As we all know, parents at GCA are also co-teachers. And we know being a spouse, parent, and a homeschool parent is tough; but you're not alone!
Over the next three weeks, we will feature guest blogs from our moms sharing their greatest struggles, and the things they've learned from homeschooling. We're hopeful this blog series will be an encouraging and helpful resources for all of our GCA parents!
Author: Courtney Rakes
Homeschooling can have many highs and lows. Charles Dickens wrote: "It was the best of times and the worst of times." I know he wasn't talking about homeschooling, but it sure sounds like it to me some days.
Challenge of Change
One challenge of homeschooling is the change that can take place during the day. It can be any change - academic or behavioral (heart) issues. You figure out that a system or plan works best for your child, but then the next week it isn't working so well. There are times that I think, "Why is this assignment taking so long? He knows how to do this. He must be having an off day." Homeschooling is wonderful because it gives you the freedom to help and teach your child in the way that works best for them. Parents know their child best, and whien I see that my child is getting frustrated or is trying to rush through something, I can say, "Let's take a break and come back to this in a bit." Or, if I know that my child is not working up to their potential, and being complacent, then we can talk about Colossians 3:23 "Working at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." Through these circumstances, we've been able to have some interesting discussions on character, patience, and perseverance.
Importance of Friendship
I think it's helpful for homeschooling parents to be able to have other homeschooling parents to talk with. The enemy loves to isolate us and make us question what we are doing or compare ourselves. Sometimes, I'll struggle with something, look around, and feel like I must be the only one dealing with this issue. But when I start sharing with friends, I hear stories that (even if they're not related to what I'm going through) provide hope and encouragement. Many times, we'll end up laughing about what our kids did and said that day.
When it really comes down to it, do we need to stress about whether we're staying on schedule, or if they're "being good"? We do need to be concerned about those things, to a degree, but it's important to have a community of homeschool parents who are walking with you so that we can remind each other to stay on mission and keep pointing our children to Christ.
Dying to Self
A big challenge for me is dying to myself daily. There are many times when I get so caught up in what needs to be done that I don't realize that I'm just checking things off the list. Math? Done. Reading? Done. "Hurry, finish up!"
Beckett will say, "Why do you have that look on your face? It looks like you're mad." Yikes. What a wake up call. I get so focused on me and my agenda that I'm not doing a good job at showing and demonstrating love. I'm not stopping and thinking of others first.
The thing I love about homeschooling is that you can make any moment a teaching moment. So when I catch myself in a "me" moment, I try to stop and change my behavior and attitude. It's an excellent time to regroup, confess to my child that I'm not being loving, and pray for God to change my heart. Now don't get me wrong, there are days I still fail miserably and at the end of the day I think, "I really should have done that differently." But that's the beauty of grace - we are not perfect, but we will try it again and hopefully have better results. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23
It's Worth It
Homeschooling is difficult at times, but I have enjoyed it so much that I don't mind the hard times. Honestly, when I look back at some of the struggles we've had, it's helped sharpen my family and allowed me to have some conversations with my child that have strengthened our relationship with the Lord and each other. I'm so grateful to have GCA as an option.
Charles Spurgeon once said, "You may speak but a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian Church in years to come."
I think we need to be reminded often that what we are doing matters. It may seem small or trivial, but it matters.
About the Author
Courtney Rakes is a wife and mother of 2. Courtney and her husband, Matt, are members at Providence Church. They have one student (Beckett, 2nd Grade) attending Grace Covenant Academy.