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Elevate & Encourage

Beth Mellot has been homeschooling for 19 years. She has graduated two children and has one more in 9th grade. Her hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, discovering field trips and putting together curriculum. By far, her favorite thing is spending time with her kids and watching the "light bulb" come on. Beth serves on the HAHA board as Co-Director of Activities. 

May I be honest here?  Homeschooling is NOT what I thought it would be.  In fact, it is NOTHING like I imagined. I had that famous Norman Rockwell picture of a happy family around the table (minus the turkey, of course) etched in my brain.  And I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.  Imagine my surprise when the grumbling and arguing began – on our first official day!

“Can I go outside now?”  We just sat down at the table, what do you think? 

“I hate math!” This is your first day of Kindergarten, how can you possibly know that you hate Math?

“I’m hungry.  When can we eat?”  You just finished breakfast; it’s physically impossible for you to be hungry!

“You gave him more crayons than you gave me!”  I thought you hated Math?

On and on ad nauseam – so much for my ideal homeschool day.  What have I done wrong?  I wondered.  Maybe I’m not cut out to do this; or perhaps my children are even less disciplined than I believed; or (gasp) maybe they would be better off in public school!

Does any of that sound familiar?  Are you doubting the choices you have made?  Do you feel as if you are hampering your child’s future by staying the course?  

Be assured, my friend, your doubts are normal.  I do not know ANY homeschool mom who has not asked herself those questions – sometimes on a daily (or even hourly) basis.  And asking those questions is important because it proves you care about your children and want the best for them.  Just don’t stay in the “pit of despair.”  Give your self a chance to cry, or scream into your pillow if you need to, but don’t think this moment in time is the defining moment of your life – even if it feels like it.  And don’t believe for one minute that you are not up to the task.  (I used to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and I still managed to graduate two children with our last one in 9th grade.)  

So let me encourage you from (almost on) the other side. YOU CAN DO THIS! 
You are what your children need and you, with God’s help, are enough.

And on those days when doubts assail you and your heart feels daunted by the task, remind yourself WHY you chose to homeschool.  Our reason was simple – my husband and I know God told us to do this.  And I went back to that reason time and time again.

So will you allow me to be bold and suggest that the reason you homeschool should be YOUR reason – not your neighbor’s, not your pastor’s, not even your in-law’s, no matter how well meaning they are? The reason needs to be yours.  Period.  You need to own it.  For it is the lifeline you will need to hang on to during those difficult days.  

But be encouraged because there WILL be good days, too.  I promise.  Maybe not today, but that is ok.  Hang it up for today if you have to.  Tomorrow will bring a new perspective and new chances to try again.  And, as Jeremiah reminds us, tomorrow will also bring new mercies from above – for His mercies and compassions are new every morning (Lam 3:22,23  KJV)