Crazy. Busy. Late nights. Exciting. Nerve wracking. This are all words that PERFECTLY describe how the past month or so have felt. I mentioned before that I am taking on a new role in our homeschool community this year and have the privilege of being the director. But, with that comes lots of responsibility, and that’s code for lots of organizing, planning, preparing, and just work to be done for the community! (We are a part of a Classical Conversations homeschool community and are so thankful for it!)
With all the work that has to be done before we begin our new year TOMORROW (Freak Out!), I have not had the time to blog much at all! Sporadic is a lovely word to use here. “Why, yes. I blog SPORADICALLY.” 🙂
In preparation for the orientation time that we had last week, I wrote something to share with the families to encourage everyone as we start a new year. A lot of the families are either new to homeschooling or new to participating in Classical Conversations, so encouraging them as we begin this journey was a huge goal of mine! But, I also wanted to encourage the seasoned homeschooling mommas! (We all need encouragement, amiright?!?)
What follows is what I shared with my families, and wether you are a brand new homeschool mom or have been at it for seemingly forever, I do hope that it encourages you!
Running and Homeschooling…Not That Different!
One little thing to know about me is that I enjoy running. It’s something that I always wanted to do, but I didn’t start until about 4 years ago. I had no clue what I was doing at first but just jumped in. I had a jogging stroller, 2 babies (a 2 year old and a 6 month old!), and after my first trip out running with them, I had a sore knee! That kind of put a bummer on my running and I took a couple of weeks off to do some research and get a plan together for my new activity. I discovered an awesome running plan that helped me go from not running at all to being able to run a 5k in a few weeks! After I was able to run the 3.1 miles I decided to join some friends and train for a half marathon! I kind of thought I was crazy, but I was really excited at the challenge and jumped in! I trained for several months, had to start wearing a knee brace and an ankle brace, suffered through shin splints, but 3 months shy of my 1 year anniversary of starting to run, I ran a half marathon! To have a desire for something, put in the hard work, and actually achieve my goal gave me such an incredible feeling of accomplishment! It was one of my proudest moments, and only made possible by the grace of God! (Another thing about me is that when things get tough I have a temptation to quit. Sin struggle!)
I don’t get to run as much as I used to, but I did get to go recently. While I was running, the thought hit me that running and homeschooling have lots of similarities! Even running and our Classical Conversations community have similarities! I want to share these with you in hopes to encourage you as we begin a new year of homeschooling and a new year, or first year for some, of CC!
Running and homeschooling are a lot alike!
1. It’s hard work, but so rewarding!
Ever hear of the runner’s high? It’s so true! Who knew putting yourself through intense labor could actually make you feel good? The same is true with our homeschool. It’s hard work, but getting to be the ones who see when you kiddo finally gets a concept, learns more than you thought possible, and Lord willing, one day graduates will make all the hard work and difficulty pale in comparison to the joy you’ll feel. Maybe we could start calling it the “homeschooler’s high!”
2. Often, to be successful, you need to plan.
Some people can just jump in, fly by the seat of their pants, and be successful, but I feel like it’s a small percentage. Just like when I jumped in running for the first time. I didn’t know how far I should run, and I had old shoes that did me no favors, and I hurt myself! Not that homeschooling without a plan will cause you physical pain and hurt, but it can cause you mental stress! 100% of the time last year when I took the time to really plan things out and prepare, our days were more successful. Homeschooling affords us a lot of flexibility, but I encourage you to make a plan for your day. You and your kids will benefit from it!
3. Don’t expect to be a pro right away (or ever!)
Now, I don’t know for sure, but you can pretty much believe that no one has ever been able to just get up and go run a marathon! It takes time. It takes training. The running plan I used when I first started running had me running 60 seconds at a time, and then walking for 90 seconds. I had to start somewhere. Jumping in to homeschooling can feel like being thrown into a race you aren’t trained for, but just take baby steps and start! I am pretty sure that even moms who have been homeschooling for years and years would say that they aren’t pros, even though to us newbie homeschooling moms they are like super women! Every one has to start at the beginning, but one day we just may make it to the finish line and see those little ones all grown up and graduating!
4. Don’t look too far ahead, just focus on what’s in front of you, and put one foot in front of the other.
Where I usually run, there is a giant hill to go up right before I’m done. Now, I don’t always run all the way up it, though I have several times! But, in the moments that I am running even a little bit up the hill I try to just look at the steps in front of me and not to the top of the hill. It’s discouraging. It’s overwhelming! But, if I focus on just putting one foot in front of the other and pushing one step at a time I do better. The same is true with homeschooling! If you are just getting started, thinking about things like transcripts and graduation requirements (or even the essentials program for me right now!) it will be easier to get overwhelmed! Focus on where you are. Of course have a general idea of where you heading, but don’t focus on all that has to happen to get to the finish. Just put one foot in front of the other and focus on where you are.
5. Try to enjoy the beauty of the journey.
My preferred way to run is outdoors, and most of the time without any music. I just enjoy being in nature and having a little time of quiet to myself (with 3 little ones it’s my escape!). I love looking at the clouds and feeling the breeze as I run. There is much beauty in nature! Though there are days that homeschooling is hard, there is much beauty in it! It’s a privilege to get to be the ones shaping and training our kids, it’s beautiful! It’s a blessing to be able to take time to develop their character. Getting to cuddle up and introduce them to books like the Chronicles of Narnia, or the Little House on the Prairie series will make sweet and beautiful memories for you and your kiddos! Exploring and seeing them experience nature and learn to love learning is a beautiful thing! Enjoy the beauty that is around you. Even though it may be chaotic and at times seem like the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, the beauty is there! Look for it everyday!
Now for some ways that running is like our Classical Conversations community (and can be true for any co-op or anyone homeschooling who has or knows of other people who are homeschooling).
6. There is much encouragement and motivation when you have a buddy!
I had a good friend who trained with me and we ran the half marathon together. She was such an encouragement to me to keep going and to push through. We were on the same track and pursuing the same goal. Take a look around you in your CC community (or homeschool co-op/other homeschoolers you know). You now have several buddies to encourage and help motivate you in this journey! I love CC’s desire to grow not just a homeschool group, but communities! We are all on the same track pursuing the same goal and we are now in community together! And I’m really thankful! So, you should all consider yourself my new homeschooling buddies! 🙂
7. The support you have helps you reach your goal, but you’re still the one in charge.
When I run I now have to have a knee brace and an ankle brace. These items support my weak joints and help me run the distance set before me, but I’m still the one running. You can consider this community your support! Your director, the tutors, and the other moms, and Classical Conversations Inc. are all here to help you and support you. But, at the end of the day, you are still the one that is in charge of your child’s education. The tutors will model for you how to take the information and teach it at home, but YOU are the teacher!
Repeat after me, I AM THE TEACHER! I AM THE TEACHER!
Utilize this amazing support system that you have, but embrace your role as your child’s educator!
Hebrews 12:1-2 says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Set before us now is the wonderful, beautiful, privilege of homeschooling our kids.
Look to Jesus to accomplish this goal!
When you have a rough day, look to Jesus!
When you start questioning what you’ve gotten yourself into, Look to Jesus!
If you become overwhelmed, look to Jesus!
And, when you are so happy and encouraged in this journey, look to Jesus!
We praise Him as every good and perfect gift is from Him!
Here is to a great year ahead! Blessings to all the other CC communities and homeschools across the world who are preparing to/just began their new year! It’s sure to be a great one! And wether you are brand new to homeschooling this year, or this is your umpteenth year doing so, look to Jesus friend! He’s got this!