Hi there, busy homeschool parent!

I’m here to make sure you’re doing absolutely everything. I notice you’re overseeing your children’s education, ferrying them around to activities, helping them through the rough patches of life—yes, yes, that’s all good. But what else are you doing? Are you reading books to improve yourself? Just read 100 pages while cooking supper! You are cooking supper from scratch every night, right? If you’d get that backyard garden going, you could provide nourishing food for your family while also getting in your thirty minutes of daily exercise!

Also, do you follow current events, go on weekly dates with your spouse, serve at church, spend an hour with each child individually, journal your experiences, cook meals for the sick, run a business out of your home, and custom design your curriculum?

I’ll stop now. No, you don’t do “absolutely everything,” and neither do I. Nobody can. But for some reason, we think we’re supposed to.

As a homeschooling mom, I spent far too many years existing in a haze of vague guilt. No matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. There was always so much more that I was supposed to be doing. In the area of homeschooling specifically, it’s all too easy to fall prey to a To-Do List. I’d finish a school week with several goals checked off, only to see that another family accomplished an entirely different set of goals. I’d think, my family and I should do those things too, and my discouragement deepened.

Fortunately, God is always on hand to change my perspective. All those years ago, as I stared at my To-Do List of everything I didn’t do, God gently flipped the paper over. That’s when I saw my Do List.

The Do List shows me what I do accomplish. For all those days when I don’t read more books or get more exercise or help a child launch a home business, I do a lot of other things. In fact, my list might make some other mom feel inadequate, because what comes easily to me is a struggle for her. But that’s not why I have a Do List. It exists just for me, so I can take satisfaction in my own work.

We all have areas to improve, of course. We can always work on better communication with our family, resolve conflicts, pick up new hobbies, or just trim time-wasters to make room for what’s really important. The essential thing to keep in mind, though, is that we can’t do absolutely everything—especially not as homeschooling parents.

The next time you’re overwhelmed by what you “ought to” be doing, pause a moment. Flip over your To-Do list and take look at your Do List. It’s there to remind you that while you don’t do it all, you do a lot.

—Sara