Homeschooling--when you've lost your joy

Do you remember your first day of school? You had brand new clothes, new pencils and notebooks, and the mysterious, unknown teacher you would soon face. 

Depending on past experiences, you might have been eagerly anticipating the beginning of school, or your heart might have been heavy with anxiety, or fear of what the new school year would bring. 

Homeschooling is really not that different. Now though, we anticipate the first day of school as a parent/teacher, not as a student.  Depending on past experience, you might be eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new school year, or you might be filled with dread, wondering what the year will hold for you. 

In my early years of homeschooling, I often fell into the first category. Na├»ve in my understanding, self-confident in the fact that I was smarter than my students, I couldn’t wait to tackle simple addition and first grade spelling. I would find myself weary by the end of the school year, but after a few weeks of summer vacation, a few “mommy” novels, (i.e. those with words containing more than short vowel sounds), and a new Sonlight catalog, I was recharged and eager to plan for the new school year. 

I remember the first summer I wasn’t eager to begin. As the new school year approached, I felt a sense of dread and loss rather than enthusiasm.

The realization had dawned on me that homeschooling was hard work, that I was not always smarter than my students, and that I didn’t always see the stellar academic performances I had expected. I never questioned our commitment to homeschool, but I was less than enthusiastic about beginning a new school year. I also knew that without joy and enthusiasm on my part, our homeschool year would not begin well. 

One morning during my quiet time, I was especially burdened by the knowledge that I was not looking forward to the beginning of school. I decided to talk with the Lord about it. (Silly me, as if He didn’t already know!) 

“Lord, right now I’m not too excited about beginning school. I look around at the novels I haven’t read, the naps I haven’t taken, and the summer projects that remain incomplete. I can’t bear to think of opening those school books and planning for a new year. I really do love homeschooling, and I wouldn’t choose any other way, but right now, I’m just not very enthusiastic. I can’t muster it up within myself, so I’m going to need You to give it to me. Would you please, and hurry?

I was praying based on the promise of God in Psalm 37:4 that He will give us the desires of our hearts. He doesn’t promise to give us everything our heart desires, but He will give us the desires that our hearts should have. 

Before too many days of praying for enthusiasm, God gave it to me. How sweet it was to begin a new homeschooling year knowing that God had given me the precious gift of excitement for the task He had ordained for me to do. I encourage you, dear sister, if you are dreading the beginning of the school year, ask our Father to give you joy to tackle the job ahead, and watch what He will do in your own heart. 

“Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Application Questions:
  1. How do you feel about beginning a new homeschooling year?
  2. Do you need to ask God to give you energy and enthusiasm to begin the year on a positive note?
Action Step for This Week:
If you lack enthusiasm for the new school year, pray and ask God to fill your heart with His joy, peace, and energy.

Prayer of Commitment: 
“Lord, thank You for the privilege of homeschooling my children. As the new school year begins, please fill my heart with energy and enthusiasm for the year that lies ahead. Help me to set a positive tone in our household. Equip and enable me to do the work that You have called me to do, and help this to be the best homeschooling year yet.”

  Homeschooling is HARD!

This post is a sample from Lori's new devotional book, Joy in the Journey - Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. 

With a devotion for every week of the school year, Joy in the Journey helps remind you that God wants to be a vital, active part of your homeschool. Each chapter contains devotions specific to what a homeschooling mom encounters each month, application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for personal devotions or for use by your support group for meeting topic ideas.

You've invested in wonderful curriculum for your children's  school year, why not invest in something for yourself?

To read more about Joy in the Journey and what other homeschooling moms are saying about it, click here.

Click here to order a paperback or Kindle copy:Joy In the Journey ~ Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms

To read the post "Homeschooling--The hardest thing I've ever done" Click here.
To read the post "Homeschooling--When you've lost your joy," Click Here.
To read the post "Homeschooling and God's mercy--When you feel like a failure," Click Here.
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  1. I loved this post and I am pinning it on my Pinterest Board! There are have lots of days/summers where I was less than enthusiastic to start a new school year/day! Thanks for sharing at NOBH! :)

  2. OOPS....typo! Should read "There have been lots of days/summers..."

  3. I never homeschooled my children. I didn't meet all of you wonderful Moms who homeschool until my children had grown and gone. :(
    But I did teach an early morning scripture class in my home for 18 teenagers for three-plus years. One morning, I was sitting there in my classroom, staring out the front window and talking to the Lord. I asked Him why I did what I did. It was too hard. It was too early. It took too much time. I couldn't go on. And then, three of my students came around the corner just up the block, chatting and laughing together and walking cheerfully towards my house. I was instantly filled with a warm, wonderful love for those young people. And with gratitude. For the unspeakably wonderful opportunity to teach these most precious sons and daughters of God. My joy was as complete as my despair had been. I was doing a great work.
    You, too are doing a great work. Your reward will be incalculable.

  4. I love your quote here "He doesn’t promise to give us everything our heart desires, but He will give us the desires that our hearts should have. " I put the emphasis on the SHOULD have in my mind, because I know that our desires don't always follow after God's desires. But they will when we prayerfully align our hearts with His! Thank you for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!