My life as a homeschool mom has been short but not always so sweet. In the few short years that I have embarked on this journey I have passed through valleys where shadows loom heavy on the soul, weakening the spirit and dampening the eager heart. Despite these valleys, God has always been faithful, always provided, and brought me through stronger and more confident in the woman and mother He intends me to be.
My first early years of preschool with my now 7 year old were often wrought with questioning myself: “Am I doing it right?” “Am I doing enough?” “Am I cultivating or squelching his childhood spirit?” These are questions I know that all of us “newbees” and even “veterans” are pelted with every day. I remember calling my sister last summer, scared to be starting our kindergarten year with so little in place, so many unknowns, wondering how much school is enough and how to balance the rigmarole of a day. She let me stress talk and then brought me back to reality, setting me up with realistic goals and plans. I started out with a slate full of ambitious ideas and weeded them out until I had a handful of what I deemed most important in the life of my little scholar. I have been influenced by a member of the homeschool community, Sarah McKenzie, an esteemed author and podcast host. She once mentioned that reading aloud is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life, and adding this into your homeschool day will enrich and nourish your child’s education beyond what any worksheet can do. Of course there is a time and place for phonics and math, but this nugget of truth washed over me like a peaceful river, quenching my anxieties about what I may be missing in my child’s education. This was something I was good at, something I could do without prodding, something I was passionate about!
Since that day, my son and I have read countless books ranging from Greek Myths to fairy tales, mysteries to stories of war heroes. Poems, Bible stories, fables and hymns all found their way into our home and hearts. We have found friends from all over the world while snuggled up under a blanket. We have sailed with John Smith, made friends with Squanto, and solved mysteries with the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown. These and so many countless others have filled our year with delight and wonder. I can’t count the times we have shared together a reminiscence of one of our books as we pass by something that draws us back to that particular story. To lose yourself in another world is an experience that no other subject can replace. To recall history, learn about the present, and look forward to the future is something that we must continue to do, and there is no better way to do this than to read!
So as you begin to prepare for another homeschool year, stop to contemplate where your heart and soul are at this time. We are all in different seasons of life, yet we all have days where it is hard to keep our heads above water. Sometimes we just can’t. But there is grace for those times. Don’t bog yourself down with what the devil may be trying to tell you; you are what your child needs right now, just as you are at this moment. Step back and take a breath— maybe all you need is a good book and a blanket!
Martha Mielke lives in Faribault, MN with her husband, Jon. Together they are homeschooling their two young boys. Martha enjoys reading, cooking and everything summer!