What do you need to homeschool successfully?
Do you need Ticonderoga pencils and an iPad?
Do you need lesson plans and activity guides?
Do you need Morning Time binders and baskets of books?
Well, ok, sure – you definitely need piles of books.
But what’s at the heart of a “successful” homeschool?
A peaceful and happy mother.
Sarah Mackenzie has said it already, and that’s why we keep returning to Teaching from Rest as our homeschool-pep-talk book:
A peaceful and happy mother is the real key to successful homeschooling.
Let’s break this down a bit.
What is successful homeschooling, anyway? Have you ever thought of your own definition of successful homeschooling?
What is a peaceful and happy mother? Have we ever paused to really think about what that means, personally?
And what is a real key?
If a peaceful and happy mother is the real key to successful homeschooling, what is the real key to a peaceful and happy mother?
That’s the million dollar question, and the world has more than a million dollars worth of products to sell to you as solutions and real keys.
But they’re not real keys, they’re fake keys.
A peaceful and happy mother does not come as a result of products.
She does not come as a result of bubble baths and pedicures, either, peaceful and happy though they are.
A peaceful and happy mother comes when she is sure she is faithfully walking in God’s will.
Sometimes we think our peace and happiness comes from our circumstances, so we look to chocolate or a massage to calm our mood.
Sometimes we think our peace and happiness comes from control, so we over-plan and over-bear.
Sometimes we think that our peace and happiness comes from confidence that we’re Right, so we get defensive and evangelistic about our choices.
But our peace and our happiness are not in our hands. That’s why we can have them reliably.
Peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit. We get them when we die to ourselves, sacrifice for others, and pray for God’s grace. We get them when we repent of our sin and then rejoice in obedience. We get them when we walk in God’s will, and God’s will is our sanctification.
We walk in faithful, humble reliance upon God not only for our daily bread, but also as the one true source of our peace and happiness. We plant, we water, we wait. God gives the increase, the “successful” homeschool that we will not be able to take any credit for in the end because it will become glaringly obvious that we did nothing to deserve God’s abundant kindness to us. We will give the glory to God, as we ought.
God gives the peace. God gives the happiness. God gives the success – on His terms and by His definition, not ours.
Are we ok with that?
Unless we are, unless our hands are open, willing and ready for God to do with our work as He sees fit rather than as we want, we cannot be either peaceful or happy. Instead we will be anxious and frustrated as we grab control that is not ours.
The control that is ours is self-control, another fruit of the Spirit.
Let us pray to the Spirit for these gifts, and thanking Him for them. That is walking by the Spirit. That is the only way to be a peaceful and happy mother.