by Michaela Roekle
I am not fond of running. If you ever see me running, it’s because something is chasing me or I am chasing after something (or someone). I will never forget the day I was stepping out of the shower and heard our front door swing open … I grabbed a towel and took off running, just in time to see my toddler racing (and giggling) down the sidewalk! He managed to sneak past his older siblings and gave us quite the scare. It’s moments like these that require even the most reluctant runners to be quick on our feet.
The Bible speaks of a different kind of running, as it pertains to our walk with Christ.
Hebrews 12:1b-2 says: “And let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
I believe just as we have a spiritual race to run, homeschooling can also be like a sprint or marathon run.
The Homeschool Sprint is for the short-term homeschooler; this runner pours out all their energy and efforts in a short amount of time. They may be homeschooling for just a season due to medical reasons, taking a travel year, needing their student to repeat a grade, etc.
The Homeschool Marathon is for the long-term homeschooler; this runner paces themself, saving energy for the long haul. They will likely homeschool for many or all academic years because of conviction, calling, life-style choice, special needs, etc.
It is important as a homeschooling parent, to recognize the reason why you are choosing to race – which becomes your motivation to run! We probably all know someone in each of the sprint and marathon categories. We can help others and help ourselves to better plan for reaching our goals when we know which type of run to train for.
The Marathon runner needs to beware of pushing themselves too hard, too early in the race. When you know you have many laps to go, you want to find a groove to build on. In homeschooling, this means not overextending yourself in the early years to prevent burn out. Customize your curriculum and cross-train with varied resources; invest in lasting friendships with other long-term homeschoolers.
The Sprint runner needs to beware of trying to model their race after the marathon. Save yourself time by using a complete curriculum package and prepare to hit the ground running. Invest in experts who can specifically train you for sprinting. Stay in touch with old friends from the previous school and have a transition timeline laid out for when you will return.
Earlier this year, I talked with a homeschool mom from New York who ran the Boston Marathon, among many other races. She said one of the worst things a runner could face is a DNF = Did Not Finish. Those 3 little letters are something you don’t want to see next to your name on the results of the race. DNF could mean you reached a point of exhaustion, you took a hard fall, you hit a mental wall, or several other frustrating possibilities. To overcome challenges and achieve success, we need to continually train and condition our minds and bodies for the race we want to finish. A good coach can also be a great help!
We may not all be running the same type of race, but we should all keep our eyes on Jesus, who perfects our faith in the process of trusting Him as we run. When we put our risks, our goals, our plans, and our lives in His hands, we will receive help to cross the finish line.
I encourage you to pray for your homeschooling friends and family, and cheer them on, in whatever race they are running. If you find yourself in need of homeschool support, be sure to reach out to a local group leader in our CHEA Support Network or visit us on Facebook at the Homeschool California group platform.
This article is an excerpt from Michaela Roekle’s upcoming eCourse series and book publication. Michaela Roekle crossed the homeschool finish line once in 2019 when her first born graduated from homeschooling, and she will cross that line again in 2023 with her second born(and eventually her third born, too). Michaela and her husband Brad serve on CHEA’s Regional Advisory Board for the Inland Empire.