No Guilt: Motivation for the Homeschool Parent

Let’s be honest. Homeschooling is a privilege. A blessing, even. There are days that feel downright storybook. I fall asleep those days with these thoughts running through my mind: We rocked it today! No tears, minimal complaints, I’ve got this down! Did I mention these days are few and far between? Oh, they are.

More often than not, the end of the school day leaves me with these thoughts swirling: What just happened? What do I think I’m doing here? As if I’m capable of holding this all together!

Honestly, I guess most days fall somewhere in between. Or maybe the average day captures all these thoughts at various times; that’s probably more accurate. Am I the only one? It may feel like it at times, but I know I’m not alone.

Social media feeds are rampant with photos and captions of the perfect homeschool experience. Beautiful, intentionally decorated learning spaces. Happy children doing complex experiments. Schedules and planners so fancy they should have their own Instagram pages.

You want to know what our homeschooling space looks like? It looks like a messy countertop, probably still scattered with breakfast crumbs. It looks like the living room couch, surrounded by abandoned dirty socks (I think those things multiply if left overnight). It looks like a nook in our unfinished basement, chilly and peppered with storage tubs, but stocked with books and old school desks to boot. It looks like an out-of-place bookshelf in our kitchen, because we have limited space for our schoolbooks.

Our “good enough for me” homeschool space.

I’m done pretending I’m going to “get it all together.” If you’re a mom who enjoys interior decorating and creating a peaceful, intentional learning space, go for it! Do it and enjoy it! And if you’re not? (*raising my hand high*) Don’t stress; you can give your children all they need regardless.

Are you researching yourself to death trying to find the ever-elusive, perfect curriculum? I give you permission to settle for a “great” curriculum and end the search. Until you need something that works better for a different kid, that is. And then the search inevitably continues…

Are you wondering how so-and-so mom balances forty-seven activities, keeps a perfectly clean house, and cooks healthy meals three times a day? Here’s a secret; they don’t. Even if it looks like they’re keeping it together, and even if they think they are, they’re not. There will ultimately be a payoff for hectic schedules.

If your priorities look different than the homeschool family down the road, embrace it! Have a play date, put on a (big) pot of coffee and compare notes with other moms! Laugh about your failed attempts and cheer each other on for what’s working!

Whatever your homeschool day looks like, make it yours and make that enough. Make it your goal to lie down at the end of a day with these thoughts running through your mind: I showed up for my kids today. I was present with them, we accomplished plenty of things (even if it wasn’t all I originally hoped), and there were more smiles than frowns. Whatever we didn’t get to today, we’ll get to eventually and my kids will be okay. No guilt.

And then remember the most important ingredient of all to a successful homeschool life: Give it to God. Stop trying so hard with your own efforts. Place your control in his capable hands and sleep peacefully, knowing you have another chance in the morning and he’s got your back. He’s guiding you as you guide your children. Isn’t that a relief?

Thanks for reading! What other homeschool or parenting topics would you like to see me attempt to tackle here? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

And if you’re searching for a way to supplement your kids’ Bible teaching, my tween/teen novel, Power Up, is a great way to encourage kids to embrace an active, living faith of their own! Find it here or here!

6 thoughts on “No Guilt: Motivation for the Homeschool Parent

  1. As in most things, I’m finally beginning to learn, the best truly is the enemy of the good. Of course, sometimes our very best is called for. When those times come, if we haven’t stressed over perfection ALL the time, we will be capable enough and have enough energy. He’s definitely got our backs.

    1. Totally agree! We can’t strive for perfection in everything all the time or we’d drive ourselves mad! Striving for “very good” allows us to have energy to strive for our very best when it counts. Great thoughts, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Oh, Jessie, I feel for you! My grandchildren are home schooled. Their book shelf is a twin of yours.

    Question: if the happy family lives in a happy mess, and they are learning what the Lord wants them to learn, then what’s the problem?
    Answer: nothing, other than a neatnik’s desire for a little more order.

    In my son’s case, he is the neat and orderly one. He doesn’t seem to stress about the mess, but his office is his sanctuary. No litter allowed. Meanwhile, the children try to do a little better at getting dirty laundry to the washing machine!

    1. Thanks, Linda, I appreciate the encouragement. You’re right—there’s really no problem here, is there? Things can always improve, but being content when things are perfectly fine is my goal. Otherwise I’d stress too much. How fun that your grandchildren are homeschooled too! And I love that your son has a neat and orderly sanctuary to retreat to at home! Not a bad idea…😊

  3. Thank you for the encouragement! I especially appreciate the way you gave us permission to be okay with ourselves and how we decide to homeschool. I’ve been homeschooling for 5 years and it still feels overwhelming. It’s so important to keep things in perspective.

  4. Thanks, Wilhelmina! It’s definitely still hard at times. We’re in our seventh year, and I go through seasons of crazy self doubt. But that’s usually only when I start comparing our family to others. Once I stop that, I can be pleased with the system we’ve created for our family again, haha! Best of luck on your homeschooling journey and thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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