Why I (almost) gave up homeschooling…….

by Edie Wadsworth on September 26, 2012

I’m writing this post as a preface to the bright and shiny one where I’ll  tell you about all the wonderful stuff we’ll be studying this year.   You’ll be tempted to think it’s all unicorns and butterflies here at the Wadsworth house.  This post will shatter all your illusions.  Proceed with caution.

 Classical education refreshes itself at cisterns of learning dug long ago, drawing from springs too deep for taint the strength to turn our cultural retreat into advance.  (David Hicks)

If I ever really do give up homeschooling, I hope I go out in a blaze of glory like Simcha.

I’m not giving it up just yet but here’s why I teetered on the edge and nearly threw in the towel.

It’s hard.

It’s really hard.

It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And to quote Simcha,  ”  It wasn’t the hard work that wore me out; it was the crappy job I did, and the worrying about it.  That’s what was so exhausting.”

Ouch.  And if I’m honest, that’s the same thing that wears me out.  Worrying about it all.  Did we do enough?  Why can’t she remember 12×9?  Why am I not more patient and kind and prepared?  Can I not just get a substitute today and go antiquing or just sit in a coffee shop and stare at the walls all day?

And haven’t I brought this all on myself—which I think excludes me from any of your compassion and pity?

In March of this year, I wanted to be anywhere doing anything but homeschooling my girls.

I knew I was done.  I felt an ache in my heart that wouldn’t go away.  A heaviness—-the kind that comes from bearing the weight of your child’s education on your own weak shoulders.  The sinking feeling that I’m just not enough.  I’m all out of ideas.

And the lure of greener grass made it all the more difficult.   I wanted to work out in the mornings, go for long runs and perhaps buy groceries from three different stores.  I wanted to decorate and sew and clean—yes, even clean, without lessons hovering in my head.  I wanted stretches of time in my house by myself.   I wanted to meet people for lunch and let someone else worry about whether or not my girls could properly  diagram sentences.  Oh, the places I’d go.

I starting checking into schooling options.  I even confessed my secret fantasies to Stevie, who promptly reminded me that I threaten to quit every year in March.  Despite the crazy look in my eyes, he humored me.  He listened, really listened. And he was ready to support my decision.   “Maybe it is time,” he said.   “But don’t quit like this.  Wait it out a little.  You never know how things change in a month.”

So, I waited and trudged on, like a good soldier.  We finished strong and had a really good year, despite my struggles.

I gave it one last ditch effort—-I registered for the Circe Conference.

Boy, do those people tell the truth.

This talk by Andrew Kern changed it all for me.  (a contemplation of creation)

I’ve never heard anyone quite so inspiring.   And he does it with the gospel, in love.   It’s as if he saw me struggling, beaten, left for dead on the side of the homeschooling road and became my good Samaritan.   My faith in this way of life, this way of teaching was restored.   He helped me see my kids differently.  This is sacred work but it is work.   It was never supposed to be easy.

And here’s what I realized—–here is the crux of my struggle with homeschooling.  With cloudy eyes, I will tell you the truth.

I am the one in need of reform.

It’s me that is broken.

I must be a practitioner of the art of learning because it’s my stone heart that needs to be remade.

The curriculum is there to inspire ME so that I can inspire them.   I must be drinking deep from the ‘cisterns of classical education dug long ago’.   Christian classical education is difficult because it is honest and it leaves no room for phonies.   True learning begins with repentance.  We must confess that we don’t know what we ought to know.   We must come to the table hungry.  And our children learn by our example.  They know when we’re trying to force feed them from food we don’t eat ourselves.   There are no shortcuts and I must confess that I’ve often spent more time looking for a short cuts than doing the hard work of repenting and learning.  And maybe it’s gotten to the point where we must confess that we’re not even hungry anymore.  We don’t even yearn for what we don’t know so how can we blame them for their lack of wonder.

I was burned out because I wasn’t drinking from the well.

I was taking shortcuts.

I was busy and distracted.  I wasn’t practicing what I preached and  kids see right through a phony.

I was  tired of the nagging feeling of guilt for not doing what I knew I needed to do.     I wanted to quit so the ache would stop.  I wanted the easy way out.

Isn’t that just like us, as children of Adam?  We want easy.   We want the beauty without the struggle.  We want the glory without the cross.

I had wondered off the path—because the path was difficult.   I had lost the ability to see the wonder in it all.

Life is full of His beautiful mysteries and we reduce it all to what we can measure and analyze.  We’ve lost our ability to see the mystery.  We’ve lost our ability for true wonder.  We like boxes to check and papers to grade but what about their hearts?  What about ours?  Are we truly being transformed?  Can we even remember why we wanted to do this in the first place?

The most important question I’ve had to ask myself in preparing for this year is not WHAT are we gonna do but WHY are we going to do it.

And here’s the answer I discovered for why we started doing this in the first place—–

We are here to be transformed.  And that transforming is not easy work.  It feels a lot like death sometimes—dying to my selfish desires, dying to my ideal of perfection, dying to my own polished agenda.  It starts with humility and repentance.

Maybe, the truth is—-I  had lost the courage to be honest with myself.

So, thank you to all the truth tellers who say the hard thing—-and reassure us that all the best things in life exact a high price.

Redemption is costly.  It cost our Savior His very own life.  I shouldn’t be surprised when it costs me mine.

