I’m convinced that the most difficult job in the world is not a rocket scientist, nuclear physicist, or brain surgeon. Without a shadow of a doubt, I believe that illustrious designation belongs to the homeschooling mom.
I should know, after all, because I’m married to one. And if you’re at all like her (and you are), then I know what you’re feeling right about now. It never fails. Two months into the school year, and you are probably ready to throw in the towel. All those happy thoughts you felt BEFORE the first school day are long gone. Those great plans and lofty ideals you had about the glories of learning and enjoying it have been squashed flatter than a possum on the highway.
I’ve seen the look in my own wife’s eyes. She looks like she’s searching for the nearest exit. Even today, she voiced her fatigue:
“I’m just wasting my time!”
“I can barely stomach singing those same stupid learning songs . . .”
“She is NEVER going to read!!!”
“Maybe homeschooling isn’t the best!!”
Now, I know she wouldn’t quit homeschooling our children . . . but still, I wonder. The lies are coming fast and furious, the doubt is overwhelming . . . the feelings of failure pervade, and the waves of fatigue are swelling and the skies stormy.
Now hear ME, Sailor-MOM!!! Hoist the mizzen mast, something-or-other the mainsail, batten down the hatches . . . we’re sailing into choppy waters (the waters are always choppy). BUT steady as she goes. Do not veer or swerve from your course, because you’re right on target!!!
Thirty years ago, I remember reading a story about a woman who was going to swim a large body of water (it may have been the English Channel or the Atlantic Ocean). She was strong and had trained for that moment and was ready when the big day arrived.
The sky was blue and the sun shining as she stepped into the water, but somewhere along the way a thick sea-fog rolled in, blinding the swimmer. Trying to get her bearings, she would stop, tread water, and then, unable to see even three feet ahead of her, dip her head back in the water and keep swimming. As the fog clouded her vision, doubt and lies clouded her thoughts. As her hope faded, her legs and arms turned to lead, and she finally gave up and climbed into the little boat that was trailing her.
The reason I still remember the story is because moments after she gave up, the little boat broke out of the fog and was right by the shore. The truth was: she was right on target. She would have reached her goal . . . but the fog clouded her vision and caused her to believe the lie that she was off-course, and she acted on it. There’s a lesson to be learned for homeschooling moms.
Mom, you may feel like you're failing and that everyone else’s kids are light-years ahead of your children. . . . BUT the truth is you are right on target. And, here’s one unshakable truth you’re going to want to hang onto: home is the best place for your children and you are the best teacher for them. So keep swimming!!!
I know you doubt that truth and wonder if your kids would be better off “away” from your home . . . away from you, but that is a LIE. Home is the best place for children. It’s the best place to learn, and YOU’RE the best person to teach them. God set it up this way. From the beginning, He could have had that first baby delivered into an institution, raised by a committee, or trained by a “village,” but He didn’t. He gave two now-imperfect parents an imperfect child. Their job? To teach him to love God and understand how he fits into God’s world . . . in order that he might grow up and teach his children.
So keep swimming!!
Still don’t believe that home is the best place for your children? Take a look at today’s school system. What are they trying to do? They’re trying to make their school more like YOUR home!! They have classes on getting along, take field trips to the woods, plant gardens, talk about sharing and being kind . . . ALL the things that kids learn best at home.
So keep swimming!!
So, Mom, the rough seas of monotony may not calm, the fog may be thick, and you may wonder if this is all worth it, but let me remind you as I remind my wife, “Home is still the best place for your children . . . and you’re doing just fine.”
Relax and enjoy those children of yours, because they’re growing up quick and one day . . . will be gone.
Just keep swimming!!!
Todd Wilson, author of Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd's humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at home school conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family.
His articles have appeared in various magazines. Christianity Today also posts his weekly column (The Familyman Weekly) on their website - http://www.familymanweb.com/.
Todd and his wife Debbie, along with their eight children, spend several months of the year traveling the country encouraging moms and dads. His humor, realness, and straight talk to men (& women) have become his trademark.