Originally Sent: 8/19/2015
August 20, 2015
Join 20,000 others...
The HSLDA Curriculum Market is buzzing with activity! Save money on new and used homeschooling materials, or sell your extras.
By Vicki Bentley,
As a new school year approaches, wouldn’t it be great if homeschooling could feel less overwhelming and more joyful? This month, I’d like to encourage you with some thoughts—just as true today as they were when I originally posted them a few years ago.
As a fellow homeschool mom, I know that it can be overwhelming when that big box of curriculum arrives and you suddenly aren’t sure that you are up to the task. It can be overwhelming when you can’t seem to find the right key to unlock learning in your child. It can be overwhelming when life broadsides your homeschool. Even as my years of homeschooling experience climbed into the double digits, I still always felt more confident and equipped for a new year when I read through the organized back-to-school checklists—so I’m including a few helpful links for you at the end of this month’s newsletter; I hope these will help you feel less overwhelmed as you begin.
But what about the joy?
Allow me to give you a glimpse into the heart of this ordinary mom. Not a supermom, but a homeschool mom who, in the busy-ness and everyday-ness of life, awoke one day to the realization that I had no joy. The Lord directed me to Psalm 113:9 and showed me that making me a joyful mother of children ranked right up there with seating the poor with princes.
I purposed to not take life so personally, to laugh more, smile more, love my babies more, and cherish my family. I wanted them to remember their childhoods as joyful, contented times with a mom who treasured them—not to think back woefully to the stressed mother of their youth!
Here are six steps to “jump start” your joy as you begin this new school year:
2. Have realistic expectations of your children. Maybe you awakened this morning, still drowsy from the dream of a day when everybody gets himself up, makes his bed, tidies his room, speaks gently to the siblings, offers to take the smallest cookie, bundles the trash, folds the laundry, finishes his schoolwork by noon—all with no reminders. Then you smell the toast burning—and reality set in! Someone will very likely test the rules today; it is just part of the territory when you’re a parent. You can prepare yourself in the family service arena by having age-appropriate expectations, pre-determined consequences, and a sense of humor.
From ages 6 months to about 5 years, children are learning cheerful first-time obedience and basic routines. They need life to be very concrete and hands-on. They often can and want to help you, but they need lots of modeling and supervision, so don’t expect the results to be the same as if you did it all yourself! Be appreciative of their efforts.
From ages 5 to 12, they are being better trained in consistency, respectfulness, deference to others, diligence, thoroughness, and cheerful obedience.
From 12 to 18, they earn the privilege of independence and responsibility by showing their faithfulness to accomplish a task and to be accountable for their actions.
3. Have realistic expectations of yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to your friend or neighbor (or support group leader), recognize your own gifts and talents, your limitations, your specific family circumstances. It’s no mistake that your children got you as a parent—it’s by God’s design! Be aware, too, of your own needs for sleep, food, order, and encouragement. Is the Lord revealing to you any areas in which you might need to make adjustments?
4. Recognize that interruptions often are God’s purpose for your day—opportunities for ministry and discipleship of your children and of others. Instead of viewing the interruptions as frustrations to the success of your plans, you might consider the possibility that they are God’s way of reminding you what is really important today.
5. Recognize spiritual warfare for what it is. The mind is the enemy’s battlefield. I had to be reminded to take captive every harsh thought about my children, every selfish thought about my own entitlements in life, every self-pitying thought about being a less-than-perfect homeschool mom. I learned that the enemy really can’t take away my joy, but he sure can influence me to give it up! If you are committed to raising warriors for God, your family is a target for battle, and you may want to take inventory of your Ephesians 6 armor.
6. Recognize the source of true joy. I used to sing to my babies and toddlers: “Break forth into joy, O my soul; break forth into joy, O my soul; In the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore; break forth, break forth into joy, O my soul.” When I am spending time in God’s presence, I can choose to be joyful, to speak gently and cheerfully, and to recognize that I am blessed to have this season with my children.
Enjoy the start of a new adventure this fall! And for good measure, “check out” these checklists to help you start the year with confidence:
Teaching Home e-newsletter: Back to Home-School edition
HSLDA’s Home School Heartbeat—Back to School Checklist
Your Decision to Homeschool (Teaching Home online magazine)—Reaffirming your decision, and helping someone else to homeschool
“ … the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b NKJV)
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126:3 NKJV)
(Some resources may require an HSLDA member log-in. Not a member yet? Join today!)
(This article was adapted from the Early Years e-newsletter, August 2009.)
"Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens" is a newsletter of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All rights reserved. For more information on Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens or the Home School Legal Defense Association please contact us at:
HSLDA • P.O. Box 3000 • Purcellville, Virginia 20134-9000
Subscription Information: You subscribed to the "Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens" email as:
POSTMASTERS: This message is being sent to the most recent address we have for our subscribers. If this is an invalid email address or you have other problems, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message from HSLDA to its bonafide HSLDA E-lert Service subscribers. HSLDA cannot attest to the authenticity of copies posted, forwarded, or sent by any party other than HSLDA.
ADVERTISING WITH US: The appearance of advertisements in the Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens newsletter does not imply recommendation or endorsement by Home School Legal Defense Association, and the opinions expressed by advertisers do not necessarily reflect the views of HSLDA. Use of any information, product, or service herein advertised is voluntary, and reliance upon it should only be undertaken after independent review. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.
NOTE: Please do not reply or otherwise use this email address; email@example.com is for broadcast purposes only and is not intended to receive incoming messages. We cannot reply to any email sent to this address. If you have comments or questions, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call HSLDA at 540-338-5600. HSLDA members can also email staff directly through the Members website at http://members.hslda.org/contact.asp. Thank you for your cooperation.© 2018 HSLDA. All rights reserved.