It’s no secret that homeschooling involves lots of spinning plates, wearing different hats, and juggling. Whatever you want to call it, there’s a daily balancing act that happens for homeschool families. We all have to learn how to manage our homes and families amidst the lesson plans, but it doesn’t end there. We also have to work hard at keeping balance between homeschool and church life.
Here’s the problem with church: there’s a lot of good stuff happening. Lots of it. There are weekly worship services and small groups to attend, classes to teach, babies to rock, songs to lead, you name it. Then there are good things that aren’t happening weekly, but are important ways to serve nonetheless. Those might be cooking and delivering meals, serving in special events or services, or helping on committees.
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All of these things have a place in the life of a church, but they don’t all need to have a place in your life. As a homeschool parent, you’ve already got plenty of plates spinning. You’ve got to add extra church-related plates carefully, otherwise you’ll lose the balance between homeschool and church and end up overwhelmed and ineffective in both places.
Maybe it’s the minister’s wife in me coming out, but I know all of this and yet still fight the urge to attend everything available and say yes to every opportunity to serve. Here are the things I remind myself when those temptations arise:
3 Tips for Keeping the Balance
Between Homeschool and Church
Tip 1: Remember That Your
Ministry at Home Comes First
Don’t think for a second that homeschooling isn’t ministry, because it is in every way possible. You’re not just teaching your children each day, you’re guiding them, serving them, and modeling how to walk with God all day, every day. If that’s not ministry, then what is?
Don’t ever feel like what you’re doing isn’t kingdom work. Your ministry of homeschooling is something to be celebrated and valued. There will be some seasons that allow you to serve outside your home, but there will be some seasons where your ministry is homeschooling and homeschooling alone. Either way, it’s okay. Really, it is.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you have to do more and be more in order to walk with God and serve Him. If homeschooling is all He’s called you to do, then you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. Don’t add church-related roles or positions unless you’re called to them.
Tip 2: Guard Your Time
You may not have experienced this in your homeschooling journey, but I sometimes deal with the misconception that homeschool parents are less-busy than parents who choose other schooling options. Because of that, I get asked to give more of my time than I would ever be able to give.
Fellow church members usually mean well, but if they’re asking you to do things in the middle of your homeschool day, they probably don’t understand what homeschooling requires of you and your family. Don’t say yes unless you honestly have time to give. (Side note: be open about what homeschooling looks like for your family… they’ll never understand unless you tell them!)
Also, adding more to your schedule needs to happen with great consideration. A “yes” shouldn’t be automatic. This applies to scheduling for your kids as well.
Margaret Feinberg writes about establishing boundaries in Wonderstruck:
I gauged potential participation in everyday activities with the knowledge that every yes costs me three nos. My daily decisions soon became more thoughtful, intentional, and prayerful. I wasn’t just giving myself; I was giving my best self to my relationships and my work.”
Serious business, that can and should be applied to church commitments. When you say yes to something for you or your family, consider what you’ll need to say no to in order to carry through with your yes. What a great way to ensure balance between homeschooling and church!
Tip 3: Know Your Gifts & Let Others Use Theirs
When it comes to balancing homeschool and church, this is perhaps the one I struggle with the most. Being married to a pastor all these years has molded me into a Jill of all trades. Therefore, if I’m capable of doing something in the church, I often feel obligated to serve even when I’m not gifted, called, or passionate about it. (It’s important to note here that being capable and gifted aren’t the same thing!)
There are three problems with that Martha-like approach to serving in your church:
- You’ll get overwhelmed and burned-out. If you’re gifted in an area and not just capable, chances are you’re passionate about it. Your passion won’t cause burnout. Instead, serving in this way will be encouraging and life-giving to those you serve.
- You’ll be ineffective. Maybe not instantly, but it will come eventually. After all, you can only be so encouraging and helpful while you’re merely filling a void.
- You’ll keep someone else from finding his or her sweet spot in the church. If your church honestly has a need for a specific ministry, then someone is called to serve that way. That someone isn’t always you. When you say yes out of guilt, obligation, or sheer need alone, you’re not giving your best. Save that opportunity to serve for the people who are called to it.
Serve where you’re called and gifted and let others handle the rest. That’s a surefire way to keep the balance between homeschool and church life!
Ultimately, the secret to balancing homeschooling and church is creating healthy boundaries for your family and honoring them. If you value your time and your gifts, everyone else will too.
What about you? Do you have tips for maintaining balance between homeschooling and church? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Looking for more help with managing it all? There are more conversations happening about balance and homeschooling. Stop by iHomeschool Network’s Balancing Your Life and Homeschool Linkup and take a look!