Inside: As a homeschool mom, you are absolutely going to have days when you want to quit. When you do, read this before you start filling out the enrollment papers.
It starts when you drive by a school randomly one day, and it all comes flooding back to you: the smell of fresh pencils and crayons, the joy of a new backpack, and fond memories of a new school year.
School couldn’t have been that bad, right? Not if I loved it so much?
Then your best friend mentions her older kids start school next week. She will only have her two-year-old at home…five blessed, quiet days a week.
Gosh, that sounds wonderful. You quickly wipe the wistful look off your face and try to remind yourself of all the school things you were jumping up and down to miss out on: the homework, the paperwork, carpooling, drop-off and pick-up, volunteering, catering to someone else’s schedule, the guilt when you drop your kids off late (again).
But it’s just not doing the trick.
The next day, your kids are having one of those days. You know the ones – the days when no one can get along about anything. They even fight in line at McDonald’s – McDonald’s! When you’re about to serve their faces nuggets with packets of sugar sauce and blessedly salty french fries.
McDonald’s was supposed to make the day better, not worse. When you see the grin on the face of the man behind you, you have to laugh out loud because really, what else can you do? Well, you could yell, but you’re in public. Not worth it.
A week later, you’re back at homeschooling, and you wonder whether anything you’re saying is getting through.
Your son gets up and walks away mid story, says he’ll listen to the rest later.
Your daughter still can’t spell worth a darn.
And you just realized that your almost four-year-old doesn’t know how to write his freakin’ name – all your husband’s previously unfounded fears are coming alive right in front of you, all with an adorable grin on his face.
That night, you see a job opportunity flash across your Facebook news feed.
Your friend’s company is hiring and needs someone with skills just like yours. You could even work from home! You light up for a second, and then come back to reality.
Oh yeah, you homeschool. You’re not going to be doing anything like that for say, the next ten years at least?
Should you quit homeschooling?
Days and thoughts like these really add up, until on one really low day, you find yourself really tempted to quit homeschooling. But the question that’s on your mind isn’t really, “Should I quit homeschooling?”, but “Will it be worth it?”
Twenty years from now, are you really going to look back and believe that the sacrifice was all worth it?
And deep down, all of us homeschool moms are more than just a little afraid that the answer will be, “No.”
We’re afraid that we’ll cross the finish line and realize we made the wrong choice. Even though all parenting is faith anyways, what if our kids resent it? What if they missed out on opportunities they could have had? What if we regret our choice?
What if. What if. What if.
The Movie Every Homeschool Mom Should Watch
Right about now, you need to put the kids to bed early, crash on the couch and watch Mr. Holland’s Opus.
I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count. I grew up with parents as teachers who needed the pick me up at least once a year if not twice…ok, three times. If you think you need a reminder that what you’re doing is worth it as a homeschool parent, try being a public school teacher.
If you haven’t seen the movie (and I’ll try not to spoil it too much), it tells the tale of Mr. Holland, a composer turned music teacher. Teaching was supposed to be a side gig, nothing permanent. Just something to earn a little money so he could return to composing full-time after a couple of years. He was going to write the great American symphony that was going to make him rich and famous.
But life happened. Doesn’t it always?
Two years turns into five years turns into ten years.
Composing keeps getting pushed aside for one reason or another, and he ends up pouring the majority of his life into teaching instead. When the unexpected happens, and he is forced to retire, he wonders whether it was all worth it.
When you feel like you might be wasting your life? Mr. Holland’s Opus will remind you that “Maybe your greatest contribution…may not be something you do, but someone you raise” (Andy Stanley).
When you don’t know how you can have the patience for one more lesson? Mr. Holland’s Opus will help you remember that it only takes one encounter, one brief interaction to forever alter a child’s destiny.
When you chafe at the difficult financial sacrifices you’re making? Mr. Holland’s Opus will remind you that money isn’t everything.
And at the very end, you’ll remember all over again that the sacrifices you’re making are not unseen. You are making a difference in the lives of your children – you just can’t see it right now.
It’s just too close.
Your kids? They’re symphonies. But like every symphony, it definitely doesn’t sound like one when it’s being penned. Each instrument’s part has to be added, layer by layer. But every single note is a necessary part of that symphony. Only after it’s all done, only when you listen to the whole thing, can you hear the genius of it all.
And that’s after hours and months, sometimes even years, of work.
So put down your composer pencil for just a minute. Get out the chocolate – the good stuff you hide in your closet – and watch the movie (just buy it already – you can thank me a few months from now when you want to watch it again).
Oh, and don’t forget tissues. I’m not a crier, and I cry. Every. Single. Time.
Then wipe your eyes, take a deep breath, and commit to pick up that pencil again. Remind yourself why you decided to do this crazy homeschooling thing in the first place.
You’re composing a symphony, homeschool mama. Every note matters. Some notes might sound discordant and completely wrong, right about now.
But when you put those notes with all the rest? I promise, it’ll be an opus, and there will be nothing in the world just like it.
P.S. Know another mom who really needs this right now? Pin it, share it on Facebook, send it in an e-mail!