Dear Young Mama
My family has a New Year’s Eve tradition where we write a letter to our future selves. We open it a year later, on New Year’s Eve. It’s fun but sometimes discouraging. I’ve learned that writing a list of goals as a motivational tool can fall flat as you read through the list the following year, only to discover you haven’t accomplished much.
Today, I’m writing a letter to my past self. There is so much I’d like that young mama to know and my hope is that it can make a difference for you.
Dear Young Mama,
You are struggling to make a decision about whether to homeschool your children or to enroll them in public school. There are many things to consider but here is the truth. It will be easier to send your children to school if you decide that homeschooling isn’t a good fit than it will be to pull your children from school if you decide that school isn’t a good fit for you.
I know the plan is for you to go back to work once your children are school age but the finances are going to be there as you need them. The Lord is going to provide and it’s going to be faith building to see how He does it. You are going to have to budget, there will be sacrifices, and lean times but there will also be amazing financial surprises along the way. Start today by praying for financial wisdom. Ask the Lord to reveal to you any financial beliefs, desires, and habits that are contrary to His word. Spend the needed time uprooting financial idols. Confess the worldly desires of your heart, He knows what they are anyway. You will need His grace to change, you can’t do it in your own strength.
Once you have started to work on your heart, you need to implement some tools. Start by writing out a budget and then figure out a system to keep track of the spending. There is no need to buy a program for this, pen and paper will work just fine but I am a fan of YNAB (You Need A Budget).
Take some time to figure out exactly what your husband makes per hour (after income tax and all the other deductions). This will help you when you are tempted to spend beyond what is needed. Ask yourself in that moment, “Is this item worth my husband having to work X amount of hours for us/me to have this?”
Finally, figure out what you can do to earn some “Proverbs 31” income. The size of this endeavor will depend on the time and energy you have, the level of responsibility your husband has at his job, and the amount of home and family responsibilities that he’s able to take on. But please realize that even if you can only earn and save $100/month, it will richly bless your family 20 years from now.
Your friend group is going to change and not all family members are going to be supportive of homeschooling. Don’t worry, you are going to meet heaps of incredible families and you’ll meet your most treasured friend amongst those families. Try to remain quietly confident and strong-minded but tender-hearted towards the critics. The fruit grows slowly, be patient, they’ll start to see.
Don’t consider whether you are smart enough.
Others will question and you’ll wonder if you are smart enough to homeschool your children. Don’t waste your time pondering this question. There will be an incredible variety of curricula for you to choose from that will help you educate your children. Many people have gone before you and they will be a blessed resource. Ask lots of questions, take notes, don’t be afraid to tweak the advice to fit you and your family, and twenty years from now you’ll be writing a blog post encouraging mamas with your own thoughts.
Consider your priorities.
Develop a firm grasp of what your priorities are. Build a habit of being in the Word daily, become a prayer warrior, and worship, and serve on a regular basis. Make your husband your next priority. It’s a mistake to neglect this relationship and it’s so easy to do. Next in line are the children. It can get tricky here as you figure out how to serve the Lord as both a mama and teacher to your children; mama should show up first.
Consider how you will organize.
If you have a kitchen table, then you have space to educate your children.
What you will need are bookshelves. I’ve yet to go into a homeschooling home that doesn’t have walls full of books. Homeschool mamas develop a special relationship with books so get yourselves some bookshelves.
Paper! There is so much paper. It enters your house in many forms: workbooks, worksheets, journals, creative writing, reports, printables, artwork, and more. Spend some time thinking about what you are going to keep and how you are going to store it. Do Not, I repeat, Do Not buy a plastic bin to store all the paper thinking that you’ll get to it another day.
- Theatre Class
- Dance Class
- Creative Writing Class
- Art Class
- Self-Defence Class
- Martial Arts
- Homeschool Co-op
- Youth Group
- Swimming Lessons
- Skating Lessons
- Outdoor Club
- Field Trips
There is no shortage of good things to participate in. Take time to create a vision and some boundaries regarding how you will spend your time and then make decisions that align with your vision and boundaries.
Don’t ever consider that homeschooling will save your children.
There is no checklist or formula that ensures your children will become followers of Christ. If there were, you would be owed the glory for the salvation of your children.
Homeschooling will protect your children from worldly influences for a time, but it won’t protect them from their own sinful nature. Make no mistake, sin can still breed in the absence of worldly influences.
Be encouraged, young mama. He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in Him. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4).
by Adrianne Curwen
Adrianne is a wife to a public-school educator/administrator and a homeschooling Mama to seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 23. She believes that we have a unique opportunity as homeschoolers to design individualized education that suits giftings, interests, and passions. She and her husband have used a blend of registered homeschooling, enrolment with independent DL schools, and participation in public trade school programs to design individualized programs for their children. She is passionate about using as many read-alouds, picture books, novels, and conversations to educate her children but also gets excited by the amazing homeschool-designed curriculum that’s out there. Adrianne is thrilled by her new role as Communication Specialist for Classical Education Books and is grateful to have an opportunity to learn something new. She is grateful, every day, for her saviour, Jesus Christ, and has no greater joy than when she sees her most important missions field walk with Him.