By Guest Author Courtney Duncan
If you are anything like me, there are always certain seasons of the year when you feel a lack of motivation regarding your homeschool. An example is the beginning of the 2nd semester, with its loooong stretch to the end of the school year. The initial excitement over a new grade and/or new curriculum has faded, you have too much of the school year left to start getting excited about next year, and you may be wondering if you’ve even accomplished anything in the last several months (of course you have, but sometimes in a particular moment it can feel like you’ve made no progress at all or have even slipped backwards). Anyhow, if you can relate to any of what I’ve described above, I want to encourage you with a reminder to not lose sight of your goals and the ultimate end goal of homeschooling — God’s glory!
What’s Your Purpose?
I encourage you to stop and take a moment to remember your family’s reason for homeschooling. I keep our family’s homeschool mission statement and some simple goals I made at the beginning of the year (when I was feeling motivated and intentional) close by for reference. It serves me well to stop and revisit those on more challenging days. Some of our family’s homeschooling goals are to create lifelong learners, to work with diligence, to learn about and know God, and to do all things for the glory of God. This simple step of remembering can be incredibly encouraging as it allows you to recall the big picture perspective and the purpose of why you are doing this in the first place — and see you are making progress even in small ways.
Another helpful strategy for keeping yourself focused on the end goal when discouragement hits is for each family member to have a simple academic and character goal for the year. At any point in the year when we are having a challenging moment (or day), I find it helpful to pause and remember our personal goals. Not only does this remind me of the big picture, but it has the added benefit of helping me determine how to proceed. For example, if one of my children is struggling over a particularly hard lesson or new concept, it helps me when I remember that this particular child is working on perseverance as their character goal for the year. That reminder may guide me to sit them on my lap, gently remind them of that goal, encourage them in their challenge, pray for them, snuggle them close, and then have them return to their assignment. My experience has been that when I pause for a moment and remember our purpose and goals, I am able to relax my shoulders, let go of any tension in my jaw, and focus on a clear direction that will help the challenge or struggle fade away from the task at hand.
Remember What Matters Most
Although I find the goals that my husband and I have set for our family to be very helpful, ultimately what God has put forth in His Word regarding how we are to live is what matters most. At the end of the day (or year or mid-year), what matters most is that I am putting my hope in God and not in my to-do list, what other people think of me and my kids, or success as defined by me. Here are just a few helpful thoughts I remind myself of:
- We have the privilege of having the opportunity to reflect Christ to others, and I want my children to experience the love of Jesus when I love them — a love that is not dependent on their behavior, performance, or academic success.
- I hope that when I fail my children, God can use it to point them to Christ, as I explain to them that I need Jesus as much as they do.
- I want to foster a love for learning about all things in them and to help them use that love of knowledge to learn about God and to bring God glory.
- I desire my children to see that I love the life that God has given me and to feel the freedom to slow down and enjoy it with me … to not always be rushing on to our next “to-do” or subject but to stop and catch roly-polys and splash in puddles.
- Like the moon reflects the sunlight, I pray that God will use me to reflect the beauty and majesty of his light.
- When I fail, because I will multiple times every day, I want to be a mom who moves forward with the hope I have in Christ — repentant yet free from condemnation, knowing that, by His grace alone, God sees Christ when He looks at me. At the beginning of the year, mid-year, and year-end, I want to be found resting in that sweet place of humble gratefulness for the gift of mercy that I have been given and to focus on that above all else. I pray that you would experience this rest as well!
May you be encouraged to face another day and to persevere in the blessing God has given you of educating your children!