Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - July/August
The Moore Foundation,
Box 1, Camas,
Do You Sometimes Feel Like Giving Up?
by Dorothy Moore
Are you exhausted, harassed, stressed and discouraged? Do homeschool success stories
depress you? Do you feel like a total failure? Are you having difficulties with organization
or discipline? Do you wonder why you ever embarked on this experiment in the first place? These
are only a few of the challenges faced by homeschooling moms. You are not alone. It happens
to someone somewhere almost every day and is bound to happen to you once in a while. What causes
this anyway? Why can't things just go smoothly every day? Almost every success story started
this way, but moms just "hung in there" and found ways to resolve their problems.
In the first place, Satan and his helpers work very hard to create obstacles in
anything that has the potential to unify families and build great character in your children
as homeschooling does. So he uses every trick he can invent to destroy your motivation and
success. And he has plenty.
A certain advertising flyer from a sewing machine company was mailed to everyone
in the area. Its special offer stated "We will oil and adjust the tension in your home
for one dollar." This would indeed be a bargain if the problems of the home could be worked
out so easily. But how should one start to solve the everyday frustrations experienced by almost
SET PRIORITIES. Those of you who are Christians know you need God's help to bring
up godly children in an ungodly world, so your first priority is to align yourself with God
in the morning. Many Christians can testify of the importance of this first step. "Casting
all your care upon Him" is a no-fail solution. It can help you eliminate fear of failure,
financial troubles, sickness or death. Within that framework it will help you have respect
for yourself as well as others.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You can't give to others if you yourself are worried, tired
or not in good health. Dr. Hans Selje, the world's authority on stress, says that each person
was born with a quota of life energy which is yours to spend at any rate you choose, sort of
like a bank account. In fact, the inference is that if you deposit good health and exercise,
it can help you to build a nice reserve in your "stress bank." But if you have to
exert willpower to keep going, you are drawing from those reserves in your stress bank.
Don't schedule yourself or your children too tightly. Are you running a virtual
taxi service meeting appointments?
Make some time each day for you to relax perhaps after lunch when everyone,
children included, have a quiet time where the little ones sleep and the older ones do something
that is quiet but they do not talk to each other. Everyone needs some solitude. You might even
have a nap. Exercise is a stress-relieving activity, whether just walking, swimming or doing
some useful physical work, like gardening or stacking wood.
I don't know of anything which is more common for homeschooling moms than cutting
sleep nor of anything which can cause more havoc. Sleeptime is the time to recharge your battery
and you need a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. In fact, if you want to get the maximum
energy, try to get three hours sleep before midnight which, according to the world's leading
authority on circadian rhythms, is worth two to three times as much in quality sleep as the
hours after midnight. Then, you can start the day, not with an alarm clock, but with your inner
clock which you have programmed for 8 hours of sleep 5:00 a.m., plenty of time
for your special time with the Lord, or whatever is on your agenda.
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE. Adjust your expectations to reduce stress. Prepare easy meals,
not with junk food, but with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Have the children help to
prepare them. Children often like raw vegetables better than cooked and the latest nutrition
information indicates that we need to eat a much larger percentage of our food raw. Tire out
the children with work and exercise, so they will be ready for bed early. Then get to bed early
yourself. Be sure you train your family team, so that the majority of the housework and home
chores are done by them. Training means teaching, as well as following through to see they
do it and do it well. If they are too young, just hit the high spots in house-cleaning, but
take the time to teach them to work as soon as they can walk. When those bad times come, forget
your regular routine and all of you go to the library for a couple of hours or sit on the floor
with the children and read, read, read. Take a brisk walk with the kids, play in the yard with
them or do calisthenics inside if the weather is bad. Take 10 deep breaths.
Track your monthly cycle and mood swings on a calendar to see if it has any significance
in this problem. If these situations come on any regular basis, arrange to take a day off by
trading off with another parent, send children to grandma's, get dad to take over or plan ahead
for a relaxed day.
DETERMINE NOT TO COMPETE WITH ANYONE. Paul says that "comparing ourselves among
ourselves is not wise," but it's tempting to notice that Jennifer's son who is the same
as age yours is reading third grade material with no problem and yours is not reading at all.
Or your friends are all using formal school-type books and you're sure they're going to succeed
better than you. Yet you know that your children do not respond to that method.
If that ugly test requirement of your state is hanging over your head, do as we
counseled our daughter when their family was in Virginia. Their son was not ready for the test
until age 10, but either a test or an evaluation was required after age 7. She was able to
demonstrate through photos of field trips, a list of books read to the children, math papers
done, stories that they had dictated to her, etc. that learning was taking place. She was able
to postpone the test until he was 10, at which time the "reading-light" had come
on. She used the Scoring High practice tests to get him used to the form and sent him to the
school. We said, "If you don't worry, neither will he." He achieved a 98 percentile
Or perhaps it is your own perfectionism the urge to get "everything"
done that should be done and not leaving anything undone. No time for yourself or your needs.
If you must compete, compete with yourself by doing better than you did yesterday.
GET A GOOD BOOK ON DISCIPLINE AND ORGANIZATION. These are areas in which you can
improve. We suggest Bonnie's Household Organizer and Home Built Discipline. Start with one
thing at a time and be consistent.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR PHILOSOPHY. Is there anyone who loves or understands your children
as much as you do? What about your values versus the ones they would learn from their peers
at school? Have you thought about the alternatives and the effect on your children? Then thank
God for giving you the challenge of bringing up your children in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord.
One day a homeschooling mom and her two young boys were shopping for groceries on
their way home from a field trip. They were hot, tired and hungry and mom was having a hard
time with their teasing each other and interfering rather than helping with her shopping. She
had been a highly-paid attorney, but you could not tell by looking at her that she had been
anything but a frustrated mom. As she was trying to cope with the situation, another shopper
passed by. She was an attractive, well-dressed obviously professional woman. She smiled and
asked, "Are you homeschoolers?" When they answered in the affirmative, she said,
"That's great! My sister is homeschooling her children. You kids are very lucky boys."
Yes, your children are greatly blessed and you are, too, even though they do not
realize it yet. Perhaps you do not either, but I can assure you that if you can hang in there,
you will be glad you did.