And when the time comes to turn my girls’ learning over to someone else’s tutelage,  we  will be a different people for this journey we’ve taken together.

This arduous road of becoming who we ought to be has taught us that life is  beautiful and life-giving and full of wonder—-but it is not easy and it was never meant to be.

 

 

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diana Furey September 26, 2012 at 7:19 am

Edie,
Be encouraged by your own words, by what you heard at Circe Conference, and knowing there are those who have walked through your homeschool valley and are now on the other side. I homeeducated my 3 oldest through their high school graduation, and it was as you said in this post many times; but, when it was needed, I always found the well to drink from. Looking back from this viewpoint, I’m so glad I persevered and they received the education they did. It was well worth it. God Bless.
Love & Smiles,
Diana

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2 shannon stout September 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

So, I love this post. I LOVE how God works. We have been praying for over a year about homeschooling and this post covers almost all of my concerns. My thought when I sat down to read this was, “ok good someone is going to talk about all the negatives and the down side, I will read this and I will know this is not for me.” Yeah, not so much the case. I’m dying to try it to see if this is what God has called me to do. My daughter is currently in 1st grade and I feel like if we had made that right choice by sending her to public school then I would feel 100% at peace with the decision and right now I can’t tell if its the devil or the Lord telling me otherwise….so I’m still praying. So my question is are you planning to stop homeschooling at some point?

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3 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:19 am

it’s such a struggle, shannon but i would definitely say that you need to have your husband 100% on board. it’s too hard to do it without that.
and yeah, i keep saying that i’ll stop when there’s a better option for them—when homeschooling ceases to be the best option i can find. it just hasn’t happened yet.
all the reasons i want to quit are selfish so i hope to persevere until it’s no longer best for them.
sending hugs and warm wishes your way.
:)))

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4 laura@libertyfarmchronicles September 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

Oh, Edie – In the middle of my own home school rubble your words convict, inspire, and make me thirsty. Blessings on your home today, and while this journey endures may you draw deep, drink long, and when your cup is empty, run with the rest of us to the Source and be filled.

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5 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:20 am

beautiful encouragement—thank you.
xoxo

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6 Southern Gal September 26, 2012 at 7:48 am

You spoke to my heart. The hunger and thirst may have left me when I saw my second son graduate. I then had my youngest son to teach – first grade!- and I was burned out. I struggled for three years thinking it was time to give up because I had no more left to give him. Funny, how we sit at the well, never move to drink and cry over our thirst! That’s exactly what I was doing. Thank you for articulating what many of us struggle with and giving us hope and new vision through it. I’m off to teach my boy. I’m saving the links for later. Have a blessed day, friend.

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7 Jen September 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

Thank you for your honesty in this post, I constantly feel like I am inadequate and mine aren’t even grown yet. I would love to meet a friend for lunch or coffee without kids in tow or go thrifting or grocery shopping or sew! Those are all selfish desires I see and it’s not meant to be about me, thank you for letting it all out and placing Christ back in the center where he’s supposed to be.

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8 Amber September 26, 2012 at 7:57 am

Edie – I have read your blog for awhile but I don’t believe I’ve ever commented. Until now. This post. This beautiful, raw, honest post of yours. This post stabbed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I totally understand your doubt. I have the same doubt too at times. I totally understand the envy of the “other side of the fence.” And I totally appreciate your honesty in this post. This post deeply encouraged me this morning. Thank you.

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9 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

i just popped over to your blog, amber—–what a cozy home you’ve made for your family. makes me wanna hurry home and get the fall vibe going at our house!
thank you for commenting. it’s such encouragement to me—-more than you know.
xoxo

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10 Laura @ BTB September 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

Oh Edie….. You nailed it. After the hoopla of getting my 2 little boys on the bus, I read this. I homeschooled for 3 years and my house fell apart. We moved (while yours burned to the ground, I told myself, if Edie can proceed through a total rebuild, I can proceed.) But rule number 1… chief tempation of pinterest/blogworld…. never compare thyself to the bright and shiny world of the selectively posted. I know better, but in those deep down moments, I often did compare myself with convictions of other home educating moms. There’s another blog-famous person, I read diligently. She had 3 boys, if she had 3 and classically educated, surely I could educate my 2, classically humming along, knowing ‘I won’t compare’. So while I continue to classically educate before & after school, they aren’t mine during the day. It’s working for us. but I deeply believe in what David Hicks has said, about drinking deep from those untained, non-trendy waters. How we do this is another story. A post I woke up wanting to write. But for now, I wanted to say, to those (now like myself) who don’t officially homeschool, drinking deep, really being honest, isn’t exclusive to those with children ‘not at home’. I was asked during a Classical Conversations training session, along with all the other attendees, ‘Is classical education for everyone?’ I knew classical method of learning Bible had been for everyone (my experience), but could I really impose my idea that the entirity of knowledge classically taught could be for everyone? I believe it truly works, because as you said, it’s honest. There is the grammar of everything. Its the design of God, first things first. It also requires one to really dig deep. Answer the tough questions, require that there are assumptions at the beginning of the grammar. Romans 8:38 comes to mind, and it is with that confidence that I know no matter how I may bungle my one shot at ‘getting parenting right’, if I embibe the deep waters myself, live it out in my flawed way, with my hope stayed on Him, doing what I know within the confines of my lifes circumstances, and doing everything within my power to Truthfully demonstrate this to my children, expecting them to follow my example and not necessarily what I say, nothing can separate us from His love. His mercy. His grace.
…. preachy, that was. Oops. my kids aren’t home, & I displaced my fervor. One of the hazzards of sending them off! ha!. But I wanted to thankyou from the bottom of my heart, how you’ve helped to keep the fire lit around our house. We continue to read each night (last night from Padraic Column’s ‘Golden Fleece), we practice grammar, (What are the 5 kingdoms of living things?) that tells of the wonders of God’s amazing creation & read Psalms this a.m.).
Classical style. Grammar deee-luxe.
Thank you. Keep posting, keep sharing.

