Even after 10 years of homeschooling, my biggest challenge is still consistency. Because of our lifestyle — owning two busy donut shops — my plans are interrupted on an almost daily basis. Add to that the recent chaos of building a house, selling a house, moving to the new house, and the overall distraction of having a four-year-old, and I feel like this homeschool year has been a real mess. This year, more than any other, I find myself feeling like quitting.
Even my husband, who is usually supportive, has questioned whether the boys — especially our 10-year-old — would be better off at a private school. Of course, his concerns are mostly about “socialization” because we have just moved to 40 acres and are literally in the woods. That means no more neighborhood friends to play with, and only one brother six years younger at home everyday.
As a result, we’ve been driving into town everyday to our “office” to do school and socialize. We were also part of a homeschool co-op this year, so we continued to drive in for that as well. Personally, I am not so worried about the socialization aspect of our move: I worry more about how it has affected our routine, any gaps that may have occurred, and the retention of what we have studied together. At times, I seriously question whether I am really the best teacher for my son, all things considered.
I have spent many moments crying out to God with a willing heart, questioning whether I am being selfish because I dearly love homeschooling. Telling Him: “It’s not fair that someone like me who truly loves teaching my children should have such a hard time getting it done! Even my sons enjoy it. There are just too many distractions. God, please show me how to move past the distractions and focus on my children!”
And then God does show me… in many small moments throughout the days. He points to little instances, like how my eldest son has learned so much because of the distractions. He knows so much about real life, and he probably knows more at the age of ten about how to run a business that most adults know. Plus he has learned quite a bit on his own, when I am distracted. I am constantly amazed at the knowledge he picks up simply because he is curious about something and wants to know more, so he looks it up. It may not be written in his lesson plan, but he’s constantly learning.
God is so amazing, reminding me that part of my mission in homeschooling my children is to teach them how to think for themselves, to understand that learning is a lifelong endeavor that should never be confined to the walls of a school building. That is exactly what’s taking place right now, so why do I fret when there are times that my son is learning more outside of our “school” time than during?
Of course, we still have a few challenges that can’t be put aside. For example, we are STILL working on memorizing multiplications facts together, and every time I think he’s got them down and we move on, he forgets them. But I will continue to plug away until he succeeds.
I know that there are areas I can improve upon as a teacher, especially with my little one starting to homeschool officially next year. I need to find a way to consistently divert the distractions until after our school time. However, the gift God keeps giving me every time I question my motives in homeschooling is His reassurance that I am right where He wants me to be. And no matter what life challenges we’re navigating through, I can continue to trust Him to lead the way.
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel when life’s distractions prevent you from implementing your best-laid homeschooling plans? What helps you get through the challenging days when “life happens” and you have to shift gears? Share with us in the comments below.