a recovering perfectionist’s guide to homeschooling {part 1}


I realize that a little over five years of homeschooling does not make me an expert on the subject. I haven’t graduated any students, but I haven’t throttled any either. How about if I just share some things I’ve learned on my homeschooling journey? I’ll be writing a few posts in this series.

As a recovering perfectionist, I typically have to learn things the hard way. The really hard way. I want to do things perfect, the first time. You see the problem, don’t you? Both parenting and homeschooling have been great laboratories where God has been reworking my DNA. I am learning to give myself the same grace He gives me. I am learning to yield and flex in the midst of this work-in-progress business. I’m even attempting to learn as I go, rather than insisting that I know everything upfront, before I even begin. I’ll start by sharing one of the most important things necessary to homeschooling:

Seek God on every decision, every problem, every need.

My homeschooling journey began with God asking me to homeschool. I am grateful for the clarity on that, because there have been many days that I would have quit if it were not for Him calling me to do it. Every year, I go back to the Lord and ask Him to show me what is best for each child. To my surprise, He has not asked me to homeschool all of my children every year. I thought that when He called me to teach at home, that I would do it long term. However, there have been times when He wanted my children to be in a different school setting, and I have never regretted following His lead on this. After all, He knows my children better than I do!

After receiving my calling years ago, I made the mistake of taking the reigns and doing the rest on my own. Imagine my shock when things did not go as perfectly as I had planned! I’ve often let finances, my preferences, other people’s recommendations, and my own reasoning determine the choices I made in curriculum, scheduling, activities, and classroom management. I learned the hard way that God’s ways and plans are far better than my own– even in homeschooling.

O Eternal One, I know our lives are in Your hands.
It is not in us to direct our own steps—we need You. Jeremiah 10:23

I’ve found that God has answers for me on everything from curriculum choices, to scheduling, to behavior issues. He has counseled me on learning roadblocks, burnout, and household management. I have been amazed to see how very specific the Lord is with me on occasions. For example, years ago when I was schooling my 7th and 4th grade girls at home, with a little one afoot, He gave me a brilliant rotation to use in order to get the girls’ work done and still care for my baby boy. He had me write all of the girls work (in a form of short hand) on our white board under two categories: independent work, and what we called “tandem” work. We flexed and rotated through working together while the baby slept, the girls working independently while I nursed him, and each of the girls playing with her brother while I gave the sister individual “tandem” instruction. I couldn’t have written out a schedule that worked as well as the rotation did. It was different each day, but flexing along the way, we managed to get it all done! I know it was God who came up with the idea, because I was pretty much out of my mind at the time.

Probably the hardest part of seeking God for answers on all of these issues is pressing in to hear His counsel. We’re too busy to slow down and listen. We get impatient while (self-imposed) deadlines come and go. We read the scriptures looking for what we want to hear, rather than what He would honestly speak to our hearts.

Slow down, sister. Let Him speak. He knows the unmet need you’re frantic about. Do you know that the very provision is on its way? It’s no mistake that you are called to teach. He knows your shortcomings, and plans to use them to showcase His glory. Don’t worry if you’re already halfway into something that He didn’t choose for you. His grace allows plenty of space for u-turns and do-overs. The best teachers are teachable; let Him guide you and instruct you. Be still and press in to hear what He wants to speak to your heart.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11





other posts in this series:

a recovering perfectionist’s guide to homeschooling {part 2}

a recovering perfectionist’s guide to homeschooling {part 3}

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Jeremiah 10:23 taken from The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.

photo credit: gjismyp.files.wordpress.com


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