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11 Susan September 26, 2012 at 8:37 am

Wow. So inspiring. You definitely nailed it as to why I chickened out again this year. But again, very inspiring!!

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12 Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less September 26, 2012 at 8:42 am

Oh Edie my friend, thank you for this gift.

I have been struggling so much with our homeschool journey lately, mostly because I am constantly trying to pack in one more thing and not giving it nearly the time I should. I have struggled with the classical curriculum because it just doesn’t seem very fun and I can’t seem to get enthusiastic about teaching it which of course doesn’t make my kids very enthusiastic about learning it.

Just yesterday I seriously contemplated switching to an “all-in-one” curriculum, something that would have lesson plans built in because I often feel so woefully unprepared to start our day. (Again, my own doing.) And then I think about you and your precious girls and see your discipline and your passion and get so DOWN on myself for not being better, not being more like you. Which is so silly because I just wrote a post on Monday about how no one–including me–has it all together all the time.

I’m still not sure switching gears a bit isn’t the right solution, but after reading this I do see that the biggest change needs to happen in my heart and attitude, not the curriculum itself. And of course I can’t wait to see what y’all are up to tomorrow so I can go back to feeling inadequate. I mean inspired. ;-) xoxo

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13 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

i love you sweet ruth!
and oh the curriculum struggles i’ve had.
but life is too short to use bad curriculum.
so my rule is—if it doesn’t inspire me, i don’t use it.
and you are doing such a wonderful job with your girls.
don’t be too hard on yourself.
love you and miss you.
xoxo

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14 LyndsD September 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

Oh Edie, God knew exactly what he was doing having you spill your heart like that. He knew about all the meltdowns and even the phone call I made yesterday to a close school district because I had the same conversation with my husband last night. It is as if you are writing the words my heart has been feeling. It is me. The honesty and the journey. Both hard. Both worth it. Thank you for the amazing life-filled, God breathed, honest, raw post. My weary homeschooling soul needed these words. The encouragement this post brought… indescribable. Sincerely, Thank you!

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15 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

so incredibly beautiful and encouraging for this struggling mama.
thank you so much.
xoxo

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16 Sarah September 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

I am at the year of deciding. My oldest is turning 4, and I want to make a plan. Many thoughts, reads, have gone into it all. I have to admit I often view the idea of homeschooling classically with idyllic eyes, rose-colored glasses, and wonder if fawns emerge from the forests dancing around all you family’s gathered on your quilts in the yard with your books.

I need a reality check, and thank you for this post. Honesty is good. So I need to figure out a homeschool conference to go to this year as I decide. Is Circe the one? I’m trying to keep an open mind–visiting all the traditional schooling options in the area, but have to admit I’m leaning towards this beautiful path, though it seems often uphill as those of you ahead of me are attesting.

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17 edie wadsworth September 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

i love this:::
” I have to admit I often view the idea of homeschooling classically with idyllic eyes, rose-colored glasses, and wonder if fawns emerge from the forests dancing around all you family’s gathered on your quilts in the yard with your books.”

and thankfully, sarah, there are days that seem as magical as that.
but there are a lot of days that feel like work.
it’s a beautiful paradox.
thank you for sharing.
and yes, BY FAR, circe is the best conference i’ve ever been to–hands down.
i’ll be registering as soon as they post the info.
much love,
edie

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18 Candace September 26, 2012 at 9:17 am

Oh dear Edie. I’m so glad you shared this. If I’m honest, you have written what MY struggles are…but in a much more beautiful way. :) Look at all these comments of other mothers needing to hear these words. My struggle didn’t start in March, but sometime over the summer. I was, like you, very seriously looking at my “options” for schooling. I had “my time” during the day all.planned.out. For me, what I keep coming back to – that God has put on my heart – is that teaching my kids at home is really what is best for them (for now.) All of *my* reasons for wanting to put them in school are selfish. (blushing.) I do not AT ALL mean to say that anyone else has those same selfish motives. but, for me, they were. And feeling that confirmation in my heart that I am doing what is BEST FOR THEM right now…well that is what keeps me going some days. :) It’s hard. So very hard. I don’t feel cut out for it. People think I must be patient. HA! If only they could live here for a few days. :) Well, anyway…thanks for sharing your heart — it looks like there are many of us that are like-minded and feeling the struggle. All the more reason to share, encourage and pray for one another!!

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19 Marie at the Lazy W September 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

I am in tears. That was beautiful. I would give anything, all of this time and freedom and everything, to be the one homeschooling my girls, and yet what a breathtaking challenge. xoxo Best wishes Edie. Your girls have the best possible woman for the job behind them and ahead of them.

