Letter 22 Striving

With my youngest child approaching her final year of homeschooling, I find myself once again reflecting on my thoughts, attitudes, ideas and approaches of the past 20+ years of homeschooling, writing letters to my younger self.   I hope that these letters will also be an encouragement to you in your homeschooling journey. So, picking up from where I last left off, here’s the next letter in my “Letter To My Younger Self” series

Letter 22 ~ Striving

Dear younger Nadene,

Striving is defined as “an attempt, to compete, to contend, an endeavour, to exert, to fight, to struggle and toil and try.” 

Who would want any of this in your homeschooling?  Striving is exhausting and a very debilitating approach to homeschooling, parenting and life in general.

When you started your homeschooling, you had an idealistic school-at-home approach and you worked strictly according to the schedule and tried to meet other people’s standards.  This approach put unnecessary pressure on you and you inevitably ended up desperate and stressed.

Your own personal attempts to do-it-all and “get it right” caused you sleepless nights and butterflies in your stomach when things were new, or different, or when things were not meeting your expectations.  Your massive focus and grand efforts may have given you some success, but your striving negatively affected your children.  They picked up your stress like they picked up chickenpox!  This invisible tension oppressed your home and their learning.

You will know when you are striving — it will look like busyness and stress, sound like shouting & yelling.  It will be cajoling, urging, insisting, forcing, punishing, withdrawing, manipulating, dominating … or simply doing it in a life-draining way.  

Let me encourage you to let go of your ideals, lower your expectations and work according to your family’s own rhythm and lifestyle.  Most importantly, let go of the timetable on the schedule and use it as your guideline or even as just a suggestion.  Add more time to your schedule — 6 months more time at least! 

You will never fall behind!  Not ever!  Not even when your kids miss a couple of days every week, or are sick, or when you go travelling around the country for 18 months.  Not even when your highschooler drops subjects or gives up a curriculum halfway through her Grade 10 course.  You will not even fall behind when you start a new family business and your days are interrupted dozens of times.  Relax, darling.  It will all work out in the end.

If you feel helpless, afraid or stressed about a child, or a curriculum, or a disciplinary or character issue, step back and press pause and be curious.  Be compassionate.  Ask yourself and the Lord. “What is the most loving way we can do this?”  and then be still and listen to the still, small voice in your heart.  Follow your heart. Please follow your heart.

Be kind to yourself and extend grace to yourself.  You will figure this out and you will eventually have lovely days of happy homeschooling.  It will turn out fine, trust me.

With gracious, compassionate love from your older self, Love Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please, would you share yours in the comments?

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

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14 thoughts on “Letter 22 Striving

  1. Pingback: Letter 26 – True Skills | Practical Pages

  2. Pingback: Letter 25 – Change | Practical Pages

  3. I have GREATLY enjoyed your blog for homeschooling ideas and creativity, now I’m so blessed by these letters to your younger self. They are so encouraging and they point me to God which is always the right direction. Thank you so much for sharing these authentic notes that remind us we don’t need to be perfect to do this. Blessings!


    • Thank you so much for your encouraging feedback, @Billie. I am so thankful that my letters are a source of comfort, encouragement and grace to you. We don’t need to be perfect — what a wonderful release! Blessings to you!


  4. Pingback: Letter 24 – Failure | Practical Pages

  5. You have a way of bringing a lump to my throat most times I read your blog posts. Particularly these letters to your younger self!!! Oh my goodness – how we need to grow up in a village with older woman to speak such kind words of encouragement as we all set out trying to do our very best. I only homeschooled for 2 years while we were in a remote area in Namibia, but now my kids are back in mainstream school I still love reading your letters and drawing on your family wisdom. The pictures of your family are beautiful, they speak such hope to my heart! Thank you Nadene.


    • @Wild Way of Wonder, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I am so grateful that my blog posts are an encouragement to you. I, too, have always looked for mentors and older and wiser mothers to lead and guide me in my homeschooling and parenting. Blessings to you in your current season of life, Nadene


  6. Pingback: Letter 23 – Fears | Practical Pages

  7. Thank You!!! All the way from Austin, TX. I’ve followed you for awhile now & you’ve been a blessing to my homeschool momma’s heart. Alissa Owen

    Sent from my iPhone



    • You made me cry with these beautiful words! Will hold on to them as I hold on to Abba Father’s grace with this homeschool journey. I am still at the beginning stages- very daunting at times- and can testify of how striving steals the joy from the great gift of being able to homeschool my 3 girls…
      Thank you so much…al the way from South Africa…


      • @Driekie, thank you so much for sharing. We all need grace, but especially when starting out on such an enormous journey! Blessings and much joy for you for your family, from the Klein Karoo!


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