There are definitely challenges to homeschooling. There are days when no matter how you explain it, your child just won’t understand. There are days when tears seem unavoidable. There are days when you never get to the fun art projects and learning games you had intended for the day. There are days when all of us can’t wait for lunch.
I try my best to make learning fun, but I also try not to deceive myself by thinking that every day will be a fun day in the school room. Some days, I can’t wait to send my kids outside to play.
But I’m learning (and I by no means have this lesson down yet) that I have two choices on those hard days. I can either fight against my child and force-feed each lesson, or I can come alongside and overcome with him.
Our battles will either be “me against my child” or “us against the problem.”
It seems such an obvious choice, but so many times I find myself on the wrong side of the battle. “I don’t know why you can’t understand this.” “Look at the word. Just sound out the letters you see.” “You added this together just yesterday. Why can’t you get it today?” The look in their eyes reproaches me, and I realize that I’m not helping. Suddenly, I am the firing squad instead of the general coming alongside his troops. Even if we do figure out our issue, there is no joy—only a sense of relief.
Then, there are the moments when, in God’s grace, I’m where I’m supposed to be, alongside my child with encouragement. “I’m not sure what you aren’t understanding. Let’s try it this way instead.” I patiently ask questions to find out what they do or do not know. I walk them through time and time again, assuring them that it’s okay to get it wrong. We pause and pray, realizing that God is the giver of wisdom and knowledge. I get out more manipulatives or a wipe board. I give hugs, smile a lot, and wink encouragement, intentionally swallowing the heavy sighs I may be feeling inside. And then when the epiphany happens and we break through the barrier, there is such joy! Not merely relief, but joy and a bond. We did it together. My child and I can share the victory and enjoy the moment. It becomes a lesson, not in math or reading, but in character and the grace of God, a journey we can be thankful for.
Honestly, when I think of homeschooling my kids, this concept makes the top of the list. It’s not the dreamy days of art and smiles and a brilliantly sun-lit school room that I envision. Instead it’s the hard days when my children learn that their parents, and ultimately God, are beside them in the difficulty helping them through rather than on the sidelines critiquing their performance.
Life is tough, and I’m okay with some of our school days reflecting that. But I’m not okay with my sinful flesh turning a moment of camaraderie into a moment of combat. Sometimes, God has bigger lessons than addition and subtraction on our planner, if I’m only willing to consult His curriculum instead of mine.