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When is Homeschooling Is Hard

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Homeschooling is not the easy road. But then, neither is parenting.

Our family began homeschooling when our daughters were five years and 18 months old. At first, I extended our existing efforts to homeschooling. I read to them (a lot), taught them basic skills, and introduced them to God’s Word. The girls learned the alphabet, colors, and shapes. They loved the attention, and I loved having a more directed plan for our days.

The first months of kindergarten came and went in a (mostly) happy blur. I felt a little concerned when my oldest daughter didn’t learn to read by the middle of the school year. I mean, everything I’d heard promised if I read to her every day (I had) and taught her phonics (I had), she’d be reading by the third week of school (she wasn’t).

What was taking so long?

Wise friends assured me that she would learn. “Be patient,” they said. “Every child learns at a different pace.”

But we weren’t talking about everyone. This was my daughter. The one I was responsible for. The one whose entire future would be determined by whether she learned to read.

For the first time, I realized homeschooling wasn’t all Legos and cupcakes. Some of it was hard work.

Some days, she cried.

Other days, I cried.

Occasionally, we both cried.

In time (hers, not mine), my daughter learned to read. So well, in fact, that she read Voltaire for fun in ninth grade. Despite being an auditory learner and, therefore, a terrible speller, she learned to read and write so proficiently she earned a perfect score on the verbal portion of the SAT. Today she works as a speechwriter for a high-level government official. Imagine that.

How long did it take you to discover that homeschooling is hard? A month? A week? A day?

Homeschooling is hard work. But so is parenting kids in private school–and public school. No educational choice allows us to escape hard. If you’re in a difficult season right now, here are five truths to encourage you.

Embracing the Journey of Homeschooling

You’re Not Alone

      Until I understood God was working in and through me to homeschool my children, I assumed success was all up to me. If I chose the “right” curriculum, my children would learn. Enrolling them in swimming instead of debate (or debate instead of swimming), so they’d earn college scholarships. If I allowed (or didn’t allow) them to take part in youth group activities, they’d be stronger Christians.

      Many days/weeks/months/years I trusted my intellect to guide me in making decisions. Or I relied on the advice of others. I homeschooled in my strength without tapping into the power and wisdom God offered me. This mindset brought me to the end of myself. I had no wisdom to draw from and no energy (or desire) to homeschool another day.

      So, I cried out to God.

      “Lord,” I prayed. “I’ve been trying to do this on my own. Instead of seeking your power and insight every day, I’ve been relying on myself. I realize now that I can’t do this alone. I need you. Forgive my independence. Work in my heart. Work in my children’s hearts. Give me the wisdom and ability I don’t have right now. Amen.”

      I prayed that prayer almost every day thereafter. Homeschooling didn’t automatically become easier. Not every challenge resolved. But God continually reminded me we weren’t alone. He gave us the power to do what we needed to.

      Finding Strength in Faith

      Homeschooling Won’t Always Be Hard

          When you’re in the middle of a challenging season, you assume homeschooling will always be hard. But it isn’t. Each year includes subjects that everyone loves, making learning easier. Homeschooling is both hard and fun—like raising children.

          There are some gray days with the sunshine. You may feel as though you’re dragging your children and their textbooks up Pike’s Peak. Will they ever (learn to read, memorize their multiplication tables, stop picking their nose?).

          It Takes Time to Reap a Harvest, But the Harvest Will Come

          I recently grew impatient when a website took more than five seconds to load. Five seconds. Microwaves, fast internet, and Amazon Prime have eroded our ability to wait. We forget it takes time to reap a harvest.

          Unlike baby rattlesnakes, whose mothers abandon them at birth, our children need our care and instruction for almost two decades. (Longer, but they won’t admit it.) They need consistent repetition and reinforcement.

          Faith seeds, especially, take time to sprout. I often grew fearful for my girls. Would they place their faith in Christ? Once they had, when would I see spiritual growth? Would the Word of God I tried to hide in their hearts bear fruit?

          A wise counselor once told me, “Your job is to plant the seeds. Only God can make them grow. Trust Him.” He was right. In time, many of the faith lessons I taught my girls have become their own. God is a faithful Father and Gardener. He’s growing them—and me—in His perfect timing.

          Great Homeschool Conventions Sign-Up

          Packed with resources and workshops, find a Great Homeschool Convention near you.

          God Calls Us to Faithfulness. Success Is Up to Him.

          Deuteronomy 6:6-7 commands us, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

          For many, homeschooling is one way God calls us to disciple our children. The ability to infuse our children’s education with biblical principles and teach them to process the world through a biblical worldview is part of God’s calling to raise our children in faith. We must take this calling seriously. If He’s called us to homeschool, we must obey and trust Him with the results.

          Remember, when He calls us, He commits to provide everything we need to fulfill our calling (Philippians 4:13). We can trust Him, especially when it gets hard.

          It Will Be Worth It

          Galatians 6:9 became my homeschooling life verse: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” At the end of my labor, there would be a reward. I didn’t know what the reward was, but if God promised it, it would be good.

          I hoped my children would know and love God. That they’d grow up with a self-image based on what the Word says, not what the world says. I hoped they’d gain the knowledge and skill they needed to become independent adults. And become image bearers of Christ in the church and society. Deep down inside, in the words of Proverbs 31:18, I dreamed one day my “children [would] arise and call [me] blessed.”

          When my children walked across stage and received their diplomas, I discovered an even greater reward—joyful satisfaction. Knowing I obeyed God when He called me to homeschool—even when it was hard—made everything worth it.

          One day I hope to receive the ultimate reward of hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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          And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.