Five thought patterns that have renewed my mind, things I tell myself repeatedly as a home educator, are:
- Know your why
- Invite God into your school
- Limit your priorities
- Allow the academic gaps
- Focus on discipleship
Read more about those in Part 1 of Ten Restful Thought Patterns for Homeschool Moms
Here are some more thought patterns, my changing tides for renewing my mind. Would one of these renew your mind and refresh your heart today?
6) Admit your weakness
My old tide of thought: I convince myself that my personal struggles as mom and teacher disqualify me from being the right teacher for my children. Not restful.
My list is long. You know, that list of reasons I tell myself that perhaps I shouldn’t really be homeschooling my children. I sometimes text my husband and close friends that – really, this time – I just can’t do it anymore. I have, more than once, sat in a puddle of my own tears distraught over trying to face another day of my own failures. I have asked the Lord, “Do I really have to be so dependent?” Well yes, that’s exactly the point. God wants me to be dependent on Him because it keeps me close to Him.
“I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (II Corinthians 12:9) This task of homeschooling is not about me. It is about allowing Jesus to work through me to draw my children to Himself.
My changing tide of renewal: Boasting in my weakness renews my mind by giving me power. I can rest because the power of Jesus, who created the universe and defeated death, strengthens me for the task at hand.
Renew your mind: Think of one weakness you have in homeschooling. Ask God to fill you with power and strength in that one thing.
7) Master your curriculum
My old tide of thought: I panic over how far behind we are in the curriculum I chose and rush to get through it. Not restful.
Year 1 of our homeschool: We started using Story of the World. I envisioned my children happily coloring as I read to them and enjoyable moments as we completed the hands-on activities. This might have lasted two weeks. Year 2: I tried again. Using all the resources how it seemed they should be used just didn’t work for us. Eventually (about year 4), I changed my perspective. Story of the World is an excellent tool, but it is just a tool. Its purpose is not to tell me what to do as a teacher. I figured out what my family needs from this resource, and now I master it. As a result, my children love it and are learning much. (Since you’re possibly curious: The audio CDs were a game-changer for my family. The coloring sheets and such are beautiful resources, just not for us. Simply listening is how we use this tool.)
“Have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) In the Garden of Eden, God gave people dominion over all creation. Curriculum, as part of man’s creation, should fall under that dominion. God gave parents, not a system or book, responsibility for training our children.
My changing tide of renewal: Mastering my curriculum renews my mind by convincing me of my authority. Authority allows me to rest as the curriculum becomes my tool rather than my master.
Renew your mind: Think of one book or component of your curriculum for this year. Make a plan to use it to meet a goal you have set for your family’s school.
8) Protect your time
My old tide of thought: I over-schedule our calendar with enrichment and relational activities, all good but too much. Not restful.
In our first few months of homeschooling, I quickly realized we could be so busy that we were never at home. Field trips, library, activities, playdates. Yes, we can (and do) learn everywhere we go. But we also need some time at home. Over time, I have learned that my family needs at least two full days at home, and two mostly full days. The people in my home need lots of open space in our schedule. But that’s just us, and it is just one choice to protect our time. Each of our families have different needs for our use of time. We as moms are the protectors of that time.
“There is an appointed time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Lord, show me today what is appointed for this time for my family.
My changing tide of renewal: Protecting my family’s time renews my mind by giving me margin. Margin provides open space in my day, an opportunity to breathe and rest.
Renew your mind: Consider your family’s schedule, and create some margin in your calendar this week.
9) Converse with your students
My old tide of thought: I stubbornly tackle the endless list of tasks in front of me with good intentions of serving my family. Not restful.
As a task-oriented person, I can easily prioritize tasks over people. My mind tells me the tasks are to serve the people, but I tend to neglect simple essentials like eye contact and conversation. While writing this post, one of my children sat next to me and started firing questions. At that moment, I had two options: 1) Answer quickly and get back to my task of writing (my natural response) or 2) Look away from the computer, make eye contact with my child, and talk. I’m thankful to say I chose option 2 this time. So this will be published later than intended. But my conversation with my boy, and the light in his eyes as we talked? That’s my real purpose as mom.
“Impress (these commandments) on your children. Talk about them when…” (Deuteronomy 6:7) Talk with them when you sit at home. Talk with them when you walk along the road. When you lie down. When you rise up. Talk, talk, talk.
My changing tide of renewal: Conversing with my students renews my mind by prioritizing my true purpose as mom. I can rest knowing my true purpose is to nurture hearts, not complete the task list.
Renew your mind: Decide to neglect a task in favor of a conversation this week.
10) Welcome the interruptions
My old tide of thought: I fear and fret when the surprises in life interrupt my plan. Not restful.
I am a planner, often an over-planner. And I really want my plans to work as I expect. But that’s not realistic in life. Often, my plan is sabotaged by a spilled drink. A broken washing machine. A dead battery in the van. A trip to the ER. Another sibling conflict. The possible interruptions in my days are endless. Frustration is my natural response, because I really want my plan to work. But I am learning God really can work His purpose in all things. And I can admit that His plans are far better than my own.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) Lord, I will make plans for today, but then I will surrender my agenda and trust You to direct my family’s steps.
My changing tide of renewal: Welcoming the interruptions renews my mind by helping me trust. As I learn more to trust that God is in control and orchestrates events I don’t understand, I learn to rest.
Renew your mind: The next time life feels interrupted, probably today, choose to smile and trust the change of plans is actually the real plan.
Just as the waves of the ocean are constantly crashing on the shore, so are the waves of our thoughts constantly crashing on our hearts. To be restful as a homeschool moms, we must change the waves of our thought patterns. These changing tides can renew our minds and refresh our hearts.