperative or motivated. Your child may have learning needs that require extra attention or special care or perhaps you have a baby or toddler in the mix. And homeschooling isn’t the only responsibility you have either. In addition to running your home and feeding your family, you might also work a job, be a caregiver for an aging parent, or any number of additional responsibilities. It’s no wonder we grow weary and lack motivation ourselves sometimes.
When things are challenging, you might be tempted to do nothing more than spend the day—or several days—watching videos, everyone still in their pajamas, eating cereal on the couch. The day-to-day reality and hard work of teaching and raising children can dull the shine of this remarkable adventure if we’re not careful to keep joy in our hearts and homes.
JOY IS A GIFT TO STRENGTHEN YOU
Homeschooling does not need to be drudgery or a grind, however. You CAN find your motivation and get into a good rhythm for homeschooling and family life. The key is finding—and keeping—joy.
The joy of the Lord truly is your strength. I’ve found it helpful to look at joy as a priceless treasure—a gift that I am responsible for protecting and safeguarding. Joy is mine to keep or to yield, and I’ve discovered that it is too precious a gift to allow it to be stolen or eroded. Joy does not mean that life is all sunshine and rainbows, free from difficulties. It does, however, bring strength and peace along with the ability to see beauty and blessing, even in the most challenging times.
FIVE QUICK TIPS FOR CULTIVATING JOY
1. Look at today with the end in mind
Ask yourself what you want to have accomplished during this season of raising and homeschooling your children. When your last child has graduated, how do you want to feel as you look back at your homeschool years? Make choices today, moment by moment, that help create that future.
2. Plant good seeds
Like a gardener tending to her garden, you are doing good work planting seeds in your children’s minds and hearts that will reap a harvest in their future and for generations to come. Don’t grow impatient or weary in this good work. It takes time for seeds to take root, grow, and bear fruit.
3. Actively seek joy
Teach yourself and your children to look for joy. When you’re having a rough day, stop and look for blessings together with your children. Ask: What can we be thankful for right now? What is going right in our homeschool? Focus on the beauty and the blessings and you will find joy seeping in, bringing with it strength and peace.
4. Order promotes peace
I’m a firm believer that order promotes peace. Having daily routines and at least basic order in your home can go a long way toward less stress, less chaos, and greater joy! Look for simple ways you can foster a peaceful environment that lends itself to joyful learning and living in your home.
5. Enjoy your children
Your children are a gift from God. Look them in the eye and smile at them. Really enjoy each of your children and the learning adventure you’re on together. Whether you have a set school year, or you homeschool year ‘round, there are months ahead of you full of opportunity, discovery, and moments of wonder and awe as you and your kids explore, learn, and grow—together.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8
Nancy Manos is a graduated homeschool mom of two. She taught her daughters from preschool through high school, and found it to be a rich, rewarding, sometimes challenging experience. Nancy has served in homeschool leadership for nearly 20 years and is passionate about encouraging and equipping parents in the home education adventure. Connect with her on Facebook @joyfullynancymanos. Check out the RESOURCES page on her website for some free digital downloads to inspire and refresh you.