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20 Catherine@ A Spirited Mind September 26, 2012 at 9:37 am

I too go through the annual burn-out phase, telling my husband I can’t do it, calling around to classical schools in the area, etc. I don’t so much struggle with needing to drink from the well of learning (one of the reasons I wanted to quit this year was that I really want to go get a PhD and learn for me!) but I do have to remind myself to drink from the well of the strength and peace of God. Thank you for the reminder!

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21 Angie September 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

Oh, how many times I have felt this over the past 15 years! I have 3 girls that we homeschool. The first graduated in 2009 and is will graduate from college next May. My other two are in 8th and 11th grade. I’m nearing the end. I can honestly say homeschooling is the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. There have been many days of fun, dread, laughter, and tears. Oh, the tears…over math especially. Yet, we’ve grown together through these things. The learning wasn’t as much about the academics as it was about us, about our hearts, our weaknesses, and our God-given gifts. When my kids enter 7th grade, I use a college prep tutorial for homeschoolers. They attend class for various subjects one day a week and then we take the next 4 days to complete the assigned work. I wanted my girls to be prepared to answer to someone else’s schedule, organize work, and to get used to a classroom setting and dynamics before attending college. It has worked very well for us. Looking back over the past 15 years, I can see that my weariness was greater during the 5th-8th grades, just before the load began to lighten and you see the fruit of your efforts. Don’t forget to drink from the well because you can’t give what you don’t have. I like what you said “They know when we’re trying to force feed them from food we don’t eat ourselves.” So true! I’m going to have to post this somewhere to refer to often. Thank you for your honesty in this post. God bless!

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22 Susan September 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

Looks like you’re not alone in your struggles! I so needed ti hear these words…yesterday wad a baaaad day. We have those sometimes!

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23 The Domestic Fringe September 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

Wow. I don’t even homeschool and I am completely inspired. You are one good mama. I applaud you for sticking with it. I tried it. I know how hard it can be, and I stand in awe of you. Nice job.
~FringeGirl

thedomesticfringe.com

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24 angela conklin September 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

*I had lost the courage to be honest with myself*…spoke volumes to me. You go girl!

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25 Katherine @ Whitehall September 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

“We are here to be transformed. And that transforming is not easy work. It feels a lot like death sometimes—dying to my selfish desires, dying to my ideal of perfection, dying to my own polished agenda. It starts with humility and repentance.”

Life changing words right there.

Thank you Edie.

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26 Barbara September 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Oh my goodness! Looking back, with kids now 20 and 23, I cringe at the memory of some of my parenting mishaps, failures and stumbles. I barely had the patience to deal as a mother of kids educated in a private Christian school. Why not just let them do it? My son with ADHD would have had me reaching for the nearest cliff to walk off! You are a great example for us all. Whether homeschooling or living a valuable life, it’s not always easy or fun. The pay-offs are there though’ for us and those we touch.

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27 Jennifer September 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for sharing your heart. The same feelings come over me, too. One day I drove by the school and the bright and shiny yellow buses were unloading eager children. I thought, “Oh, to drop them off and then go about my day doing what I “need” to do. And that’s about the time I realized I was thinking of school for my own reasons, not theirs. Reality check. It’s so hard some days – but then my little boy blue begins to sounding out words and the girls talk about a character in a story or search for a place on the globe. They’re friends as well as siblings. We’re a better family because of homeschooling. I wouldn’t miss this for the world! It’s a constant battle, though, – especially in March! :)

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28 Lady Dorothy September 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I homeschooled my three through high school. I appreciate your saying, “This is sacred work, but it is work. It was never supposed to be easy.” MY argument to God over why we should NOT homeschool was that I was not disciplined enough. I used this argument over and over again. Then one day it hit me. I was using a FAULT that I was choosing to keep to explain to my Savior why I didn’t have to do what He was asking me to do. After God and I started to deal with ME, everything else took care of itself.

On a very basic note, these few years of homeschooling your girls will be over in no time. Trust me. The days may be long, but the years are short.

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29 Jenn September 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

“Isn’t that just like us, as children of Adam? We want easy. We want the beauty without the struggle. We want the glory without the cross.” This hit me. Yes, that is ME. I want the beauty without the struggle – and as we struggle along in homeschooling…classically…well, I just needed to read this. Thank you. Thank you so much.

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30 Drina September 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Oh Sweet Edie!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you a million times for sharing this post. I have been struggling….really struggling with homeschooling and my failure at it and questions the like! I am most grateful that you are sharing your heart and in turn bringing mine comfort. We started school three weeks ago but due to my own meltdowns (LOL) I’ve decided to stop schooling with that terrible ache in my heart and focus on the simple things this week. I want my kids to love this experience but oh its hard when a mama is juggling so much with 5 kiddos (2-14yo). I gotta remember to drink from that well so I stay hydrated during this race!

I needed to read this today!
Blessings to You and your beautiful family.

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31 Andrea September 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Edie,

I’m there. right now. After 9 months of my husband looking for a job while the six of us struggled to school and live and not fall apart, then finding a job, moving, a difficult pregnancy, and now nursing and sleep deprivation and financial stress have stripped me to the point of exhaustion. Today my husband came home and took my son to the office with his schoolwork because my son and I were burying our relationship. I know homeschooling is where God has led us, but days like today try to convince me otherwise. I know I want my five children to enjoy learning and have deep relationships with each other and me & my husband, and above all else, Christ, but I fear my sin is driving them elsewhere. I convince myself that I’m failing, and I keep trying to DO more when I. just. need. Christ.

