by Susan Pineda
How can I homeschool if my kids won’t do what I ask?
That is a really great question – an important, practical question. If it is a constant battle to get the work done, or worse – it seems impossible to get the work done, then what? Do I have to admit defeat and quit? Am I just not cut out for this?
I hit that wall once. It surprised me because it was about three years in to what had previously been very rewarding, productive homeschool years. What happened? I was “this close” to quitting. I am eternally grateful I did not quit. I thank God for the valuable life lessons I learned during that difficult time.
The Day I Almost Quit started out much like all the others – get up, get ready, have breakfast, read the Bible while the kids eat, dishes pile up, nag kids to get teeth brushed and back downstairs to start some (in my opinion) wonderfully captivating book work.
This is where my memory gets fuzzy. I don’t remember exactly what pushed my button hard enough to make mild-mannered-me pop a gasket, but I did pop, so much so that the kids were sent off to their rooms in wide-eyed shock. It had been building up since our first day of school that year!
This is where my memory is very clear. I planned to look into schools pronto, but first, biting back hot angry tears, I started off to the kitchen to wash the dishes that had somehow piled to cartoon proportions so I could “at least get something done around here.” I stopped in my tracks ambushed by a realization, “If I could not manage my own children, should I really send them away for someone else to do it for me?” Could that have been God? Maybe! I don’t know, but it sure got me thinking. I went straight to the couch and prayed my heart out.
Did God want me to homeschool? Would sending my kids to school be giving up on his path for us?
Hey! (Enter ray of hope.) Am I a manager? I had worked for several managers during my short career. I remembered how great it felt to work for a good boss. I was motivated, inspired, happy, and productive. I remembered how miserable it felt to work for a bad boss. I was anxious, confused, frustrated, and defeated. My prayers shifted to, “God, please let me be a good boss to my kids!”
When I was done praying, I invited the kids down to talk. We talked about responsibility, theirs and mine. We talk about living together with understanding and patience, bearing with one another in love. We talked about diligence, working with a cheerful heart, genuine humility, and most of all, love. We made a pact that day to work together to get the work done so we could have more fun together. We promised to work on listening, really listening to each other.
This hit home for me. So often I would jump to conclusions about their behavior or what they had to say. I needed to give them grace and help them learn how to express themselves maturely. So often they would react to my instructions with resistance, not thinking about the fact that Mom has feelings. We promised to listen to each other with humility, respect, and love. We were back on the same team!
I learned some growing can only happen through challenge. But God is faithful to provide what we need to grow. I learned homeschooling is really an extension of parenting. That was eye-opening. So I began to humbly work on my parenting skills. Because God himself gave me the responsibility to parent and homeschool, I needed to persevere. He was my good boss and model for me as manager to those He granted me authority to lead. God worked out that difficult year, that upsetting day, for our good.
God may call you to something different. For your own situation, whatever you are dealing with (special needs? health problems? caring for elderly parents?) God may call you to a different parenting/homeschooling approach, You can be confident if God has called you to homeschool, He will be faithful to provide what you need to do the job.
Susan and her husband, Greg began homeschooling their two children in September 1999, the month they moved to Ventura and joined the Association of Christian Home Educators of Ventura County (ACHEV). Greg and Susan have been leading ACHEV since 2016, honored to invest back into the group that faithfully nurtured them through their home education years.