No More

When we first started homeschooling, I was so excited to give my children every learning opportunity available. My schedule included lofty ideas of weekly field trips and my children's involvement in any sport, music, or church activity they desired. After all, we wanted to make sure no one accused us of isolating our children. However, after homeschooling three to four months, I realized my sanity was at stake if I continued to run my four children out the door to each of their daily activities. The half-completed projects and academic assignments that were left behind added additional proof that we had a problem. That's when I decided: no more.

New changes were made at our house, and we began to reevaluate what was important to our children's education. We simply did not have enough time to participate in everything that was available. Even worthwhile activities within our church and homeschool group had to be analyzed and required prayer. "Simplify" became my theme, and I rediscovered the joy of homeschooling our children again.

Moses was a great leader in the Bible, but even he had to learn how to simplify his life. After leading God's people out of Egypt, Moses had the awesome responsibility of making this mass of people get along with each other. Imagine dealing with the issues created by millions of people living together in the wilderness. Moses was burning out fast, trying to keep ahead of all the demands. Fortunately, Jethro, his father-in-law, noticed what was happening and gave him some practical ideas to get his life back (Exodus 18:17-27).

What about your family? Are you running from activity to activity and missing the whole point of homeschooling — you know, the schooling you're supposed to be doing at home? Life already has enough demands on us to hurry and miss the joy of loving relationships. Don't let the world pull you off the track God has given you in homeschooling. Guard your time together and pray before you say "yes" to one more thing. Remember, we're not isolating. We're equipping our children to grow in their walk with Christ, and that simply takes time. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Lord, our family is on overload, and we need Your help. Programs and activities have replaced people and relationships, and we need Your discernment to rediscover why we are homeschooling. Bring us back to our first loves — You and each other. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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STEVE AND ALLI H 12/07/2009 09:24:50

I'm glad to see this article. Too many times I find our family overloaded and it is hard for others to understand when we say no. Even our church (I think) finds it difficult to understand when we put family 1st.

TERESA O 10/07/2010 06:12:14

This article is great I myself have had this same struggle with overload, but have found even a certified master teacher as myself is having the same struggles that all home-school parents have across the country. Thank you for helping all of make it through the difficult days.

KIM K 10/07/2010 06:23:20

a certified master teacher using aop? dial it in much?

CARIE T 10/07/2010 20:45:02

What a huge encouragement to my heart as I was in one of those moments...so thankful to not be alone. Thank you for sharing and allowing another confirmation that we are here for an audience of one...God. And the people whether they are in our family, church or just in our lives however strong their opinions are are NOT the ones that get the final persuasion. It's God that set's us free as we sit under his leading! God bless all the parent's who are endeavoring in home schooling and need the boost.

Phyllis E 12/07/2010 07:57:41

I can really relate to this. What a good reminder to help us keep our "Daily Focus" on the right things. By the way--who wrote this article? I would love to know.

RYAN E 12/07/2010 08:01:12

Hi Phyllis! All of our Daily Focus articles are written by Janet Tatman, one of our writers and a veteran homeschool mom. You can learn more about the Daily Focus here: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/product/ar8001/ as well as get to know Janet a little better here: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/blog/homeschoolview.tv/.

SARA G 12/07/2010 08:32:09

Love this post - I have done exactly this thing! It's good to get some affirmation on my decision to back off on a few things. Thanks so much!

EDWIDGE S 12/07/2010 10:33:53

Haven't started homeschooling yet, but reading this is a great and friendly encouragment to me to "stop (the madness) before I start." (laughing) I was already starting to entertain the idea of music lessons on this day, horsebacking on that day, ballet on weekends, etc. I know, crazy, right? I'll not dismiss this lesson. Thanks! Kim K's comment is disappointing. It really does rattle me to see Christians be unkind to each other. Anyway ... blessed day to all of you!

NATASHA J 12/07/2010 11:12:13

Just what I needed to hear! I was dreading running out the door again, think we'll get back to the basics today instead. Sometimes I feel so pressured to make sure my kids do every activity available, that prayer has lifted my burden.Thanks!

PENNY H 12/07/2010 11:26:22

Thank you for today's comments and encouraging words. This is exactly where I've been lead myself. I just can't handle too many things at one time, especially as I get older! I appreciate knowing who writes these daily focus articles as well, and will most likely check out her blog. Thanks! Teresa O - I appreciate your humble sharing of how you are certified as a teacher and yet you also struggle. That means a lot to me to know this, because sometimes I think I would have been better qualified if I had been college-educated. Thanks again. God bless you!

