Experiencing True Joy in Your Homeschool
Our family has been on our homeschooling journey now for over 13 years. We’ve had our ups and downs and our fair share of “I’m not sure if we should keep doing this” moments. But the truth is that there has been one thing that has outweighed all of the hard times we’ve faced in our homeschooling experience – and that is JOY. When God called my family to homeschool we had no idea what homeschooling looked like. I had no one that I knew who was actively homeschooling nor did I have anyone that I knew who supported homeschooling. So my husband and I began to pray and ask God what it was that we needed to do in order to have the homeschool He wanted us to have. And His answer was very plain and simple: “Keep joy at the center of your homsechooling experience and you will be right where I want you.”
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not so much. We’ve had to work very hard at keeping joy at the center of our homeschooling experience but have managed to do so going on 11+ years. I’m not saying that our homeschool is perfect, but I am saying that we’ve learned how to keep joy at the center and this has produced an experience above and beyond all I could have imagined. Here are some ways that we’ve managed to be joyful in our homeschool even when we were faced with challenging days, months, and even years!
1. Choose Joy
I know this sounds pretty generic, but there is so much power in choosing joy. When we choose something we are committed to seeing it through. When we choose something we are accepting it and owning up to it. When we choose something, we tend to work hard for it and keep a closer eye on it. I challenge you today, dear friend, to choose joy in your homsechooling journey. While getting school work is definitely important, fostering a loving relationship with your children is far above and translates into so much more meaningful life-long wisdom. And seriously, if you struggle teaching a certain subject and find yourself frustrated, hire a tutor or join a co-op to help take that strain away. Do what ever you need to do to keep the peace and joy in your home and home education experience. You are not a failure if you enlist help – we all need it from time to time – and sometimes all the time. Give yourself permission to be happy and your family and homeschool will be blessed as a result!
I also use my Joy: 30-Day Scripture Journal and memory verse cards to help me stay focused on Joy. By keeping the Word in my daily life I am able to choose joy so much more easily as a result of hiding God’s Word in my heart.
2. Organic Learning
I’ve talked to many homeschooling moms and if I am being honest, I don’t hear the two words joy and homeschool too often in the same sentence. Why is this? I believe a large part of this is because the focus is put on forcing knowledge down a child’s throat rather than letting organic learning happen. What do I mean? I’m talking about allowing our children to learn the way that they naturally learn. No expectations. No shaming. No frustration. Just let them learn. It isn’t easy when you (like myself) were taught in a traditional public education system. I had a really hard time letting go of certain expectations about “education” that had been engrained into me when we first started our homeschooling journey. I saw rather quickly that my daughter’s love for learning became strained as did our mother-daughter relationship. I realized right away that I had to rethink education in order to really teach my daughter the way God created her to learn. And the same practice has followed with each of my sons. It really does get easier to identify and overcome over time, I promise.
3. Quit Trying to be Perfect (or like anyone else)
Let’s be clear: No one or no situation in our lives will ever be perfect. Ever. So why do we keep setting ourselves up for failure with the daunting and impossible task of trying to create a perfect homeschool? We need to work hard on not allowing this lie of perfection to trap us and trick us into thinking we are failing when we are not. A huge part of this is when we start to look at other people and what they do in their homeschool or how “Johnny” is excelling — well you get the picture. We cannot do what God has called us to do in our homeschool and lives of our children if we are steady getting our ideas based off of another person’s life. We are all uniquely created to do amazing things — but the process for each one of us to arrive at that destination is entirely different. Kick perfection out of the picture and watch the relaxed atmosphere breed a lifetime love of learning in your children (and yourself)!
I pray that if you are reading this post today and are lacking joy in your homeschooling journey that you will consider choosing joy and eliminating those things (ie: comparison and unrealistic expectations) that steal your joy. Give joy a try and watch the attitudes of your students and teachers (that means you) take a drastic change for the better! Happy homeschooling!
More to Consider…