Grace in the First Year of Homeschooling
The first year of homeschooling can be the most discouraging for parents. For example, on my daughter's sports team this year, a fellow Mom and I found out we had a mutual friend. She told me that this friend, or rather acquaintance, of mine had decided to homeschool her 3 children and it was not going well. This family wasn't planning to continue next year. I was sorry to hear that and urged her to give her my number, but I thought, "She's probably so discouraged by now she doesn't think anyone can help."
So often it seems that parents feel like a failure after the first year of homeschooling. All of the glittery excitement of this new calling has worn off and the fear of failure has taken over. The wonderful, familial results of homeschooling are so hard to see at this point because almost nothing has turned out as planned.
I wish all new homeschooling parents had to go into homeschooling with a two year commitment, because one year is not long enough. This first year needs to have no pressure, just joy. Parents need to take time to let their children breath and detox from the confining attitudes of traditional schooldays while they give themselves time to gain their footing in this new environment. It takes time to slow down our children so they can think for themselves. It takes time to settle into a completely different way of living. A way of living that is not any less academically sound, but yet so removed from the way we, as a society, think about education.
Homeschooling, as a new parent will soon discover, is not about education. Or rather, the educating part becomes the easy part, though at first it was so daunting. Homeschooling is about grace. It's about the grace given to us to have these precious children in the first place, with all its implied responsibility for their physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. It's about helping them learn to live in that grace.
Heart-training quickly becomes the item at the top of the to-do or to-teach list. Teaching children how to learn and therefore, how to live. It's obeying simple instructions, speaking honestly, sharing with others, and using time wisely. It's thinking about the bigger picture in life while learning to enjoy the small pleasures. It's helping them to be themselves from the inside out and to stand grounded in who they are by the time they are adults, so the light of their own grace will shine for others to see.