Homeschool - 3 Tips when you're behind

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

By now the holiday season has come to a close. Hopefully, amidst the activity of the season you also took time to rest, make precious memories with your family, and catch up on what you neglected during the first half of the school year. Soon you'll sit down to write mid-year reports, tie up loose ends of the first semester, and plan for the second half of the school year.

It is often very discouraging and disheartening to hold the first semester’s accomplishments up against the plumb line of your plans. Somehow that history text has grown in volume, and you've fallen quite short of the half-way point where you had hoped to be.

The month when Jr. got bogged down on multiplication tables and you had to stop moving forward in the text and break out the remedial practice pages put a serious delay on your plan for finishing the book this year. 

Then there was the two weeks when everyone came down with stomach viruses. Of course, everyone didn’t get sick all at once-- one person got sick every three days, so the "crud" lasted forever, and the Health Department hung a "Quarantined" sign on the door.

Each individual delay didn't seem like a big deal, but somehow your homeschooling has fallen short of where you had hoped to be at mid year, and you're discouraged.

Take heart, homeschooling mom. Just as Christmas is about the fact that God gave fallen man a second chance at redemption, so second semesters are our second chance to redeem our homeschooling year. Our God is a God of second chances.

How does one begin again? Here are three tips:

1.  Adjust your expectations. We all set high and lofty goals for our school years, only to realize later they were a bit unrealistic. If Jr. needed extra help in math. and you are behind in the textbook, then you are exactly where you need to be. Remember that your goal is mastery not completion. A fully completed math text and a child who cannot do his multiplication tables is not success. There is no rule that says you can't carry your text over into the next school year if need be. That is the beauty of homeschooling – you can adjust your plan to meet your child's needs. 

2. Buckle down where needed. In some cases, like that of the multiplying history book, completion will simply require adding extra pages to your reading schedule, buckling down, and getting it done. Watch your children though. If their eyes begin to glaze over after the first 20 pages, and you plow on anyway, what are you really accomplishing? Once again, your goal is mastery. It is better to cover less material and really learn it.

3.  Trust God to redeem what's been offered up to him. There will be time, like the virulent virus weeks, that you simply cannot redeem. It is these times, like the days you stopped school to help a neighbor in need, or the week you took off to nurse grandma back to health, that the Lord redeems for you. 
Your children won't miraculously know calculus when they didn't before, but God will multiply the learning that does take place and even fill in the gaps in ways you can't explain. He will provide help in an area that allows you to gain ground. He'll provide learning opportunities that you could never have engineered yourself. 

Best of all He will be your family's teacher. Sometimes academically, but also in those life lessons that teach us that sometimes schedules and plans need to be set aside to minister in his name. He restores what was "lost," and brings benefits which you never dreamed of

As you begin your second semester of school, I encourage you to work hard this semester. Be a diligent, faithful steward of the precious privilege of homeschooling, but also trust God for those things you cannot do.

Application Questions:

What are the areas in which your children have fallen behind in their school work?

Were your goals too lofty or was it simply a matter of lack of diligence?

Were these goals delayed by circumstances beyond your control?

Action Step for This Week:

Evaluate each area and develop a plan to persevere, catch up, or set aside.

Prayer of Commitment:

“Lord, we are halfway through the school year, and we are behind in some areas. If we are behind because of a lack of diligence or discipline on my part, I confess that to you and ask you to help me do better in the second semester. If we are behind because of circumstances beyond our control, I ask you to show me which areas need to be made up, which we should continue on as we are going, and which should be set aside for a while. Thank you for the promise in James 1:5 that says if I lack wisdom, I can ask you for it, and you will give it to me in abundance. I commit the second half of my school year to you.”

  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. Thank you so much! That was so encouraging!!!

  2. Thank you for this post. We aren't homeschooling yet, but have been falling behind on creative ways to play.

  3. Thank you for this post!! I'm done with years and years of homeschooling as of January...but would you believe that I lay in bed a few nights ago thinking of all the ways that I failed and fell behind?! Of course, things looked different when the sun came up but I had to smile as I read your posts and memories, some great and others, well,, came back to me.

    Thank you for linking this encouraging post over at WholeHearted Home. I don't write too often about homeschooling so I appreciate what you share from time to time. I think it will encourage other moms.

    1. Judith, your comment reminds me of Stormie Omartian's famous quote about there being two ways to avoid guilt as a parent. The first is to die young. The second, to walk closely with him every day of your life. I'm espousing the latter, and it sounds like you are too. Welcome to the graduate club. How come WE don't get a diploma??? Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  4. Hi Lori! I couldn't figure out to email you so I came back to this amazing post I read. I'm new to this technically laden stuff! :) Address is THank you!!