April boasts one of the most dreaded of “Days” for many Americans: Tax Day. Maybe it has something to do with our historical roots of “taxation without representation” but I don’t know of anyone who looks forward to it. Ultimately when we are taxed, something is taken away from us and is out of our control. And even if we get a return, there is much more that isn’t 😉
I think we all feel the government spends a lot of time taxing us in as many ways as possible. But there is another definition of taxing that has nothing to do with the government. Taxing means “physically or mentally demanding.” I like how vocabulary.com describes it:
Taxing things are stressful and difficult. Climbing a mountain is taxing, and so is spending an entire day babysitting an unruly toddler.
Things that are taxing wear you out, either physically or mentally (or both). You may think of physical jobs like construction work as the most taxing kind of employment, until you realize how emotionally taxing it would be to care for sick patients as a nurse, or how mentally taxing you might find working as an accountant. This adjective comes from the verb tax, which means “to put a strain on.”
Let’s consider those definitions when it comes to homeschooling.
At times is it…
- Stressful? Check
- Difficult? Check
- Physically demanding? Check
- Mentally demanding? Check
And did you notice the last part?
Taxing comes from the verb tax which means “to put a strain on.” Yes, it is safe to say that homeschooling can be more than a little taxing. At times it puts a strain on us physically, mentally, and even financially.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be overwhelmed, stressed, and tired all the time. Although homeschooling can be taxing, you can still choose to become an untaxed mom!
5 Ways to Be An Untaxed Homeschooling Mom
1. Rest in the Lord.
As homeschooling moms I think we need to realize that rest isn’t necessarily about getting more sleep. There are seasons when we will be physically tired or even exhausted—our sweet babies aren’t always cooperative! But rest is so much more than a physical thing. Rest has to do with our mindset, our attitude. It is possible to be at rest in the middle of chaos even.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)
Notice what it says to do. Come to me, take my yoke, and learn from me. When you are feeling exhausted (or better yet before you are), spend some time with Him in prayer and in Scripture. A yoke joined two animals together to bear the load together. I can’t think of anything better than yoking ourselves to the One who never wearies.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth.He does not faint or grow weary;his understanding is unsearchable.He gives power to the faint,and to him who has no might he increases strength.Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted;but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28–31)
2. Know your strength comes from Him.
There is a popular saying: You are enough. I get the idea behind it, but it just isn’t true.
We are not enough and praise God we don’t have to be! Why? Because He is enough. And in my opinion that is much more encouraging. His wisdom is boundless, His love perfect, and His plan is for our good.
So we don’t have to think about whether we are enough or not; we don’t have to wonder “Am I doing enough?“ Instead we can say as Paul did,
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
3. Make relationships more important than academics
Obviously academics are important, but they are not more important than your relationship with your children. Make time to build into those relationships, to encourage and support your children. They are much more likely to give their best effort when they feel secure.
They need to know they are loved for who they are, not what grades they get.
4. Find joy in the journey
As much as possible, find a reason to laugh everyday. Life is difficult. There is evil in the world around us and negativity seems to be the norm.
Let’s create a place for our kids to find joy and wonder. Maybe that will be through allowing them to dig deeply into a subject they love, or maybe it will be to slow down and not rush through the days moving from one activity to another.
Plays some games, take walks, pet a dog. Let the simple things in life be a part of your homeschool journey.
5. Fill up your cup
We cannot give from an empty cup. What brings you refreshment? Is it some time alone, or do you feel more energized by going out with a group of friends? Do you have an activity or hobby you enjoy? Think about the things that make you feel refreshed and then do them.
Yes, you may have to get creative to find the time, but we tend to make time for the things that are most important to us. Evaluate where you are spending your time right now and see if there is a way to replace some good things with the best things.
Perhaps it’s time for an audit.
Audit: A systematic review or assessment of something.
When you get a notice from the IRS that they want to audit you, it isn’t generally considered good news. But an audit of your homeschool, of your life-style of learning, may be just what you need. So take some time to assess where you are right now.
Spend some time in prayer and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I getting the rest that I need physically, spiritually, and emotionally? If not, why? What can I do to be more rested?
- Do I rely on God for strength, or do I try to figure life out on my own? When we face difficulties in our homeschool do we seek Him first?
- Have I been more concerned with my children’s academic success than with building a solid relationship with them? How can I make our relationships a priority?
- Do we laugh during our homeschooling days? Do we take time for the simple things in life?
- How can I fill up my cup? What brings me joy? What can I do to incorporate something into my life that does?
Then take your answers and make a plan. Perhaps you need to have a family meeting and put your heads together. Decide what you want your homeschool days to look like and proactively make it happen instead of being reactive. Choose to live as an untaxed homeschooling mom.
Kay is a retired homeschool mom of two sons who are now in college. She blogs at Cultivate: Heart-to-Heart Homeschooling. She loves to encourage and equip Christian, homeschooling moms to thrive as they nurture faith, deepen relationships, and simplify homeschooling. She is also the author of the Middle School Extensions of the Trail Guide to Learning series and Content Coordinator for Homeschooling Today Magazine.