The Reason I Could Never Homeschool


The Reason I Could Never Homeschool {Danika Cooley at Thinking Kids}  It’s a question I approach with extreme caution:  “Where do your kids go to school?”

Apparently, it is impossible to homeschool without thinking everyone else in the world should also.  At least, that must be the perception.   Most frequently, the answer that I homeschool is met with a blank stare.  After that, the most common response I receive is a list of all the reasons my partner in conversation can not possibly ever (never, ever!) homeschool.  Inevitably, I hear, “I just don’t have the patience for that.”

Oh, friend, if only you could see my heart! I love books.  I love learning.  I love teaching.  I love my kids.  I have felt called to homeschool for years (years!), and yet, I don’t have the patience for it.  I’m not loving enough, I’m not kind enough, I’m just not enough.  Period.  As with anything else the Lord has called me to, I avoided all mention and discussion of homeschooling – until He hit me with a proverbial 2 x 4.

So… now I’m a homeschooler.  I’m still not patient enough, not kind enough, not loving enough.  But I am on my knees.  I am on my face.  I am praying with my husband.  My small group prays for me, and I have friends who pray for me.  Some days, I lock myself in the bathroom and pray for myself – again.  What do I pray for?  I pray for love, patience and kindness… just enough for the day.  I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my path.

I also ask for forgiveness often.  (So often, I’m embarrassed.)  My children are very gracious and, by all appearances, they still love me.

We have had some excellent homeschooling moments.  Days, even weeks, have passed in which everything has gone smoothly; everyone has learned and we’ve all bonded together.  It’s in these moments that the temptation arises to feel I am a stellar teacher, and a stellar mom.  That’s when our golden moments disappear like a cloud of smoke and I’m left with the realization that I am merely a sinner, with a broken heart and a need for my Savior.

Those are the moments that, again, drive me to my knees in humility and desperation.

I love homeschooling.  I love my children, and I love the opportunity to invest some of the gifts the Lord has so freely given me.  Never do I forget the reason I shouldn’t homeschool: my own character.  Thankfully, in God’s economy, shouldn’t is always can - as long as we walk in His will.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.

Comments

  1. Mary Lou says

    GREAT post! Love the authenticity of this post. So often people think that because I (or you) home school my children, I must have it altogether.

    NO!

    How refreshing to read someone else who expresses the same thing.

    Keep on keepin’ on sister!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Mary Lou! It’s important for me to remember I don’t have it all together. I think it’s also important for us to avoid portraying that we do. All we can do is disciple to be more like our Lord and love our children fiercely. :)

    • says

      Love this post. Found it via Pinterest. It describes me EXACTLY, from getting that same response from every mom I have ever talked to, to feeling called, to not being patient enough, to begging God for the patience to get through today, to asking forgiveness of my kids (and God) again and again. Beautifully written.

      • says

        Thank you, Sara. I am happy to report that 3 years into homeschooling, I am either more patient, or my kids are more obedient… or I’ve abandoned all expectations (joking!). But I still find that the whole experience is worthy of a good deal of prayer for my own character development!

        God bless you homeschooling trip.

        ~ Danika

  2. Vinae says

    Thanks for this honesty. I’ve been struggling with the question to homeschool or not (and this comes from a product of a homeschool!). One of my struggles is that I am not at all disciplined with my time, which often comes down to patience. Thanks for the reminder that my own character shouldn’t get in the way of what God wants. I still don’t know what that is, but it is a good reminder.

    • says

      Vinae, Thank you for the comment. I absolutely think homeschooling is the best decision we’ve ever made. I love the time with my kids and I cherish being able to teach them. It’s also clear to me that God has used the process of homeschooling to clarify and refine my character – I think I’m learning more that the kids! I pray that the Holy Spirit makes His leading clear to you. :)

  3. says

    Danika, I have gone back and forth about homeschooling (and still do). I love the idea of homeschooling, but like you, I worry that I won’t have enough of everything (love, patience, etc.) to make it work. Thanks for baring your soul!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment! I think most of us worry that our own character won’t be up to the task of parenting, much less homeschooling. I’ve found my character to be lacking, but I’ve also found that God is willing to grow me! :)

  4. says

    Danika, thank you for this! Seriously. I would say you have no idea how much this has blessed me today, but I just read this, so I know that you do know. I’m crying just a little right now… but mostly I just want to hug you.

  5. Odette Jenneker says

    Wow! It felt like I was reading my own thoughts/feelings! Very well put. Its amazing because just this morning (after a good home schooling morning) I stood washing dishes and thought about how many times I’ve wanted to give up and the only thing that has kept me going is knowing that God led me to home school and if He led me,He will carry me and He truly has – through all the ups and downs, He has been constant – what a privilege to be able to be with our kids and guide them through the precious years of schooling and ensure that their foundation is solid.

    • says

      Odette,

      When I first started homeschooling, a good friend told me: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.” Wow, how true that has been!

      Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t agree more.

      ~ Danika

  6. Michelle says

    Amen! People always praise me and say I must be so organized or so patient. And I always walk away thinking….I’m really NOT…Are other homeschoolers patient and organized?….Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Thank you for this reminder that when I am weak, He is strong!

  7. says

    I can comment on both sides. I homeschooled for five years. I started when I only had one child, and continued for a couple years after the other 3 came along. My issue now, is that instead of feeling judged because I homeschool, I now feel judged because I don’t (by those who do). It seems that so many homeschoolers think we are destroying our children by sending them off to school ,especially if it is public school. I think we need to remember that we are all humans behind our titles. That mothers love their children despite their choice on how they school them. For our family, this is what is best for us. Maybe it will change in years to come and maybe it won’t. I am totally okay with how others choose to educate and I don’t judge. We all do what we feel is the very best for our families and that’s all we can do.

