Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God. Tackle the day’s work that he charges you with and he will give you the power to accomplish it.
– St. Edith Stein
I recently came across this quote from St. Edith Stein and immediately thought of the importance of prayer in our homeschooling (and parenting) lives.
Homeschooling is hard. Yes, I see all the wonderful images of homeschool life out there in social media and homeschooling books and magazines and they do tell part of the story. I do love our homeschool life, at least on some days. For my family of square pegs, it has been a much better fit than a traditional classroom where they would have struggled immensely to squeeze into those round holes. I am forever thankful for the gift of homeschooling and am happy to offer homeschool encouragement and support to others. But sometimes that support and encouragement means acknowledging that this may be a difficult road you are traveling on.
I can’t imagine homeschooling or parenting without God’s help. God is the one who made my children and knows them more intimately than I ever will. He knows their strengths and weaknesses and the plans he has for them. He knows what they need to learn and experience in order to be the people he made them to be. I am my children’s caretaker, trying to help them discover what God wants of them while traveling on my own path of discovery, trying to discern and be who God wants me to be.
When we homeschool, we take on the majority of the burden of educating our children. That is an added weight on top of the normal pressures of parenting. At times, it can feel overwhelming. I know in the back of my mind, there is always the voice saying, “What if you mess up? What if you are ruining your children? What if you fail?” Even with two children who have graduated from homeschooling, that voice is still there. I have cried many tears of frustration and fear during my homeschooling journey.
That’s why I lean so heavily on God. I pray every day for my children and for our homeschool. I pray that they learn what they should, that we take part in the activities we should, and that they go to school if and when they should. Days when I don’t have the opportunity to start the day in prayer inevitably end up a train wreck. If I have turned my homeschool day over to God, I can feel His strength helping me even on the hard days.
St. Edith Stein advises spending an hour in prayer in the morning. Now that my children are older, it is possible for me to do that. It means getting up earlier than I might like, but I value that time in the early morning to give all my cares and concerns to God and to rest in Him. I do remember well, though, the sleep-deprived days of long nights and children who got up early when spending an hour in the prayer was an impossibility. If that is your season of life, I encourage you to do what you can to spend what time you can in prayer. When you have a few moments, resist the urge to pick up your phone. Instead, spend some time in prayer (if you are using your phone to pray, please feel free to use it!). Any time you can turn your thoughts to God and ask for His help will help you and your children and your homeschool.
In addition to helping with the actual process of homeschooling, prayer also helps with your time management. God cannot be outdone in generosity. He will multiply the time you gave to him in prayer. You may not accomplish everything that you would like to do, but He will help you to accomplish everything you need to do.
God can help us and our children with our homeschooling lives. Don’t try to do it alone.