Homeschooling through the Seasons of Life

Digging in the mud

Every season of the year has its charm.  Summer holds beach trips, ice cream, bare feet, and long, lazy afternoons.  Autumn brings crisp apples, crisp weather, the crunch of leaves and the mouthwatering aroma of pumpkin pie.  In winter, you blow out your breath in frosty clouds, go ice skating, and drink hot cocoa by a roaring fire.  Then spring breezes in warmly with new life, bright and beautiful blossoms, and the promise of summer break arriving before long.

Often, we describe our lives in terms of seasons.  “It’s just a season,” reminds us that the experiences of the phase of life we are in is transitory and soon a new season of life will arrive.  There are good seasons of fun and growth and happiness.  There are times of transition and change.  There are periods in life where things are difficult and sad and challenging.  And there are seasons of new life and new beginnings.

He has decided that he would like mommy's sunglasses

As homeschoolers, we have the challenge of trying to educate our children as we go and grow through the seasons together.  There will be exhilerating seasons of new beginnings, enthusiasm, when you plant seeds and faithfully water them.  There will be times when homeschooling and life is going well and you see the fruit of your labors blossoming in your children in their skills, understanding, or habits.  There will be times of transitions when you are trying to adjust to changes to your life or routine.  And there are seasons of difficulty, sadness, or grief, when things are hard and school seems an overwhelming burden.

So how does one homeschool through all of these changing seasons?

1.  Lean on God’s Strength– Abide in Him and let his words abide in you by spending time in prayer and in his Word, meditating on it and memorizing it.

Lean on God’s strength and abide in Him when things are going well, when life is shifting all around you, when everything is impossibly hard.  Abide.  Always.

Peace despite his casted leg and his box top bedding

God’s grace gives peace despite your circumstances

2.  Live in Grace– Remember that your worth, your value is not dependent upon your accomplishments or failures.  Your value is determined by the price paid for you.  The blood of the one and only Son of God.

Thank Him for his gracious provision when things are going well and trust in his sovereignty, his wisdom, power, and love, when things are hard.  It is God’s grace that enables you to be victorious and it is God’s grace that carries you when you fall.

Thy compassions, they fail not

His grace carries you

I’ve noticed that moms have that thing called Mom Guilt.  We all experience it.  We are not doing enough.  We are failing our husbands and ruining our children.  We look around at other peoples’ best, judge ourselves on that impossibly high standard and find ourselves wanting.

You know, whenever I talk to any other mom about this, I can see that Mom Guilt is ridiculous.  I encourage them to “Let it Go!”  Have grace for themselves.  But it seems that the hardest thing is to have grace for yourself.  I know.  It is for me too.

What we have to remember is that God is sovereign.  Our best efforts will fall far short.  We will fail.  We will yell at our kids unfairly.  We will neglect some important habit.   We will forget things, fail to fulfill promises, disappoint our kids from time to time.  God’s grace enables our successes in parenting and covers our failures.  If we can use our failures to point to the One who never will fail them, we will have done our job.

My two year old almost drowned a few months ago.  How I castigated myself!  I wasn’t there to watch my son.  Why wasn’t I watching?  But God was watching when I wasn’t.  He saved my son.  He’s the only one who can truly save our children.

Live in God’s grace so you can reveal God’s grace and love to your children.

3.  Rejoice Always– Give God thanks for the good times and be thankful for God’s grace and strength and sovereignty in the bad times.  This will make your good times better and your bad times a bit lighter.

Hospital Visit

4.  Record God’s Faithfulness– Write down the ways in which you see God work, in the good times and the bad.  This can later be a great encouragement when things are challenging (again).

Write down the things you do in your homeschooling.  Take pictures and make a scrapbook or a Shutterfly Yearbook.  Then when you are feeling discouraged (perhaps going through a season of illness like we recenty when through- when no school gets done for 6 weeks) and feeling like your kids are learning nothing and doing nothing valuable, you can look back at how far you’ve come and the fun things you’ve done.

5.  Be Flexible in Times of Change or Challenge– If no school gets done for a few days or weeks, that’s ok.  One of the beauties of homeschool is the wonderful flexibility with the schedule.  We school from August to June so there are plenty of weeks we can take off for travel, illness, or when we need a break.

Perhaps you need to purchase some special materials for those times of change- audiobooks, educational films, special craft kits, sticker books, computer programs or online learning website memberships.  Get help if you can.  Grandmas can do a baking “class” or read wonderful stories to their grandkids.  Perhaps Dad can help with school when he is home- or he can take the kids to the zoo or local museum for a field trip.

Four kids on a stroller- I love my Joovy Caboose!

This is how a dad takes the kids on a field trip

You might need to shorten up your school schedule.  Times of transition or hardship call for a “just the basics” schedule, rather than worrying about all the extras we homeschoolers like to include in our days.  Make a short list of the basics- depending on your children’s current needs, and just aim to accomplish those.

In the end, the most important thing is to abide in Christ.  Abide in Him and He will carry you.

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