KAHNA E 12/07/2010 12:05:50

To Kim K; we don't need any sarcastic remarks, just encouragement please----let your words be seasoned with love--- The Bible,(the Word). KJ

EDWIDGE S 12/07/2010 12:46:57

Ooops, I meant "horseback riding"-- sheesh! (laughing)

LINDSEY G 12/07/2011 04:37:36

Really appreciate today's devotional. Just this morning, I was praying about how I feel "maxed-out" as I try to give my children opportunities for friendship and activities, while also educating them, keeping up our home and preparing for Christmas. Even tho I feel like I can't do one more thing, I know my kids crave more time with friends. Their school friends are too busy/ exhausted from school and homework, but we don't have a strong "network" of homeschooling friends (we're relatively new to homeschooling, after 8 years in the school system). The Lord showed me that I'm trying to coordinate my kids' lives in my own strength. I can't be or provide everything they need...but He can. So I gave it all over to Him and asked Him to provide the immeasurably more than I could think or imagine. Waiting on Him to meet our family's needs.

AUDRA K 12/07/2011 04:44:04

Thank you for another great devotional. This is a message that I've been feeling and trying to apply to our lives. It is so freeing to say no with no guilt, because you are saying no with the right attitude and motive (putting the Lord's will and your family first).

HAN P 12/07/2011 06:24:45

Your sharing has encouraged me so much! I like the statement: we are not isolating. Many people don't understand what we are doing but God knows, we are equipping our children for God! We are doing what God wants us to do!!!

CHRISTINE M 12/07/2011 08:49:05

This is so true, and there is real freedom once we are balanced! I remember reading in Rick Warren\'s Purpose Driven Life that there is only just enough time to do what God has called us to do. If it\'s stressful, it\'s not God\'s will--even though it is a good thing to do. What a gift we can give our kids if we can teach them this concept.

RENEE S 12/07/2011 09:06:04

What a great reminder at this holiday season. There are so many great activities to be involved in but time with our family reflecting on God\'s amazing gift is the best!

VANESSA W 12/07/2011 13:03:02

We have found a way we can have our \"cake and eat it too.\" we have 2.5 days during the week we dedicate to extracurricular activities the rest is used for school and of course Saturday is Church/family day but for us seems just right. My kids enjoy their church time and their sewing and art. Violin was one they don\'t enjoy as much but we don\'t entertain the idea of \"quitting.\" we thank God for the flexibility of homeschooling. Although next year will be putting them in our private school. We miss it . Being on the school board and everyone there being like family to us-some are literally. I\'m thankful to be in Alaska to have so many options. Being in a private school we can still use state home school funds for computers and Activities!

DEBBIE C 12/07/2011 14:20:41

Debbie C I too struggle with trying to provide it all for my daughters. I sometimes wonder just how others are doing it when they maintain such an active life within different homeschool groups. My daughter struggles with this too as she often sees other girls her age going places and participating in lots of activities. I sometimes feel like I am depriving her from making friends and hurt to see other friends becoming stronger in their relationships together simply because they spend more time together. Lindsey G. I really appreciated what you said in that I can\'t supply all her needs but my Heavenly Father can. I need to find peace in knowing He is doing a great and mighty work with our family. Thanks for sharing everyone, my husband often says \"iron sharpens iron\" and I see this happening here.

LINDA C 12/08/2011 08:32:35

\"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.\" (Psalm 143:8) This is a beautiful and meaningful prayer with which to start the day, and one which God must delight to answer. It is very simple, with two requests and two declarations, yet it can reach the very heart of God. Because we trust implicitly in His Word, we hear Him speak through it, as we read it at the beginning of the day. And as we hear Him speak, we rejoice again in His lovingkindness, especially in saving our souls and guiding our ways. Then we are emboldened once again to lift up our very souls to Him (not just our voices!) and ask Him for clear guidance in the way in which we should walk today.

TRISTA J 12/14/2011 06:36:50

Linda C, that is lovely. I thank you. This is affirmation (although I am reading it 6 days later than the rest of you) of what I prayed about yesterday. I am planning the next term\'s extracurricular activities and I was feeling like I just couldn\'t fit all the activities the kids enjoy, and that I think they should do, into our budget or schedule. After some prayer I felt sure that the Lord had called me to homeschool so that we could lead simpler lives, not so we could be \"more\" than public school. Also so we could focus on having Godly character, rather than worldly knowledge. And most importantly, so that our steps may be led by purposes other than my own silly human ideas.

KATHY S 12/07/2012 07:45:15

You know this was a very good devotional as always. We have to balance Dr.\'s appt.\'s and Therapies with our homeschooling. That\'s hard enough. My son has Aspergers, so he has no desire to be involved in any sports or outside activities. He loves going to church, but won\'t go to the Youth group yet, and that;s o.k., whatever makes him conforatable. He talks to children from Cnada. US and Austrailia over the inetrnet while they play computor games, and becasue he doesn\'t have to be face to face, he sounds like a different child! He\'s fuill of life and excitement, and I\'m only a few feet a way so I can hear it all. I pray this ability to interact with others that he has via internet, to be with people that are with him face to face. Someday I just know God will give him this blessing. I do see my friends running around like crazy. swim practice 5 days a week after school, then all weekend swim meets. Cheerleading parctices and meets along with band, religious ed and Martial Arts. It\'s Insanity to me!! I guess God only gives each of us what we can handle, and in our case with my sons handi cap, homeschool, our daily lives and a friend coming over to play video games with him, is enough. Be Blessed!

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