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
When my husband and I first decided that we would homeschool our as-yet-unborn children, in my mind’s eye was a purely idyllic version of what that might look like. I pictured myself puttering around in the kitchen as the kids happily read great literature on the couch, peace and coziness wrapping around our household like a warm hug. We’d do messy science experiments in the back yard and explore art at the kitchen table, giggling and joyful and enthusiastic as I guided them to discover all the riches and wonder in the world of learning.
The reality was harder than I had expected.
Boots on the ground, real homeschooling, I found, meant wading through hyperactive days and sibling squabbles. Fielding endless complaints about grammar and fits of tears about math. Writing off my plans for messy wonderful projects because neither the kids nor I had any stamina left for them after the battles of the day. Wondering whether the multiplication tables would EVER stick, whether my kids would EVER remember to put punctuation at the end of every sentence, whether their character flaws were terminal, and whether I was just doing them a colossal disservice by even trying to homeschool at all.
Maybe you can relate to that. Homeschooling is a lot of work – repetitive, thankless, seemingly endless work, with results that are very slow-coming and often really difficult for us to see from the middle of the struggle. But if that’s where you’re at, take heart.
I have good news for all you mamas in the trenches. It’s starting to happen.
I’m beginning to see the results of all the years of thankless, endless labor that tested the limits of my patience and heart. And it is so, so worth it.
Don’t get me wrong. My family still has hard days – the kind where we’re all tired out, the weather is gloomy, nobody wants to do much of anything, and Mommy loses her cool after three hours of enduring petulant kid behavior and soundly yells at everyone (then wrestles with guilt for the rest of the day). But they are fewer and further between than they used to be.
And I’m starting to see those beautiful moments, more and more often. The kind where the kids are both happily reading school assignments while I putter in the kitchen. The lightbulb moments in discussions where some deep truth about God and humanity clicks for them so viscerally that I can see it in their faces. The moments where they run up to me full of excitement because THIS thing that they just read relates to THIS thing that they studied last week or at co-op or read in a fun book, and they’re so excited about it. The moments where peace and harmony really do wrap around us like a cozy blanket, where I revel in a profound, exquisite happiness so deep it aches, and I thank God with tears in my eyes for our family and the privilege of living this life with them.
It has taken work. It has taken endless repetitions, and not giving up. It has taken days when school work got sidelined because character issues needed to take center stage. It has taken patience with the growing process of children and their need for a LOT of hands-on guidance before they can become more independent. It has taken adjusting my expectations to meet them where they are at, rather than being married to an unrealistic standard and trying to impose it on everyone else by maternal fiat. (That never ends well.) And it’s taken love, and apologizing when I’m wrong, and keeping going even when I feel like I’m failing, and above all else, falling back into utter dependence on the Lord’s help and trusting that he’s able to make up for every single one of my failings.
So don’t give up, mama. Keep fighting the good fight. Remember that children start out with foolishness bound up in their hearts, and it takes training and energy and time to teach them wisdom. But don’t become weary in doing good, because at the proper time, you WILL reap a harvest. If you don’t give up.