We cannot do it all. I learned that years ago, and it lifted some stress off of me. However, where is the line between knowing we can’t do it all and making sure our kids know enough?
These thoughts are enough to make any homeschooling parent feel like a failure. Add in some outside stressors, and you are left wondering what to do when you feel like a failure in your homeschool – because it can feel hopeless.
Feeling like a failure rears its ugly head in my years of homeschooling once and while. I do have tools now to combat those thoughts. However, early on it was intense. It didn’t take me long to say well, I blew this. It took me years of prayer and contending to the Lord the softening of my husband’s heart in regards to homeschooling our kids.
I couldn’t just “blow it.” What was worse for me was that I felt as if I couldn’t ever let my husband know what I was going through. After years of praying and proving that this is what the Lord wanted for my kiddos, I couldn’t tell my husband that I was failing. I had to keep it all in, and it was tough.
I had graduated my high school student and things were so much simpler then. She was motivated and determined to graduate and do it well. Here come my 12-year-old and 9-year-old. My 12-year-old loves school work – weird I know. My son, not so much.
There was a time when I just couldn’t do it anymore. My daughter was getting depressed. She felt as if she had no friends, my son was falling so behind. I had to go back with him to ground zero in multiplication and just didn’t know where to start.
I was losing control of my home, it was a wreck, and my husband wasn’t very supportive at that time. On top of other things, I was in a completely new country; a third world country at that. I was also depressed and felt as if I couldn’t go another day.
One morning, I was in the first few days of starting multiplication over with my son, and I just looked at him, and I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my eyes. I dropped my head in my hands, and as my son put his little arms around me and said “Mommy, it will be OK. I will try harder.”
I knew that I needed to do something and it had nothing to with homeschooling and everything to do with trying to do it on my own. I needed the Lord in the forefront of my homeschool.
I took a bit of time off to re-focus. Thank God for the freedom that comes along with homeschooling. From this time off, I found a few things that helped me recharge.
Psalm 121: 1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
I realized I tried to do things on my own. I was so worried about failing and letting others know I was failing, that I just started to “DO” instead of seeking His guidance. I planned everything out, I organized our year, I developed my lesson plans. Yet, I just assumed that since God led me to homeschool that He would just carry me through it. However, He said to draw near, and He will draw near to you.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
After the time I took off (it was only a week or so), I remembered that my children were my first ministry. Helping them learn about God’s Word is just as important, more important than core subjects. When we learn to put God first, everything else falls into place. If it doesn’t just fall into place, you will find that you can handle the wrenches in your day a lot better.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
How can we give up when we are expecting our kids not to give up? Our walks in Christ can be just like this. How easy it for us to want to give up. However, we keep going for the goal set before us. We must know that God is faithful; therefore we shouldn’t grow tired of trying when we know God calls it good. We get discouraged, YES, give up, NO.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.
At that moment when I laid my head in my hand, and my son came over to comfort me. I knew I was carrying all the load on my shoulders when HIS burden is light. My burden felt like it weighed a ton. He tells us to cast our load on him. Why we don’t listen to Him, I will never know.
Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
As long as we keep comparing ourselves to other homeschooling families, we will never reach our full potential. The Lord says HE builds His house. We have to learn to do our best and not look left to right. Keep your eyes on Him, everything else fails in comparison. Which means, we are all just Christians trying to live for Him, flawed, sinners, but redeemed.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given him.
When we feel defeated, we can ask the Lord for help. When it comes to our children, there is no instruction book for us to turn to for everything that will “work.” Seeking the Lord for wisdom is all we can do. We pray He guides us, we take up our cross and try to improve. Sometimes I have to tell myself, Lord I want to do NOTHING unless it is of You.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
I had to break down and tell my husband how I was feeling. We were arguing, and I didn’t want to show weakness in something I worked so hard to establish. He was supportive and agreed to pray for me, pray for our homeschool. We even talked about a few ways he could get involved in homeschooling which was HUGE for me.
I also confessed to my friends back in the United States who had been homeschooling years ahead of me. They prayed with me; they prayed for me. They shared their struggles and triumphs. We forget that the Lord has given us brothers and sisters in Christ to walk our walks with us and by us – even if you’re a million miles away like I am. (Thank God for technology!)
So, what should you do when you feel like a failure in homeschool? Look to the one who called you child, who called you chosen, who called you to faith unimaginable.
You can try to “make yourself” a better homeschool mom. You can try to “make your child” learn as fast as the next child. OR you can trust in the Lord, seek His face daily and trust that He is faithful to complete the work He has started.
You are not a failure. You are what He says you are. You are …loved. You are …His. You are …worthy. You are …purposed. You got this homeschool mom. You have the Father of all Creation on your side.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!