    • says

      Melinda,

      We have done public, private and homeschooling. I was surprised by the reactions when we started homeschooling, but most surprised by the assertion that I must be homeschooling because of my patience.

      I agree that we must give each other a measure of grace.

      ~ Danika

  8. Dave Norton says

    Interesting, very interesting! But true. During the home schooling years, that are far behind us now, my wife became a real prayer warrior because she knew her short comings and that of others (we’re all sinners saved by grace). My wife became the driving force for the women’s prayer ministry at church during this time, and now years later, what I am most happy about is that ALL 4 of my children ( from 40 down to 30) Love Jesus, and best that I can tell, the grandchildren that are old enough to understand do as well! What more could a Grandpa ask?

  9. says

    Thank you for sharing this! I have 4 children, (3 in public school) and I long to homeschool, but have always said I do not have the patience! There are other factors in why I am not homeschooling now (yet?) but I know now that patience doesn’t need to be one of them! :) THANK YOU!

  10. Iain says

    Most people today home-school primarily to prevent their children from being exposed to religious opinions that differ from their own. Is that really open-minded, and in keeping with letting our children make their own decisions? Or is it instead an example of indoctrination? We all say we want our children to have choice, but is that just lip service? Is home-schooling just a way to ensure that parents are able to “normalise” their own religious rituals in their children’s lives throughout the weekday? People shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that they home-school for other reasons, or rationalise home-schooling to other people with other reasons, if this is their primary reason. Several people have essentially admitted this in their comments above, so I’m not pointing out anything that people are capable of admitting.

    Since this is the reason that people home school, the people who do so have no grounds to criticse when Muslim immigrants do a similar thing – enrolling in the Saudi-supported brain-washing madrassas that are now being imported to “western” countries. Muslim indoctrination in a madrassa isn’t much different than Christian indoctrination via home-schooling. If, as a society, we don’t support public education, and we don’t accept the risk that our children MAY leave our religion because of exposure to other religions opinions at school, we need to also accept that the children of immigrants will not receive exposure to our children and our values during their formative elementary school years. What’s more of a threat to you, your children, and the future of your values and society: that your child won’t get exposed to enough of your religion at school, or that immigrant children will be exposed to too much of theirs at a madrassa? People need to consider this carefully, and remember the influence their children can have on others in a public school, not just the effect of the public school on their children. We can expose our children to our religious opinions every morning, every night, and all weekend long. There are other life lessons and values it is good for them to learn via exposure to other people in their community – both those we agree with, and those we disagree with.

  11. KBR says

    Sad that there apparently are those who think homeschooling is only about religious indoctrination! I never even considered homeschooling until a move put my children in an absolute MESS of a school district where the teaching was a full grade level below the level my children were used to. I tried to work with the school and work with the parent-teacher group, while time and potential learning just slipped away and my children and I all got more frustrated.

    I got all the information and resources I could and just dove in. (And yes, I prayed a LOT!) It took us a little while to get settled in, but the children thrived, LEARNED, learned to love learning again, and I wouldn’t trade those homeshooling years for anything.

    Later, when we relocated to a much better school district and it became necessary for me to work full-time, the children were entrusted to the public school system again. Homeschooling isn’t about “brain washing” children ~ it’s about giving them a healthy, safe, loving learning environment where they can thrive and not be limited to the agenda of a local school board/school/teacher or limited to moving along at the pace of the average child in a particular area.

    As a parent, one has the great responsibility to do the best they can for their children. That may mean giving up more income or time for other things to homeschool and prepare a child for the big world, to make them able to start college without having to do remedial classes of things they should have been taught in high school… and yes, to teach them to think for themselves.

    It’s an individual decision. And it can be a huge blessing, not just for the parents and children, but for the community and world. I don’t trust for a minute that just doing what the majority do (public school attendance) makes for better, smarter, or more well-rounded and well-adapted future generations.

  12. says

    Glad to find someone who feels the same way I feel! From the time I had my babies I wanted to keep them home and teach them, Now with a 5 year old and actually having to think about schooling, I have become overwhelmed and unsure. I still want to homeschool, but I can think of soooooo many reason why i just can’t do it! Thanks for posting!

    • says

      Ashley,

      It helps me to remember that apart from the Lord, I can do nothing worthwhile. It’s through His strength that I’m able to homeschool… never through my own strength, patience or brilliance. I am blessed to be equipped by Him to do the work He’s called me to.

      I hope you have a fantastic time schooling your little one! Five is a fun age.

      ~ Danika

  13. Natalia says

    Thank you for this honest post! I could have written it! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone as I fumbling about looking for my lost patience under the sofa cushions. Dag nab it, it was just here a minute ago! lol

  14. Jane says

    I was homeschooled for the majority of my own schooling and I never remembered my mother losing patience with me (my brother, on the other hand……). So.. With just finishing kindergarten with my first son, I feel completely inadequate. I feel as though i can never homeschool as well as my mother. I can’t even count the amount of time that I lost patience with my son over the last year. But I still think that I am doing what is best for my children and I definitely need to be in prayer daily for strength and patience. Thank you so much for this article. I now feel like I am not alone! I know that there are others out there with the same problems as me.

  15. Karen G says

    Wonderful post for all us moms who “aren’t enough”!!!! I often feel I’m not patient or creative enough to homeschool, but God called me to it and that’s why I homeschool!

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