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How Do Homeschool Parents Find Rest?

Got Sleep?

Are you as a homeschool parent tired? Are you mentally, physically, or spiritually tired? 

There is no off button when it comes to being a parent, and when it comes to homeschoolers it is even more true that you may feel you can never take a break. So, in order for excellent home-based education to be possible there has to be a place for rest and refreshment. 

I think times of refreshment come in seasons. It could be a family vacation, a spiritual retreat, or just a coffee date out and words of encouragement from a friend. But rest has to be plugged in as an ongoing part of our lifestyle if we are going to feel our best and give our best. 

This theme has been coming up in discussions I’ve been having more and more lately and I realize how hard it can seem for parents to find rest. It is so easy to chip away from our own sleep schedule and then enter the next day more fatigued than the one before. The Bible says so much about rest, starting right in the beginning of Genesis, when God rested from his labor and built Sabbath right into the fabric of creation. Today, however, I’d like to focus one passage in particular:

Psalm 4:8 says,

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” 

I’m sure we have all gone down to sleep at one point but found no rest. The Psalm describes a type of rest that is accompanied with peace. I think we all know that the state of our minds directly affects the quality of our sleep. So peace is an important part of finding rest.

True peace starts with the knowledge of God, hope in salvation with Christ, and trusting in God’s goodness and sovereignty to have us under the wings of his care. When it comes to creating peace in our homes though, I believe this usually means relinquishing control to God. There are few things more stressful and less peaceful than bearing the responsibility to control someone else—especially since, despite our best efforts, we can barely control ourselves. So trying to apply control over our children will only lead to frustration and fatigue. We can direct our children, but we cannot truly control them, and when they act out it is not necessarily pointing to our failures as parents or their separation from God. 

Kids act out for a lot of reasons, but we can be encouraged to know they ultimately desire to please their trusted authority (hopefully that includes God and their parents). Knowing that our kids want to please us can be a lot of pressure, but it can also bring a lot of peace to Christian parents. The parent’s duty is to guide, direct, and protect their children, it is not to bear responsibility for every time they err—which will be often.

Don’t be a Dictator

I encourage parents to avoid the temptation to be dictators in their households, just as God does not take that approach in our lives (even though he could). Instead he takes the path of the Good Shepherd. He is our Protector, Comforter, and Guide. He does not prevent us from wandering, but instead redirects us when we do, and leads by paths of still waters. This is, I believe, the most beautiful and restful approach for parents to model to their children. Even when they wander, to simply redirect them, in love, to a place of safety and rest.

Instill Restful Habits

With the burden of control removed parents can instead retrain their focus toward creating peace in their home. Guiding rather than controlling means modeling peace and rest. And this can be done by putting simple habits in place. Build rest into your schedule. Don’t be hurried, but allow time between transitions. Celebrate accomplishments with breaks. And find the balance between encouraging trying and relaxing expectations when children seem anxious or unready. 

These are simple tweaks but they hint at the idea of bringing order into the day, rather than

allowing the demands of the day to take control over you. Parenting is hard. Homeschooling is hard. But like every worthwhile thing, they are an investment in a promised future that comes through worthwhile effort. My hope is that parents see that much of what makes our labors at home difficult and exhausting is often self-inflicted. With a change in expectations and mindset, a peaceful home and a peaceful homeschool are possible. 

I pray each of you finds rest this week, and I would love to hear from you about this important topic and practical ways that we can achieve it in our homes, schedules, and homeschooling efforts.

For those who have realized their need for help starting, or who are looking for encouragement and support as they discover their best home education experience, I would love to invite you to reach out and see what the Homeschool Mastery Group can do for you.  


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