H is for Heart. I might get in trouble for some of what I say in this post, but it is what is on my heart this morning and I might add, solely my opinion. For the record, I am preaching to myself on some level. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart, it takes what I like to call "sticktoitivness" aka long term commitment. It's not for people who never finish what they start or those who are easily distracted or aggravated by the presence of children just being children.
Christian Homeschooling especially, demands that we have a heart for God's best for our children, a heart for learning, a heart for commitment, a heart for obedience. As much as I wish it was, homeschooling isn't for everyone. For the mom that can't be bothered with teaching their child (aka wanting a curriculum that doesn't require much of their involvement), they may not have a heart of homeschooling. I hope I am not misunderstood because I know moms of multiple children do need curriculum that simplify their school day. I am referring to the mothers who don't want their decision to homeschool affecting their lifestyle too much.
Making the decision to homeschool isn't a decision to make lightly and it isn't easy to implement for a lot of families. It takes a level of sacrifice that some mothers are unwilling to make. Sometimes it requires giving up a second income and all the "perks" that came with that second income. For the mom that was already staying at home it may mean chores are harder to get accomplished or that grocery shopping may happen in the evening or on weekends. Speaking of groceries, food consumption may go up with everyone home more often. Our grocery bill almost doubled when we first started homeschooling, but since we had a loss of income we had to make some serious adjustments. If not for a heart for homeschooling something like that could have easily caused me to say, "We can't do this. I need to get a job."
Having a heart for homeschooling, in my mind, means staying the course and not being swayed by emotions, financial struggles or the opinions of others. I have seen some homeschool parents who homeschool one year, put children in school the next, pull them again and on and on. That kind of thing wouldn't work for my family so I have a hard time seeing how that is good for anyone and to me, that scenario says there is no heart of homeschooling. It screams indecisiveness and uncertainty. I feel the need to clarify I am talking about the rule, not the exceptions of family illness or tragedy that requires children going back to school for a season.
The flexibility of homeschooling is truly wonderful and if homeschooling mothers can remember that it may make having a heart for homeschooling easier to come by. As a new homeschooler I had it in my head that school happens from 8-3pm. I needed to have some experience and get some education from other homeschoolers to truly own the idea that homeschooling can be flexible and that I could be flexible. Have you ever been so rigid about stuff that nothing sways you? I truly had to learn that learning can happen outside the hours of 8-3 and I also had to train my children for that as well, since they were so used to that school schedule.
I learned that a heart for homeschooling means that what I want may not always come first. I am not saying we have to be martyrs or suddenly not take care of ourselves because we are overwhelmed with school. What I am saying is that my personal preferences may have to come at a price of inconvenience now and then because as a homeschooling mom, educating my children is a top priority.
I also learned that having a heart for homeschooling has no relation to our confidence in our ability to do so or whether or not we feel qualified. It simply means that I will keep the commitment to homeschool no matter what hard stuff is going on in life and even if it turns out to be nothing like I imagined it would be. I will not be wishy washy and unsure if I should be homeschooling. I believe when I began homeschooling that it was divine intervention and that I should commit to it for the duration. There have been plenty of times I was overwhelmed, wanted to quit, didn't want to be around my kids etc., etc., but I knew quitting was not an option. I get through those times with prayer and giving myself a time out. I also try to stay positive and when I am mad about something I try to think of things I am pleased with in our homeschool and remind myself that the good outweighs the not so good.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV