By Guest Author Heather Cofer
I was one month away from beginning our first official year of homeschooling when I delivered my fourth child. Having four children ages 5-and-under is a transition on its own, but the prospect of homeschooling our oldest while caring for a newborn and two toddlers was daunting. However, as I skimmed through the still-spotless workbooks, there was a glimmer of excitement about embarking on this journey and the hope that God was going to be with me.
That first year had its bumps; there were tears (from both student and mama), days when school consisted primarily of art and recess, and many moments of wondering if I was cut out for this. But God was faithful. He brought encouragement right when it was needed, whether a truth from His Word or a timely visit from a veteran homeschool mom. And you know what? We made it through the year — a little weary — but excited for the next one.
Now I am in my third year of homeschooling and expecting my fifth child, being reminded all over again of the need for God’s grace. As I’ve walked through weeks of tough morning sickness and brain fog, it’s been difficult to concentrate on helping with math problems and teaching letter sounds. But the Lord has been bringing me back continually to core truths that have brought great peace to me as I’ve committed this season of raising children and homeschooling to Him.
1. God Equips Us For What He Calls Us To
This is a phrase I repeat to myself almost daily. If God is calling me to homeschool my children and to prepare to welcome another little one, He is going to give me everything I need to do both. He will provide wisdom, creativity, strength, and help. He will forgive me when I fall short and enable me to get up again and walk in repentance.
This truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9 is one I cling to when I feel overwhelmed, incapable, and discouraged: “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (ESV).
It is often in our weakness that God’s strength is displayed most beautifully through our lives.
2. The Goal of Homeschooling is Pointing My Children to God
It is important to give our children a solid foundation of mathematics, language, history, and science. But it can be easy to get micro-focused on the daily work, forgetting the big picture. Because of that, it’s important to regularly remember the why behind all education: to know God and love Him through learning about this world and how He created us to function within it. As it says in Psalm 19:1,
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
So, on days when little heads are distracted, the toddler spills milk all over the floor, or we get derailed by an unexpected visitor, I can take a deep breath and ask the Lord to help us focus on His priorities for us that day. My children need to learn from my words and actions what it means to be a follower of Jesus, displaying patience, joy, humility, and love in every situation. They need to be encouraged to do their work excellently as unto the Lord, as well as be reminded that their value lies in being made in the image of God and not in their grades.
3. I Am Not Alone
Lastly, I am thankful for the reminder that I am not the only one in this boat. There are a host of mamas on the same journey of raising and homeschooling their children, and there are many wonderful women who have gone before me on this road who are ready and willing to offer advice and encouragement.
If you are feeling discouraged, seek out an older woman who has been in your shoes. Ask her for advice and prayer. Consider joining a homeschooling group or maybe organizing a get-together with other moms to exchange ideas and cheer one another on. And, I’ve found that when I’m feeling alone or overwhelmed, it refreshes my own heart to pray for another mama who I know might also be feeling the same way.
This season of raising and schooling our children may feel long and hard at times, but when we seek to train them to love the Lord and prepare them well for whatever He might call them to, there will be blessings attached to it in this life and the next. Don’t lose heart! God equips us for what He calls us to, God is the goal of our schooling, and we are not alone.