Author: Jennifer Chase, MSW
Published in: The Messenger (LEAH)
Updated on: Oct. 15, 2020

Have you ever wondered why you started homeschooling in the first place? Are you weary? Do your children seem more like a “burden” than a “blessing” today? Well, you are not alone – not even a little bit.  You are among some of the greatest women and men who have chosen to spend the best hours of their kids’ days together, learning those times tables and science equations. Sometimes, I feel crazy…and then I remember, “Oh yeah, that is why we started.” I say it quietly, remembering that “long ago” calling to have my blessings home all day – with ME!

May I encourage you and speak a little bit into your heart? I am there with you – right in the middle of that preteen emotion, adolescent attitude, toddler tantrum, newborn night-time feeding while writing that quarterly report! YOU CAN DO THIS! BUT – and let me say this boldly – YOU CANNOT DO THIS ALONE! We need a Savior to equip us to see our children through His eyes and heart. We need the Holy Spirit to guard our tongues. We need Abba Father to love our kids beyond anything we can fathom – through us.

We are called by God to breathe LIFE – words, actions, facial expressions, affirmation, and touch – into our homes and children. Every word you say will speak LIFE or death over your child. Jesus came to give us LIFE abundantly – He came to save the lost and heal our broken hearts! WOW – will you please read that again? Sometimes, we breeze over that latter part. Go ahead and re-read the sentence – He came to heal our broken hearts – yours, mine, and our kids’. Deep sigh. That is a safe place – a sanctuary where we should long for our children to find rest for their hearts.

I like to remember it as a simple word: LIFE – Love, Investment, Fun, and Eternity.

LOVE:  If you love Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him, you are in debt to Him – to love and to teach as He loved and taught. His love is BOLD and has no end. If we want our kids to know and love God, then we must LOVE them as Christ loves us – always, forever, and with forgiving hearts! Homeschooling is a journey; love your kids well. Love them to the Savior, and hug them when they are unhuggable. If your children were gone from you all day in private or public school, you could not LOVE on them all day. You are HOME with them. Love on them – ALL DAY!

INVESTMENT: What if we saw our children as investments? Children are a blessing from the Lord! We are called by God to invest in the lives of our children. Pray with them, read the Bible to them, share your heart with them, teach lessons about God to them, forgive them…You can forever change your children’s lives by having an attitude of investment. They are “disciples,” and they need a teacher – a model to follow. God has entrusted your kids to you as an investment of your time, energy, love, and prayers. What do you want your relationship to look like with your adult children? Invest in them NOW! Remember the Proverbs 31 woman? Her children rise up and call her blessed – I WANT THAT, TOO! She invested in their hearts, education, souls, lives, physical needs, self-esteem, body image, and spiritual needs…That is sweetness – to be blessed after blessing another.

FUN: When was the last time you laughed? I mean really gut laughed so hard that it made your stomach hurt? (It’s a great workout instead of sit ups..hmmmm). Children laugh WAY more than adults. Have you looked in the mirror recently? Are you smiling? Are you sober, frowning, and downcast in your appearance? Kids love to laugh – they do it at odd times throughout the day and would love to keep it going if we joined them. Small children can bring disorder (especially toddlers), but they are not mini adults trapped inside of small bodies. They are persons learning, listening, watching, growing, and discovering emotions and gravity. What would happen if we laughed just a little bit more each day? What if we chose laughter instead of raising our voices in anger? What if we turned up the FUN music, grabbed a spoon (makeshift microphone), and began singing some crazy songs in the middle of the day? What if YOU jumped into the swimming pool and did a cannonball? Watch your kids’ faces to observe their hearts springing with glee and their giggles wrapped in laughter because Mom and Dad chose to be FUN.

We hung up a zipline in our backyard just to have some FUN. Last year, I asked for a karaoke machine for my birthday so our family could break into song when the day was absolutely headed down the path of no-return destruction. It brings us LIFE and is something my kids remember when times are tough and the world hurts. Family should be a safe place where we can giggle, laugh, sing, and do a dance in the kitchen – to make it for another hour inside together. When math is done, paint some fingernails, build a LEGO® bridge, or jump on the trampoline. Try laughing a little more; watch your kids breathing LIFE when you choose FUN instead of tears and raised voices.

ETERNITY: May I encourage you to think in terms of eternity? If you can, read God’s Word each day to your kids (even those teenagers). It will NOT return void. Pray for your kids’ hearts OUT LOUD with them every day. Demonstrate God’s heart for them. Is God awesome to you? Make sure your kids see how awesome God is….SHOW THEM! Let them taste eternity by loving God in front of them. When our family has faced some really hard times, we have tried to display God’s goodness to our children – showing them that God is good; He is safe; He can be trusted; He will provide; He will heal; and He is faithful. Think of every day in terms of eternity for your kids’ hearts…it changes everything.

Finally, homeschool friend, remember that you are not alone on this journey! There are other homeschool families who can help you along this road. Don’t be afraid to ask a “veteran” homeschool family for encouragement, accountability and prayers. Moses had helpers hold up his arms. We have a LEAH community to support us, too. We cannot do this alone. We all have situations in our lives and family that seem overwhelming, but we serve a HUGE God who can do anything. You can do it! It is not always easy, but remember, you are not alone! You have an unlimited Power Source supporting you. You can do all things because He strengthens you and is your Helper! (Phil 4:13)

My parenting becomes full of LIFE when I rely on God for strength, wisdom, a cool temper, peace, laughter, and perspective. I simply cannot do this homeschool stuff well without Jesus…He is the true Giver of LIFE!

Jennifer (“Jeni”) Chase and her husband, David, have been married for 20 years and live in Apalachin, NY, where they homeschool their four lively daughters. Jeni speaks at women’s groups, moms’ gatherings, marriage retreats, and homeschool conventions. She previously worked as a professional counselor in Johnson City, NY, and currently serves as the Co-Director for the Braided Cord Cooperative in the Binghamton, NY area, which provides educational opportunities and community for over 35 homeschool families. To contact Jennifer: dchase5@stny.rr.com