Thank you for your honesty. His timing is perfect and He has used you to encourage and uplift me more times than you know. Thank you, Edie! God bless you.

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32 Wendy J @ rockinwhatyagot September 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Wow. This could not have been a more perfect message for me where I am in this particular season. Thank you for being so honest and encouraging to get back on the right track.

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33 Jen K September 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Thanks for finding the words for the tension that homeschool moms feel. It’s so encouraging to be known! We’re in our 7th year of homeschooling, and for the first time I’m teaching 3 of our 4 kids, and moving. Twice. It’s going to be a looong year. I too have wanted to quit every March, but my husband always talks me down from the ledge by reminding me of my calling…this is my Eph. 2:10 work for now. Thanks for being transparent; this is a post I will gladly return to in the long dark days of winter!

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34 Anna September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Edie,
This is a great post! Thank you! I have been waiting patiently for your homeschooling post, and I loved this preface. :) Homeschooling has good days and bad days just like anything else. It really helps to have moms share their joys AND struggles. I know that I am not alone! I actually went to my white board mid post and wrote “…all the best things in life exact a high price.” So true!

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35 Jen@Living a Listful{l} Life September 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

Oh my. See, Edie, this is why I have always read your blog (was one of the first I started reading when I discovered the world of blogging), because your writing is so inspired and transcends. Homeschool is not even on my radar (kids are too young, etc.) BUT I found pieces of your post that I have copied into my “quotes” notes for trying/effort. Because this: “This arduous road of becoming who we ought to be has taught us that life is beautiful and life-giving and full of wonder—-but it is not easy and it was never meant to be.” It applies to everyone in every situation their life may be in right now. Thank you for writing this post. Please don’t ever stop writing!

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36 Jennifer September 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

Edie, have you ever heard of the Lamplighter Guild? Just discovered it through my homeschool co-op. I’ve only just begun exploring the site (lamplighterpublishing.com), but there are some lovely books and audio stories available. After watching the video, I’m in the mood to visit a castle! Anyway, thought it might be of interest to you.

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37 Anne September 27, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thank you for this post, Edie. I often remind myself that we homeschool not because it’s the best thing for ME, but because it’s the best thing for THEM. Our children are our first mission field. When I start to doubt myself or toy with the idea of quitting this homeschool venture, it’s usually for the same selfish reasons you mentioned in your post. I grow tired of the doubt and responsibility of homeschooling, along with the often inherent loneliness that comes with it. Quitting is an easy way to end the stress.

Thank you, also, for recognizing that a shiny, happy homeschooling post needs to be countered with a glimpse of the flawed underbelly. So many people don’t do that on their blogs, whatever the subject.

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38 julia kulish September 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I feel like you wrote a lot of the words that I have been needing to say myself. It is funny how God uses the most interesting things to get our attention. For me, I have felt like throwing in the towel because after homeschooling three and a half kids (my fourth is a freshman), I am now faced with another thirteen years of HSing with my fifth, “Surprise” child who is starting kindergarten this year. If felt overwhelmed, felt like it would be too different with what would basically be an only child instead of a one room school house atmoshpere, felt like I was too old and too tired to have it in me to go another round. Our small town public school looked like an feesable option. Then one day a lady I barely knew told me she had just discovered that we were a hsing family. She asked if I had hsed all of them? When i told her yes, she said that it totally made sense – that she had wondered why my kids were turning out as good as they were. Confirmation right there for me…ready for round five.

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39 Ruth September 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Edie-thank you for speaking the truth, saying the hard things we may not want to hear, and for your honesty. Homeschooling is an arduous task, and I frequently feel incapable of accomplishing our goals. Thank you for this post to challenge me to continue on and look to my Heavenly Father for the strength and redemption I need.

“  I wanted to work out in the mornings, go for long runs and perhaps buy groceries from three different stores.  I wanted to decorate and sew and clean—yes, even clean, without lessons hovering in my head.  I wanted stretches of time in my house by myself.   I wanted to meet people for lunch and let someone else worry about whether or not my girls could properly  diagram sentences.  Oh, the places I’d go.”

Sometimes I feel the exact same way.

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40 Carrie September 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Oh Edie, thank you once again for your wisdom and willingness to be vulnerable. As a public school teacher now staying home with my son, you have nailed my feelings exactly. What about their hearts? Indeed. This was the question that made it hard for me to do my job in a setting where test scores were valued more than these bright little spirits, where success was more defined by a number on a bell curve than the development of character, of kindness. As I look forward to once again entering that arena myself, now as a mother, I vow to be ever-conscious of what my calling to teach truly means. Thank you for the reminder.

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41 Richella @ Imparting Grace September 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Amen, amen, and amen. Well said.

As part of my work with Renovare’, I’m writing a little ebook–a very elementary introduction to spiritual formation. And oh, my goodness. Even writing a little work like this one about the grand process of spiritual formation provokes honest humility in me. There’s so much to learn, so much transforming work to be done in me–how could I ever hope to explain anything about the process to someone else? Yet I know a little bit, so I can share a little bit. Whew. Again, humbling.

I homeschooled for three years. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever loved. Of course, life is hard–that’s why we must have life in GRACE, right? :)

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42 Tiffany September 28, 2012 at 12:09 am

Absolutely, beautifully written. As another homeschooling mom in the trenches, I relate with everything you have said. Thank you for your honesty. I felt like it was March this week, and this post has reminded me why I am doing this. I’m going to save it to read the next time I feel this way, because I know it will come. :) Favorite line: “I must be a practitioner of the art of learning because it’s my stone heart that needs to be remade.” I hope I will cherish the pain of the chisels a little more as I think of who I (we) may become in the end.

