We all face hard seasons. There are those spans of time that seem to be an endless march of challenging circumstances and difficult situations.
It’s life. We’ve all been there.
Many homeschooling families find that the homeschool lifestyle gives them the flexibility they need to press through the dilemmas and come out the other side stronger. In my family, we’ve homeschooled while I worked full-time night shift for several years, through my husband’s job layoff (which came, of course, after I left my job to stay home full-time), through full-time travel, during pregnancies, with or without “real” curriculum, or money for gas and decent groceries.
In recent years, the hardest trial my family has gone through has been my husband’s insane work schedule where he worked 50-70 hours each week. He was blessed to have a job, we know – but the wear and tear on his health and the emotional needs of the family were a great burden on us both.
Some of our sweet babies.
My trials are small in comparison to some. There are homeschool families who have braved unthinkable tests, like one reader whose daughter had a brain tumor; but that family rejoices in the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling allows.
Our journeys take us down paths that are unique. No matter; we hold in common the goal to keep our homeschool dream alive, well-nurtured, growing, and to keep our joy in the process.
Keeping the Joy in Your Homeschool When Life is Hard
When life seems to be chugging at you, full-steam ahead, here are 6 ways to keep the joy in your homeschool when the rest of life seems hard:
- Make the best of it – The picture above with the two good looking boys with their shovels, those are my oldest. On this particular day our pipes had frozen due to sub-zero temps here in Virginia. I had Jadin and Zion break through 6-inches of ice on our pond and fill buckets of water to haul down to the house so I could flush the toilets. We made the best of it. It was a true life skills day, and somehow we’ll always treasure the memories from the hauling-water-from-the-frozen-pond-so-mom-can-flush-the-toilets day!
Keep a thankful journal – This is so important to me personally. Count your blessings, name them one by one. When you feel like you’re in the muck of life, be sure to keep a thankful journal handy. This can be a simple notebook from the Dollar Store and an ink pen that you leave on the counter. Write down any simple joy. I highly recommend Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. You’ll change your perspective and find gifts everywhere! It’s also a good habit for your children to keep a thankful journal too.
- Take a day off – My friend and wise homeschool mother of eight, Marianne, wrote about Taking a Homeschool Grace Year, which can really look however you need it to look and depends on the dynamics of your situation. I highly recommend taking a mental health day as needed. Throw in a field trip day, have a just-for-fun pancake party, invite two or three other homeschooling families over for a fellowship day, go to a museum, or stay in those jammies and veg together with some great Netflix documentaries. Changing things up goes a long way to helping your perspective.
Enjoy the little things - Oh, the little things. Make the most of the little moments and you’ll find yourself having a grand day. Get outside and run with your children. Or one of my favorites: spread out on the couches and read the afternoon away together as a family. Snuggle, laugh, and enjoy the everyday moments. The struggles of today will one day be a distant memory but your children are only children once. Enjoy them.
Read an encouraging homeschool book! – When life is hard, and especially when life and homeschooling are hard, you must have a good homeschool book available for reading. Educating the WholeHearted Child and When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling are two of my favorite homeschool books that have given me tremendous encouragement over the years. And for an additional healthy prospective read Kris’s wisdom filled article, 10 things I’d change if I could have a homeschool do-over.
It’s about the journey - Just because life in general may be difficult at this moment doesn’t mean that you can’t have joy in life and in homeschool. During another polar opposite season in our family when my husband lost his job, our only source of income, in the middle of one homeschool year, we had many valuable life lessons. (You can read the full story here.) We did our best to enjoy that season of layoff even though uncertainty tried to beat on us and steal our joy. We fought and kept our joy because we knew that Jesus knew exactly where we were an no matter the situation we were going to fight hard to enjoy each day.
My 10-year-old son, Zion, reading his chapter book in the sunshine. Makes my homeschool mom heart go thump-thump.
Enjoy the messy, enjoy each moment, enjoy the gift of homeschooling rolled right up in life’s struggles. Keep your homeschool dream alive when life is hard because the lessons that families can learn together in difficulties are just as valuable as bookwork. Oftentimes even more so.
Please share in the comments; how do you keep the joy in your homeschool when life is hard?
Jamerrill Stewart is wife to Travis of nearly 16-years and mother of 6 children ages 13, 10, 7, 4, 2, 1. Her and her family make their home in the rural Shenandoah Valley where their days are filled with classic, read alouds, sippy cups, and laundry. Jamerrill is the creator and owner of FreeHomeschoolDeals.com where she helps families afford the homeschool life.