In our many years of homeschooling, there have been some days that were downright dreamy. I don’t know what a perfect school day looks like for you, but for me it’s simultaneously productive and relaxed.
- The kids set about their work with diligence, steadily making their way through their assignments.
- We interact for parts of their work, and then I’m able to complete some household tasks while they work independently.
- They take advantage of the freedom to work in whatever part of our home or yard they want to, and we enjoy our conversation over lunch.
- The older kids occasionally step in to help a younger sibling understand something, and they all happily play together when their work is done.
Most days, of course, aren’t like that. Like the rest of life, our school days are usually quite ordinary. There are multiple interruptions. A child suddenly grasps a concept they’ve struggled with. There are occasional conflicts. Work gets done, yes, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the day.
And some days are hard. So hard. And sometimes the difficulty lasts longer than a day. When homeschooling is hard for me, I hold fast to these two anchors from the Bible:
- Don't give up—Galatians 6:9
- Do rely on Jesus—Matthew 11:29-30
1. Don’t Give Up
Galatians 6:9 encourages us, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
This message is sorely needed when homeschool is hard!
Once my husband and I determined homeschooling is the right choice for our family, we made a choice to stick with it. That conviction means I have to fight against the inevitable weariness that will rear its head from time to time. At times, I’m proactive in avoiding it. But when I realize I’ve fallen into a pit of weariness and need to climb out, I repeat my “better late than never” mantra.
There’s no guarantee of what the promised harvest will be, but I know a harvest will come. It may be directly tied to academics, be seen in family relationships, deal with my own personal growth, or be something totally unexpected. What’s important is that I don’t give up on what I know is right for our family—even when homeschooling is hard.
So when homeschooling get tough, keep going. Push through a bit longer for that harvest.
2. Do Rely on Jesus
In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus soothes us with these beautiful words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When I have a hard day of homeschooling, it’s helpful to take a break to rest my soul. That usually means sitting on my front steps or closing myself in my bedroom for a quick devotional. I take some deep breaths, read a few verses from the gospels or Psalms, and whisper a prayer:
- I acknowledge I need God’s strength.
- I thank him for loving me in the midst of my rotten day.
I’ve also found that when homeschooling is hard for an extended period of time, it’s critical that I remember the part of the verse about an easy yoke and light burden. Sometimes the right choice is hard, but when I’m on the right track, yoked up with my Savior, I’ll have peace below the chaos.
On the other hand, if I’m chronically overwhelmed and discouraged with homeschooling, yet confident it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, something is amiss. My intentions may be good, but I’m either taking on more than I should or using an approach that isn’t right for our family. That’s when it’s time for some deeper soul-searching and prayer, asking God to show me how he wants me to educate my kids in the particular season we find ourselves in.
As I face those hard parts of homeschooling, I want to combine those two verses. I want to never weary of coming to the one who can give rest to my soul and whose burden is always light. His yoke will not burden me and his rest will give me the strength to not give up on doing what’s good.