By: Joceline Sweeney
I had never really planned on homeschooling, not because there was anything wrong with it, but it had never really crossed my mind until my oldest daughter was ready to start school. I had never felt so much unrest in my soul, as in that time. We had begun to do some “school work” during what would have been her junior kindergarten year, but as registration for the next school year was fast approaching a real decision had to be made. We participated in our local school tours and my spirit would not settle, my mind was so bombarded as to what to do. I remember standing in my bedroom and telling God” I don’t know what to do!” I should have done this a lot sooner, because He right then and there gave me such a clear answer, “Homeschool” just one simple word. Literally within seconds my spirit completely calmed and I was filled with such peace. Although I had never met anyone who had been homeschooled or knew anyone who was doing it, I finally had peace.
Thus began our homeschool journey, which was now 12 years ago, I am excitedly looking forward to our 13th year this September.
So why the title “Stand Your Ground”?
I have learned a thing or two in the past years to share some advice to new and some old homeschoolers alike. Something I wished I had learned much earlier on in our homeschooling days. I am a people pleaser, not in a bad way, but I don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings. Unfortunately this was a bad combination when it came to favors being asked that were during our school days. I had a hard time saying no for years, but ended up being one very frustrated teacher/mother.
“I know you’re in school but since you are home anyways, could I drop off so and so for a few hours I have an appointment” Yes, I am home but I have a job to do! Have you ever tried teaching algebra with a little one running through the house making a child- like racket! It is very difficult for anyone to concentrate.
“Your kids can stay up late at this function, they can sleep in their homeschooled” Have you ever tried to teach a tired and cranky child literature? Let me tell you it is not a time of joy for both mom and student! Tears usually follow and let’s just say they’re not from the child;)
Would you mind coming to help at this function, it is a great cause, but it is during the school day?” How many teachers in conventional schools leave their students to go volunteer elsewhere during a school day? Whether is it three students or thirty students their education is a priority! If my children fail a year I can’t blame anyone else but me!
I have learned now to set limits and boundaries to our school day. Although these were very worthy requests and causes, they were not in mine or my family’s best interest for that time. I have had to learn to stand my ground when favors or requests are asked. I have learned that not everyone will understand my decisions. I have had to run to God as my safe place, He was the one who called me to this beautiful life of homeschooling, He will help me through it. I have learned that other homeschoolers run their schools differently than ours, but I need to be true to myself, my family and my limitations.
We still do a lot of volunteer work and we are part of many great things, but we have chosen to protect our school day for all our sake.
I have learned that saying NO has opened a door to a much greater YES.
I have learned that a happy, not overwhelmed teacher/mom is more understating, she is more patient, she is more kind and she is way more joyful!
She has more patience when an algebra concept isn’t being grasped, she has time to rejoice when it is!
She doesn’t feel rushed as she sits on the couch to read some literature, but now it is a time for snuggling and enjoying the story together.
She has made homeschooling her priority and her children are excelling right where God has placed them.
Homeschooling has truly been the best decision we have ever made, from the hours of time we have had to pour into our children’s lives, to the honor of teaching each one of our girls to read. From their struggles to their triumphs we have been through them together!
So I say, when it comes to homeschooling, Stand Your Ground, and be amazed at the outcome.
Joceline is a Jesus loving, label making, organizing, cute-scarf wearing, home-schooling mom of three. Married to her Best friend, fire-fighter husband of almost 19 years.