Jan 23, 2015

A Letter to the Chronically Ill Homeschool Mom

Dear Chronically Ill Homeschool Mom,

I know you, I have been you, I am still you but now only occasionally.  Each morning your eyes struggle to open, it feels too early, it's another day.  You still feel so exhausted, like you didn't sleep at all.  You're weary, your body hurts and you don't know how you will get through the day.  Your emotions are raw and tender because of the pain and fatigue.

The calling on your life to homeschool came with great expectations, a peaceful home, organized lessons and diligent smiling children who love each other and obey without delay.

But one day, things just weren't quite right.  You weren't feeling so well but you pushed yourself anyway to follow through with your well laid out plans.  Each day brings increasing pain and fatigue.  You struggle to understand why your body and mind won't cooperate.  You can't remember things, you're missing appointments, and your body hurts so badly.

You wonder why your children aren't understanding their lessons and why they're bickering and fighting.  You walk through your house frustrated because you see all that needs to be done, piles of laundry, the kitchen sink full of dishes with dried on food, toys and dishes still sitting around the living room.  It all overwhelms you and you can barely get breakfast made for everyone much less clean and organize the mess that lies all around.

You begin to ask yourself those questions that will ultimately feed the fear and defeat which are already creeping into your mind and heart.  Am I doing the right thing?  Do I have the right curriculum, the right schedule, the right children?

Maybe I'm to blame for their learning struggles, they're not reading yet, they don't know their multiplication tables, I can't give them what they need, teach them what they need to know or even be a very good example.  Who do I think I am?  Maybe all those people are right and I'm really not qualified to educate my children. Maybe I should just put my children in school!

When that first thought, the first lie creeps into your thinking that's when you need to STOP!  Here are some things that you might try to regain your perspective and think on what's true.

First of all, take a step back and take a deep breath. This may be a good time to get the children busy with something, make a cup of tea and take a little break.

Begin by taking every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Recognize the lies and replace them with the truth.  Grab a piece of paper, your smart phone or even a napkin and write it down.  Write down the truth, that if God called you to homeschool your children He will provide everything you need to do the job.  

Write down why you're homeschooling in the first place.  What was it that first made you want to homeschool?  Maybe write down a purpose statement for your family's homeschool.  Write down what's working.  Is it really as bad as you think?  You may want to get your husband's input or that of a close trusted friend.

Be honest!  If there are things which you could do better or something that you could change to make your homeschool work better then write that down as well.  Then pray and ask God to guide you and give you ideas for how you can change those things.

As a chronically ill homeschool mom, don't try to make your homeschool look like another homeschool and for heavens sake, please don't try to make it look like the public school!  The beauty of homeschooling is that each family can and should seek the Lord for how their family should homeschool because your children are not the same as my children or anyone else's children.

In reality, homeschools greatly differ even in homes where everyone is healthy.  Healthy homeschool Moms struggle with the same questions and doubts at times.  They have similar struggles getting their children out of bed, getting them to do chores and even struggles getting their children to understand that difficult Math lesson.

Our jobs are not easy, it's a calling that has been placed on our lives from the Lord and He promised to help us.

I like to write down scripture verses to remind myself of God's purpose, plan and provision.  Sometimes these are sticky notes that I place around the kitchen or on my laptop so I can be reminded throughout the day.  Sometimes they are reminders that pop up on my phone.  You can use whatever method works best for you.

Through our 14 years of homeschooling God has constantly been faithful to provide help and direction every time I've asked and He will help you too.

Once you release yourself from a standard that is not practical, realize that it's ok to have the children gather around for reading time snuggled up in blankets on the couch or in bed.  It's ok to listen to great books on audio or to watch an educational video when you're having a bad day and can't teach the lesson.

Finally, dear Mom, rest in the comfort that only God can give.  Surround yourself with those who can speak life to you when you just can't hear clearly.  Do not look anxiously about you, fix your eyes on God and take one day at a time.

much love,

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