Honestly, though, the me of 23 years ago would be shaking my head at myself in riotous disbelief because there was no way on God’s green earth that I would ever homeschool my children. Famous last words and all that.
Several years ago, I wrote a post on my little homeschool site about how I just wasn’t excited about homeschooling that year. And it reminded me that that is exactly where some of you might be right now, too. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we’ve all had to go about educating our kids, at least for now. My heart sincerely goes out to you.
The year I originally wrote this, I was not very excited because the task of educating seven students plus a brain-injured preschooler seemed totally overwhelming. But as with everything God puts in our path, there is a remedy, given by him to carry the load and burden.
Remedy: God has called us to this life, and he will provide a way to do it without killing us in the process. The key is to remind ourselves of the gospel all day, every day. We are loved, accepted, and safe in his care even if we fail.
Suddenly being stuck at home and homeschooling kids when that was never the plan will undoubtedly be a struggle, because the reality for many of us is that our jobs are way more exciting than homeschooling. It's a lot more fun for me to go to Starbucks and write than to fold laundry or listen to a struggling reader for the 10,000th time.
Remedy: God has called us to this life this year, and he will provide a way to do it without killing us in the process. The key is to remind ourselves of the gospel all day, every day. There is beauty in the mundane, and there is not more value in [insert your job here] than in caring for the people we love.
When everyone is home in close quarters, the hardest part of the day can be dealing with sinful hearts. Like mine.
Remedy: Jesus is the only hope any of us has. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can change our sinful hearts, no matter how hard we try. The key is to remind us all of the gospel all day, every day.
And can we talk about the food situation? I don’t mean the empty grocery shelves that stunned the nation this week. I mean having to feed everyone three meals a day, every day. There is joy in creating something lovely and yummy, but I don't feel I'm doing that. I feel like I'm just trying to fill tummies so that they won’t be begging for the next meal within an hour.
Remedy: Let it go. Food is often meant just for our nutrition, and it doesn’t have to be a magazine spread creation. The gospel tells us that God will supply all our needs, and our needs are met by food that is unexciting just as it is with the glorious gourmet meals I might pull off once a month. I told my kids this week that we really could live on eggs and salad if we had to.
Know what else is making this tricky? Most of my kids aren't very excited about the sudden turn of events. I have college students whose semester was derailed and jobs put on hold, a singing, performing high schooler who was scheduled to be in two productions this spring, a middle schooler whose choir was set to perform next week in Disneyland, and a special needs child who can’t figure out why I don’t run my homeschool schedule like his school classroom. I know you know; we’ve all had the rug pulled out from underneath us and our kids are reeling.
Remedy: Bask in the delight of the gospel. Point your whole family back to Jesus. Let the Scriptures pour out over us and press in to Jesus.
And even in the midst of all of our activities being canceled, you might be feeling like you still have so many plates spinning. This isn’t at all like summertime when we can just focus on our jobs and simpler pursuits, minus the school stuff. School at home can feel frenetic. Crazy. Too, too much.
Remedy: Listen to the Holy Spirit. He isn't calling us to run around like a wild dog. He has said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." The culture tells me my house must be beautifully decorated, my kids and myself stylish, our meals well-planned, our yard in excellent shape. Religion tells me I must be in the Word every morning, I must be at church serving, and I must have it all together on Sunday morning. Those are yokes and burdens, and they aren’t the gospel.
If I’m going to air all my dirty laundry on this topic, I have to admit that I am not very excited because my flesh just wants to do something else. 22 years is a long time, and it's at about this point that a lot of people grow weary of a job. Or maybe that's the seven-year itch? I've lasted 15 years longer than the seven-year itch, so kudos to God for carrying me all this way. When you get to day 15 or month 15 or however long this thing lasts, he will still be carrying you, too.
Remedy: Again, our hope and security isn't in this job. It's in Jesus. If he were to provide a viable educational opportunity, I’m sure we’d be all over it. But he hasn't. Clearly, homeschooling is what God wants us to do right now and thinking that a different path would be better is just shifting our hope on to some other opportunity that doesn't even exist.
You know what else just stings in the midst of a season of upheaval? Every day I forget how much he loves me.
Remedy: Every day we have to remind ourselves of the gospel. When we remember that we are loved by the God of the universe, we can rest knowing that He will renew our strength and give us a desire to do what he is asking of us. If you need a reminder, Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Because He Loves Me is a giant gulp of oxygen.
For more ideas as you forge ahead in your brand new homeschool, access ten years of homeschooling help at my site, Preschoolers and Peace. I also teach live online classes for elementary, middle school, and high school students alike: Kendra Fletcher-Outschool