by Alyssa Hemmer, The Old Schoolhouse
Many families, like mine, have chosen homeschooling for the long haul. Homeschooling affects many aspects of life. It is a worthwhile endeavor, as well as a huge undertaking, with unique sacrifices each family will encounter.
There are many seasons of semi-smooth sailing, with just as many seasons that feel grueling and can leave us questioning whether we have made the best choice for our family by home educating our children. Days will come, if they have not already, when the job of home educating will feel overwhelming. What do we do with these doubts?
Years ago, at my mother-in-law’s memorial service, my sister-in-law spoke. She shared with the large crowd how her mom had stayed faithful to the Lord’s calling for their family to homeschool her three children. “She never gave up on us,” my sister-in-law said. At the time, I did not think much about this profound statement. I was just beginning my homeschooling journey when my mother-in-law passed away. However, now that I have been a homeschooling mom for five years with my own ups and downs teaching my kids, I reflect on this statement often. “She never gave up on us.” My mother-in-law had difficult homeschooling days, just like we all experience from time to time. But she stayed persistent because she had the big picture in mind—her “why” for homeschooling.
Fast forward to just a month ago. I was talking with a homeschool mom friend who, with tears in her eyes, confessed there were days she did not enjoy her children. Because of this, she felt as though she was failing them in some way. I shared with my friend the story of my mother-in-law’s memorial service. I encouraged her that just as my mother-in-law’s continued obedience to homeschool made a deep impact on her children even into adulthood, her own commitment to continue in the hard days (even those days when the kids are less than enjoyable), will speak volumes to her children for years to come. I applaud my mother-in-law because she stuck it out even when tempted with quitting.
I am no stranger to the joys and hardships educating children at home bring. It has been so important for me to keep my “why” for homeschooling at the forefront of my mind, dragging me through the difficult days and challenging seasons. My husband and I refer to our “why” as our mission statement. When days are difficult, we refer back to our homeschool mission statement. We keep it on a file on our computer, always easily accessible. A mission statement can be so simple, yet it is so crucial for homeschool families who desire to stick with their educational decision for an extended period.
When developing a mission statement for your homeschool, sitting down with your spouse and children who are old enough to understand is so helpful. Homeschooling is a family decision, and your mission statement, therefore, benefits from being a family affair if possible. Reflect on your main reasons for homeschooling and include those in your mission statement. “We purpose to home educate our children so that___________.”
Some families choose to home educate because they feel called to do so by the Lord. Some home educate to give their kids a Biblical worldview. Others home educate for the benefit of more quality time as a family. Though reasons may vary, need of a mission statement remains the same. A mission statement is what you cling to during tough times. It brings a degree of clarity amid the chaos.
My husband and I developed our mission statement a few years back, and we still return to it as needed. It reads as follows:
“We purpose to be obedient to the Lord’s calling for our family to home educate our children so that we can provide them with a Biblical worldview. We know that we as parents have no power in ourselves to save our children. That power can only come from God through Jesus Christ, but we purpose to raise our children by the truth found in God’s Word in every area of their lives, academics included. We will homeschool our children as long as the Lord leads us to.”
When those difficult days come, as they most certainly will, whether it be multiple little inconveniences or large-scale life challenges, cling to your “why” and trust in the Lord to see you through. Refuse to give up on what God has called you to do, knowing that there will be blessings for staying faithful.
Alyssa Hemmer is a wife and busy homeschooling mom who spends her days teaching her older three while wrangling her littlest two. She enjoys writing stories, reading good books, sipping copious amounts of coffee, and tending to her household. She is a project starter and sometimes a project finisher. She is a recovering perfectionist, slowly learning (by God’s grace) that imperfection is okay. She enjoys the beautiful life the Lord has blessed her with.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2022-23 digital issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.