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43 AmyP. September 28, 2012 at 12:46 am

I super puffy heart love ya Edie and am right there with you in the trenches. :). Thanks for sharing.

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44 tara lowry September 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

Edie….no truer words have ever been shared.
As so many others have said, you took the words right out of my heart.

So much of homeschooling is about my reformation. I know our kids are surely getting reformed, too, because they are spending their days with me, but I am turned inside out by the end of every year.

I’m studying deep in Philippians right now, and being reminded of how important it is to fix my eyes on Jesus, as I serve where he has planted me. So often, I “work” unto myself instead of unto the Lord. My heart longs to do this great work without arguing and complaining. I long to be found in him….I want him to show me more and more what that looks like.

You are a shining star, Edie. I know we don’t see you on your worst days, but in this space called blogging, you are an absolutely shining star.

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45 Tasha September 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm

So true. I really have to pray through my selfishness and have faith that this is what God has called me to do in this season of life. I will turn around twice and it will be finished and I will miss it like crazy!!! We are 8 years in and we have 6 years left. Just typing it out makes knots in my stomach.

I am earmarking this post for the days when it seems too hard.
Thank you for you honesty and for being real.

Tasha

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46 Katie September 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Thank you. I truly have cried, or wanted too, every day since I started home schooling our girls. It’s tough. It’s so tough.Curriculum is easy. It’s the inspiration, creativity and love that has drained me sometimes instead of fueled me. I want more for our girls then just curriculum. I need reformation. You are right. When I can sit down long enough to dump my feelings up on my blog of why we home school our girls, I will. Thank you again, Edie :)

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47 ellen September 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

and this is why I subscribe to your blog!!! Edie, I really appreciate your honesty and really value your insight. Girlfriend, yes be encouraged by your words. You speak volumes about how we are to set the example that our kids can follow and they need to see us drinking from the well.

Here’s a blogpost from another homeschooling mom who in her kid’s homeschooling, she weaves ministry. She shows how and why it is worth every pain and every effort. For whatever it is worth —
http://taberstruths.com/balancing-act-homeschooling-ministry/

Also…here is a Scripture I just thought to send you. From 1 Timothy:
15But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety…..

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48 Christie October 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

Edie, I wrote to you over the summer asking about your upcoming curriculum and was so touched that you took the time to email me back.

I’m homeschooling my two oldest kids (6th and 4th grades) … they are the easy ones. My kindergartner is finally in the school mix after years of shushing him. And my newly-turned 2 year old yells while we read aloud. In our 7 years of homeschooling, I think we’ve had one easy year (when my third kid turned three). And we’ve lived in four houses in the last four years, which has made it difficult too.

The part of your post that I connected with was how you wished for some time alone, some time to clean without lessons in your mind, and how death to self is the path to redemption. You are so encouraging. I will definitely listen to that Andrew Kern presentation too, but your words are like those of a sweet friend.

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49 Leah October 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Here’s a little encouragement for you.. At least to know you are impacting others lives. After reading your blog I found myself for the first time considering homeschooling. I, too, have 2 precious girls (8 & 9) and I just have to tell you; For the first time since forever (we started homeschooling in August) I honestly feel like I am doing exactly what I have been called to do. No longer is the anxiety of too much time missed.. Quality time.. Away from my two biggest gifts- my daughters. I admit homeschooling is something I never even considered but can I just thank you for allowing your life to resonate with mine? We are strangers I know but God has used your choices to help influence my decision to begin this journey. I have learned to take seasons as they come so I’m not saying this is forever. But, for now, it has already proved to be one of my most treasured moments. I will be the first to admit, perhaps it’s more for me than for them. Not that I knew it would go that way. It’s just another way that The Weaver is helping to mold me into the woman and mother I am called to be. Cherish THIS moment. I shudder to think of my days without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It IS worth it – all of it- and so much more.
Blessings from Jackson, MS

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50 Lana October 3, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Dear Edie,

I feel like such a bad friend for not writing more, but it hasn’t been the easiest year with Tom’s Afghanistan deployment! But I just HAD to respond to this….I kept saying, “Yes. Yes. YES. AMEN and YES AGAIN through your entire post!!!” You have so beautifully, in your typical heartwrenching manner, perfectly articulated what I believe most homeschooling moms feel…at least if they’re being honest. I have sat on the precipice of quitting, of desiring freedom, many, many, MANY times. But it always comes back to what you have written…about my own failures…it’s really NOT about the perfect curriculum or advanced math…it’s about my needing to not be lazy, of my sinful flesh rising up again and again and resenting the truly AMAZING gift I’ve been given….of not embracing it fully in the most Holy way possible. I am so now more consciously seeking the road of sanctification and I believe in my personal life that road is to be a better homeschooling Mom. But not for all the superficial reasons of test scores or scholarships…but because of trying my hardest to epitomize holiness to my children. It’s a kick-in-the-gut harsh reality knowing that I rarely live up to that. But I’m trying, honestly trying. I applaud you as always for your honesty and eloquence. Your heart is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Love/hugs/blessings,
Lana Austin

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51 Nicole K October 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I wanted to quit today – It was such a horrible day. I kept thinking, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to ruin my child. He’s better off in school.” I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon this post of yours today which is how I know God just wanted me to read it and be encouraged and convicted. We all have bad days (or months) so onward I forge… Thank you for sharing your heart so mine could be untwisted!

