So. It’s February.
In our neck of the woods, it’s been a harsher winter. We’ve had inches upon inches of snow, then ice on top of that, when a typical year rarely sees snow that stays on the ground for more than a day or two.
The sky is covered in gray, and often so is my head.
Because of the cold and the wet, I don’t get the same level of exercise and activity. Worse yet, the kids don’t either.
Sometimes it’s weather, sometimes it’s illness, sometimes it’s simply fatigue. If you’ve been homeschooling for awhile, you’re probably familiar with the feeling: homeschool morning blah.
It’s normal; it’s natural; it’s bound to happen.
But it’s also one of a homeschool mom’s most insidious enemies.
No, I’m not exaggerating. Unless we learn how to overcoming homeschool morning blah, we will not have consistency and we will not be modeling the cheerful grit we want our students to have.
Listen to this post!
It’s normal; it’s natural; it’s bound to happen.
And it’s one of a homeschool mom’s greatest opportunities: if she’ll just take it.
I know I have not been for the last couple weeks. So what am I modeling? Caving in to convenience. Giving up when I don’t feel like pushing through.
Know what that looks like when it’s imitated? Whining. Stubborn resistance. Passive avoidance.
It’s not pretty in myself, and it’s not pretty in my kids.
In the February doldrums, we need to do three things: respond, repent, and rejoice.
I know sometimes I feel the prompting: Time to start. Time to let go of your agenda. Time to smile and give up your annoyance.
And I ignore it.
I think it’s for my own convenience, but it’s actually to my family’s peril (and my own). After all, that is the Spirit’s prompting, my conscience’s prompting, and the more I tune out, the harder obedience becomes.
Obedience isn’t just for kids. It’s for moms, too.
We need to respond to those internal nudges, choosing the right thing over our own desires and inertia.
That inertia, once overcome, becomes momentum – and isn’t that what we want? We won’t be zapped with instantaneous, inspired momentum. Rather, we’re prompted and nudged.
To respond is to have response-ability. I know recently I have talked to my children about their need for responsibility. But what about my own?
Lord, let me not walk in hypocrisy with my children. Give me the grace to walk with You, doing my duty whether I feel like it or not.
Responsibility – take it, don’t reject it.
It turns out this homeschooling life is less about turning out well-educated young adult end-products and more about my own personal sanctification.
Sure, I’m hoping for well-educated young adults, too, but in the meantime, what I see each and every day is my own neediness and lack – and that’s a good thing.
When we repent, we know we must rely on God’s grace rather than our own strength.
And that’s a better place to be, even if our own strength – temporarily – feels better.
Every day, we are called to die to ourselves, to serve others, and to walk in humility. That’s a life of repentance, and homeschooling is a situation that brings our insufficiency to the foreground. That’s not failure; that’s opportunity.
Recognize the sin, forsake it, and turn to embrace truth.
We must also repent out loud to the kids to restore fellowship and return everyone to the same page. Before we go around demanding their repentance, we show them how it’s done – we’re bound to have occasion to do so, and we should respond to those promptings, as well.
It is only when these first two Rs are in place that we have access to the third: rejoicing.
Rejoicing has been low in our house this month. Know why? The responding and the repenting has been lacking. Rejoicing follows these.
If the joy is missing, we need not to directly seek the joy, but to repent and respond to our responsibility.
Confession clears the cobwebs.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit – a promised gift for those walking by the Spirit. It comes through prayer and obedience, and flees from self-sufficiency and whining.
Oh, there’s a fourth R we need, too:
Unfortunately, the homeschool morning blah is not a single battle that we can fight and defeat once for all.
We can fight it and defeat it this morning, this week, this term, but the temptations will creep back and catch us. We will never grow so godly and good in this life as to not need to consciously choose to respond and repent so we can rejoice.
It is a lifelong pursuit we will continue long after the homeschooling is over. Practice now. Keep at it.
As Puritan John Owen put it: >Keep killing sin or it will be killing you.
It might look like a petty bad start, a trivial annoyance, but the little weeds go to seed faster than we suppose.
So here’s the nitty-gritty tip that looks as blah as I feel on a typical gray February morning, but works as potently as a (second) cup of coffee.
I keep a few pages of verses, quotes, and catch-phrases handy so I can continually fill my mind with truth and make it easier to remember and act on what I know rather than how I feel.
I call it a prep sheet. It’s simple, straightforward, and maybe a little silly, but it works for me – and I think it’ll work for you, too.