Dear Homeschooling Mom (or Dad),
You are tired: not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I believe you’re discouraged: left wondering can I really keep doing this homeschool thing? Feeling doubtful: does all of this even matter…am I really making a difference in my kids’ lives?
Do you remember when you had those thoughts? Do you remember those days when you wanted to give up on homeschooling entirely? Are you having one of those days even today? If you are, or if you ever have in the past, I want to tell you that you should not give up; you are making a difference; you can keep doing it!
A THANK YOU LETTER FROM A HOMESCHOOLED DAUGHTER
It’s a great gift to receive encouragement from people who are “in the trenches”, as they say, right there with you, experiencing the same struggles, emotions, and doubts that you are.
Well, I’m afraid that the encouragement I offer today is not from the homeschooling trenches alongside you. Rather, I offer encouragement that comes from the reason you’re in the trench, to begin with, …a thank you letter from a homeschooled daughter if you will.
A thank you to parents who didn’t give up on it for her.
What if your kids could be the ones to encourage you to keep going…to not give up on homeschooling for them? Would that encourage your heart on a whole new level?
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your kids probably won’t encourage you in that way today…or tomorrow for that matter. But the reason they won’t encourage you or thank you is not that what you are doing doesn’t matter or isn’t worth the effort – or the tears – that you are putting into it.
The reason is that they are not yet at the end of the journey; they can’t thank you yet because they have not yet seen the place your hard work is bringing them to.
As with so many things in this life, if only we could see the end result, we would be bolstered enough to continue on the journey to reaching it.
If your adult homeschooled daughter could talk to you where you are today, however, here are some things her thank you letter might say:
Mom, Dad: thank you for training and discipling me in the ways of the Lord.
If you are anything like my parents, the unique opportunity that homeschooling provides to shepherd and disciple your children was one of the leading motivators of your decision to homeschool. I cannot thank them enough for that.
I truly believe that I am not the woman I would be today if I had only received “regular” education, whether private or public.
This is not to say I would be a train wreck by any means; this is just to say that I can see the way that the focused discipleship my parents gave me (through homeschooling) has grounded me more firmly and shaped me more fully into a woman, wife, and mom who desires to walk with and honor her Lord.
So, on those days (is it today?) where you feel as though you have accomplished nothing of academic value because all you’ve done was talk about your child’s behavior, again and again, take heart.
Those times that might distract from the textbook for a few moments will be used to shape your child’s character and love for the Lord in an immovable way.
Those are actually kingdom moments, and parents to need to refocus themselves on that fact again and again. Invest in those moments! Shove the academic aside because future generations depend on how well we are training our children today.
I cannot thank my parents enough for the focused way they taught my siblings and I to be godly men and women.
(For some inspiration and help in how to do that, check out The Keepsake Notebook, a customizable curriculum for training biblical sons and daughters. Also, take a look at volume 1 and 2 of The Way I Should Go, character stories for teaching young children.)
Mom, Dad: thank you for valuing me enough to keep me with you every day…voluntarily!
I have not missed the fact that my mother (and father) gave up a lot by homeschooling. No parent will ever deny their love for those precious, few (quiet) moments when their children are, well, gone.
This reality in no way diminishes the amount of love you have for them, but in all seriousness, kids are a lot of work! And even though the work changes with each stage of their lives, it’s always still there in some form or another.
So let’s be honest, there’s a perk in sending your kids into the traditional classroom…and that perk is the fact that they’re gone for 6-7 hours every weekday! Well…not so for the homeschooling parent because, hey, those 6-7 hours get to be spent with you! In addition to all the other ones!
All kidding aside, you have made a big sacrifice in homeschooling your children. But instead of looking at it as a loss of so much precious time away from them, motivate yourself into viewing it as receiving so much more precious time with them.
You get time with your homeschooled children that other parents miss out on experiencing, so treasure it.
Remember that these days actually go fast (yes, mom, with the steam coming out of your ears, I’m talking to you!). They are, believe it or not, going to be all grown up one day, away from you in homes of their own, so enjoy this time with them.
And then one day, they’re sure to look back on all this time you’ve invested in them (like me) and say, “Wow. My mom…she was amazing!”
Mom, Dad: thank you for investing yourself in my learning.
It’s no easy undertaking to say that you are going to be in charge of your child’s academic learning. There were times when I know my mom questioned whether she was adequate enough to give her children a full and rounded education.
When those doubts arise, be encouraged with the knowledge that you are providing more than just academics.
Most people would understand the word homeschool to have a very basic meaning: school that happens at home. I think the term has so much more meaning than that, however.
It’s not just school that takes place in the home, it’s where the home and school come together.
Are you interested in your child’s academic learning? Of course! (That’s why you’re so frustrated when it feels like those ingrates you call your children are preventing any meaningful academics from taking place!)
But you’re interested in more than just academics.
You’re interested in every aspect of your child’s learning, maturing, and training – and seeing those academics shaped and nurtured by the home. Home not simply as a physical place, but as a source of primary influence. The home is the center of all that’s taught.
Mom, Dad: thank you for not giving up on my learning.
Picture this: you’ve tried countless times to help your child understand something, and they are still struggling to get it. You’re at the point of doubting that anything will ever work and you’re considering just throwing in the towel.
When your child is grown and they look back on this, yes, they’ll remember the struggle of learning it, but they’ll also remember the parents that walked alongside them and never gave up on them. And that will actually mean a whole lot more than the thing you were so concerned that they learn.
Mom, Dad: thank you for a family that sticks together like glue.
I have no doubt in my mind that the closeness my siblings share with each other and our parents is largely due to homeschooling.
Remember that the home is more than just the location you’ve chosen to do school in…it’s a shaping force in the life of your children.
Don’t let those difficult days overshadow the fun and meaningful ones you experience with them. Stay focused on the long term goal of what you’re doing and the rewards that are in store.
So, please, though you are weary today, keep going…do not leave the trench. Not because it won’t be difficult anymore, but because you care about more than just today.
One day you may receive a thank you letter from your homeschooled kids. And on that blessed day, what you’re feeling this day simply won’t matter anymore.
In closing, I would like to speak for all of your children who are too young (or immature, or stubborn, or whatever it is) right now to understand or appreciate the sacrifice you’re making for them or the gift you’re giving to them.
So, on behalf of all the homeschooled kids of the weary parents reading this, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for investing in your kids and in our future generations.
Michelle – a grateful homeschooled daughter
Michelle Jansma is one half of the mother-daughter team at Keepsake Curriculum. She and her mom, Cindy, desire to help parents raise up a faithful generation. Children are a keepsake entrusted by God, and if we are to “keep” the next generation, we need intentional parenting. It’s the goal of Keepsake Curriculum to have academic and spiritual training come together in that task. Michelle taught kindergarten at a Christian school for five years before having the blessing of becoming a mother. When her first son was born, she joined Cindy at Keepsake Curriculum. She now has two little boys. Cindy homeschooled her five children over a span of fifteen years and is the proud grandmother of five (soon to be 6!), grandchildren. Cindy now has the privilege of helping to homeschool her grandchildren!
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Don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series!