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52 Sarah October 6, 2012 at 1:37 am

Thank you for this. Just…. thanks.

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53 Tammy October 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Amazing. I felt as if I was looking in on me from the outside. Perfect words. The only way to get through these hard times of homeschool is to go to Christ. This is me to a T at the moment. Thank you thank you for your honesty. God bless you on your journey. May we all remember to fill our on cups.

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54 Amber October 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Thank you for this post..very encouraging and I would hug you if I could :) Thanks!

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55 Gretchen October 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

You don’t know how badly I needed this today. Thank you for your sweet honesty.

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56 Michelle October 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Dear Edie,
I struggle with my second year of cancer and homeschool my littles well my 5 year old and it is hard on some days to want to do it but somehow the lord says come on you can do it…. And I do… Your blog has inspired me in so many ways with your struggles with the fire, to your beautiful home, your knowledge of great books. I have been reading C.S. Lewis books while in waiting rooms or chemo beacause of your blog posts! I fell in love with your homeschool room when it was in the garage so it inspired me with my apartment living to make our homeschool room in my itty bitty patio. It’s not much but it works for my littles. :).
I thank you for this post and so many other awesome posts you have done!
God bless you and all your great works,
Michelle

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57 Martha November 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Thank you so much for your raw honesty. We are on the homeschool journey and I am asking today how to make my kids care…care about all they have been given but the truth is that when they see me caring about them, they will get in, even if in time. I want to be overflowing to them but that is only accomplished by me being filled by Him. He is Faithful and True and He is for us. Blessings to you and many thanks.
M

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58 louise November 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

such brave honesty…I gave up and sent ‘second born’ back to school in September…being a single mum with a job and pets and a house to run and no physical help or emotional support, I was beaten and our relationship was beginning to suffer…so I opted out to give myself a selfish break (I do think I deserved a break but not at the cost of my daughter’s education and happiness) but just last week I removed her from school as she was unhappy and her teacher had a very bad attitude, completely undermining the lessons I had taught her at home…what I should have originally done was to schedule myself some ‘sanity time’ rather than assume the home-schooling was the problem…thank you soooo much for your powerful words, I needed to hear them to ensure I don’t walk down that path again when it all gets tough and I get tired….bless you x

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59 Yahaira December 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

This is so beautiful. I have been inspired in so many ways and I am grateful that I was directed to this blog from my saviour to understand that even though it is a hard road, blessing will come of it all.

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60 BJ December 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

We have been homeschooling for 2yrs., started when my daughter was in Kindergarten. I have felt like giving it over to someone else MANY times. I love this post, it blesses my heart and encourages me to remember WHY we do this in the first place. It’s so easy to get sidetracked. But when we focus our attention back on God, He truly does give us beauty for ashes, because that’s all we have to offer. Eddie, you are a blessing to all of us! I love following your blog, it is right up my ally. I was an interior designer before staying home with our 3 children. :) Your house is beautiful and your heart is real!

God Bless,
BJ

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62 Tabitha January 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm

In all honesty I have no idea how I found your blog! I am sitting on my couch, surrounded by boxes that I am too tired to unpack, my two youngest daughters are asleep for afternoon nap, my three year old daughter is with grandma and my son is at kindergarten. I was mindlessly reading through Facebook and a link on one post lead to another which lead to another bringing me to this…
You cannot fathom how I have struggled with the selfish desires which you so eloquently describe! I spent all of last year researching and buying and getting excited about homeschooling my son as a first grader (he’s academically advanced but developmentally with his peers). With the insanely naive idea that I could not only classically homeschool my son, but homeschool him while his father was deployed, two sisters(3&2) were at home while also recovering from the csection birth of my newborn…did I mention alone? Living on a base far from family and with a very small support group of amazing military wives, none of whom homeschool.
After one month of hell my son begged me to go to real school, ride a real bus, and have a real teacher. After a discussion with my husband, who was afraid that all that stress would send me into postpartum depression (which I had with my last child), we agreed kinder would ok at a real school. The next month was almost as bad as the first but now(new school, new district,new teacher -same kid) he is excelling.
Now that my husband is home and my son is doing so well I applied for a PhD program and began thinking PS isn’t too bad. As soon as the all the stress of applying and moving abated the guilt of giving up has begun to haunt me. I know I was called to homeschool, I know It’s best for my children but it is so hard and I fess up that I am scared!
Like I said in the beginning, I have no clue how I found this but I’m glad I did. It’s exactly what I needed to hear to get my booty in line. It’s time to put on those big girl panties and suck it up because the best things in life are always the hardest!

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63 lori January 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm

It’s like I was reading my own journal. Thanks so much for sharing. This is my first year homeschooling 2 of our 4 kids. (two oldest are homeschooled, two youngest are watching us school and absorbing by proximity). But it’s so hard. and I am finding myself blundering and looking for why I’m not good enough and why they should go back to school. But honestly, it’s been the best thing. Our family is closer than ever. Our relationships are repaired. And I needed to read your post to get a grip on why I started it all to begin with. THANK YOU.

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64 http://tinyurl.com/windbryan59734 January 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I really intend to take note of this particular blog post,
“Why I (almost) gave up homeschooling. – lifeingrace” on my blog.

Will you care in the event that Ido it? Thank you ,Shayla

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65 Rebekah February 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Dear Edie,
I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I’ve never had anyone so clearly express what I feel so often in my homeschool journey…seriously, every word resonated with my spirit. I have always said, God calls women who need a little extra fine tuning to homeschool :). At least I know it’s true for me.

Thank you for speaking the hard truth…for allowing the Holy Spirit to use your words to put me in my place.

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66 Allison February 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Thank you….thank you…thank you…for that post. I just recently started homeschooling our oldest son (9)and my husband and I were contemplating homeschooling our youngest son as well…(6-Kindergarten and doing well…meaning he likes it), but we want to give them the same type of education and prefer homeschooling…HOWEVER…I was scared to homeschool both because I barely, if at all, have a handle on homeschooling our 9 year old….we have good days….but on bad days….I feel like giving up EVERY time. My sister homeschooled her boys until high school and now one is in college and the other in honors 12th grade…I know there is hope….but I realize I have to start with transforming me…because homeschooling is a lifestyle change for the whole family not just the children….and the benefits are priceless…thanks for the encouragement.
Allison

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67 Christina July 2, 2013 at 9:33 am

I have been on this homeschooling road for 4 years now and I can’t believe how similar my thoughts are to yours…every year at the same time I make phone calls to local schools and emails to my husband and tell him we are registering our children into school…I am done with this. Today I read this and would love to hear that talk by Andrew Kern. We are wrapping up our cirriculum for the year and there is so much still to get done and I am so discouraged. I think about what my kids are “missing out” on like track & field, math drills with other kids, gym class, tests (sitting in a room with other kids-feeling the pressure), and many more…….but what about their hearts??? I also struggle with my anger and my my procrastination… I am so glad God led you to write this…i needed to see it…so thank you in Jesus Name!

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68 Rachel July 4, 2013 at 12:18 am

This is long after this post was written, but I did read it a while back. I too felt like quitting and then I actually did and wished I hadn’t and now I’m at it again. You’ve been an encouragement to me particularly in your emphasis that it’s about having their days and growing in grace together. Thank you. This year we’re joining up with Classical Conversations and I’m teaching an Essentials class.

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69 mary katharine September 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Edie … this post … completely where I am. War, babies, moves, more and more and more war … a mother dying of cancer … etc. I have my two youngest in Kindergarten and First Grade at Public School down the street now, while I try to take a breath and find the joy I’ve lost with my older three still at home. I am burnt out, yet God will not leave my heart alone. I am thankful for that. Thank you for this post. It gives me courage to continue to keep pressing on and maybe to even make a change or two in what we use and how we use it, and to bring my little ones back home. I get the wanting to clean without worrying about lessons while doing so! I.so.get.it. I have felt so empty, so lost lately. For whatever reason, this post gives me hope. In a crazy way, it gives me hope.

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70 D. Collins November 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

MK…

I just ran across this blog post & also your reply… I, too, have been feeling so burnt out with “life” & homeschooling etc., etc. I only have one boy…in K. I just started homeschooling 12 weeks ago & have wanted to give up the whole time.

Although, I know in my heart that it is what the Lord wants for us all right now. I know that I am not a quitter, yet there are many times where I am so ready to throw in the towel.

I too, have felt empty & lost lately and it just feels like it gets worse as each day goes by. I must fight & remember that I need to lead my feelings & not be led by them. Yesterday, the Lord reminded me that “I can do all things/everything through Christ who gives me strength & enables me.” (Phil. 4:13)

I did not read very many other responses and I did not reply to any others. I decided to scroll to the end of the comment, & when came across yours, I felt an urge/prompting to respond & encourage you. I hope that things are better for you since you wrote a month ago & I pray for the Lord to pour out His grace upon you in ways like you have not felt or known before. May He strengthen you & give you His supernatural wisdom for each step you find yourself on. Also, I pray for His healing power to be poured out upon your mother’s body (should you be fortunate & blessed to have her here with you still). I pray that He would give wisdom & guidance to each & every one of her doctors.

Blessings to you. :)

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71 kelly September 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm

hi. found your blog after i googled, “when you want to quit homeschooling”. yeah. that kind of monday. a year after you wrote these words, they were used by God to bless this burnt out momma of five who has been doing the hard work of homeschooling for TWELVE YEARS. and i still want to quit every february and most octobers. this year, i started early. thanks for pointing me back to the cross today. i needed that.

bless you!

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72 Renae October 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

You’ve given me some things to ponder. I linked to your post on my blog – thank you for sharing.

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73 Lucy December 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm

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75 Andrea February 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Needed this today. Ad day with my three. My twins four will join my daughter ten in September. They were home for a snow day today and we had a dry run. Did not go well. I wonder how I will be able to balance it all. I worry my kids will come to resent me. Etc etc. this cheered me. I am not alone.

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76 Ashley March 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Powerful words for this mom teetering on deciding to homeschool. You spoke to my heart and I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey

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77 Michelle Caskey July 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Wow, this post was phenomenal! Absolutely loved so many things that you said. I especially liked, “The curriculum is there to inspire ME so that I can inspire them.” That’s so true!

I think most (all) homeschool moms have felt that urge to quit before. Seems like we all get weary sometime in March. LOL I love how you said that we’re weary because it’s work. Yes! Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

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