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Hard Decisions

Tears welled up as I left my little boy at the door of his first grade classroom. He was proud and excited to be there.

My heart was crushed.

We were supposed to homeschool this year. I’ve spent months researching philosophies and curriculum. We’ve carved out space in our house for a school room and have decked it out with supplies, maps and boards. Chris made a built-in desk that runs along the wall. We prayed over our space and our homeschooling time. We purchased our books and curriculum. In July we had our first day of school, filled with baskets of goodies for our homeschool year.

Yet, something has just not sit right with it all. It’s not because getting into a new routine is hard, or trying to manage the little ones while we try to do school. I knew it would be hard. There has just been something unsettling about it. That unsettling feeling which the Lord usually uses to tell me something is not where it should be. God has led both Chris and I towards the realization that this is not where we need to be, at least for now.

This has been a hard pill to swallow.

Most of my closest friends, including my sister, homeschool. They love it. I long for what they have. But, it is just not right for us.

I long to be with my children, to train them up into the knowledge of Jesus and all He has done for them. I want to be their main influencer. I want our family to spend good, quality time together. I want to take them on fun field trips and do experiments together. I want to live life beside them and show them how to walk with God.

Yet, I know I can still do these things, whether or not we homeschool. I can have “Bible class” and read them all the fun books we had planned. We can still go on nature walks and field trips. I can still be a part of Kenneth’s days through volunteering in his class regularly. I can and will continue to teach them about Jesus and model to them the best I can how to walk with the Lord.

Ok, so I am just giving myself a pep-talk right now, thanks for sitting in on my self-dialogue. I am sad. But, I know that God’s will is always best. I am fighting all the mommy guilt that comes along with this decision. I am fighting the “What are people going to think about me, since I keep changing my mind?” that echoes through my head. But, I know it is all a lie. Psalm 143 continues to be the comfort and truth I need.

So, I say goodbye, for now, to homeschooling. Trusting that the Lord had His perfect plan in leading us in every step we took this spring and summer towards homeschooling. And knowing that He has good plans for us ahead, especially as we choose to walk in obedience to His will, regardless of how I feel about it.

How have you navigated through tough decisions? What truth do you cling to as you battle mommy-guilt?

42 replies
  1. Karen
    Karen says:

    How strong you are? I have waited for this moment and so glad after 4 years God spoke to my husband and we are now in agreement. My daughter was in public school thru 3rd gr and my son thru Kindergarten. I completely understand your sadness but you are so strong because you let God make the decision and you followed. I am not sure I could do that if he spoke differently to us. God bless you and you give me so much inspiration. I will be praying for you and your little boy and if this is what God wants then there must be a very good reason!!!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Karen.
      God’s will is always best, even if it is hard.

      So, you guys are homeschooling now?! How fun. How is the school year going so far?

      Reply
  2. Marlie
    Marlie says:

    I can identify with the “mommy guilt” you have described. I have felt the same way in our decision for me to stay home with kids instead of pursuing a career. I have struggled with the feeling that I’ve given up everything to be at home with our children, but now I know that we made the right decision. My husband is currently deployed, and now more that ever, I realize how much better our lives are because of our decision.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks for sharing, Marlie. I know it must be hard to be on your own for so long. Thankful for His provision for you, in preparing you for your husband’s deployment!

      Reply
  3. Nina
    Nina says:

    Katie,
    Thanks for sharing with us your struggle and decision. Sometimes I find myself not willing to share a “change of plans” for fear of what others may think of me. But I have found over the years that it does not matter what people think, only what God thinks about our own obedience in the hard stuff life brings to us. I am praying for you as you transition back to public school and the heart struggle you feel of wanting what you think is best and giving over your will for what God says is right for the time. Love you friend.
    Nina

    Reply
  4. Racheal
    Racheal says:

    I love the space you guys made!!! Maybe y’all need to come to my house and set things up! 😉 As always, love you and praying for you!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks! We didn’t have much space to work with, so we had to get creative. It’s just a thrift shop desk we painted, then bought a plank to go on top and secured it to the wall. We probably never would have done it if we didn’t think we would be HSing, and I am so glad that we have it. It is going to be a great homework spot! The kids love having all their supplies in one place. (And I like them out of sight!)

      Reply
  5. Donna
    Donna says:

    Katie – as you continue to teach Kenneth at home – think of the marvelous influence he can be to those children he is at school with. Hearing NO from God is never easy, and I will be praying for you as you tackle the challenge of a volunteer mom in his classroom.

    Thanks for being so transparent and sharing your heart. It is encouraging to others who are waiting for a yes or no. God is so faithful, I know Kenneth will do well in public school this year.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thank you, Donna. I appreciate you encouragement and prayers. He is faithful, and I trust that Kenneth is exactly where he needs to be.

      Reply
  6. Flamingo
    Flamingo says:

    oh wow! that is hard! today is my 1st day of homeschooling. My son is in 4th grade. Each year we considered it. Last year I really wanted to. However, it was not God’s timing yet. This year we will have 3 in public school (2 in K and 1 in 2nd). I wish in a way they were all home. However, the only thing that I have peace about is that he wants my oldest home. SO you have NOOO idea about the future. My son did fantastic in school until 3rd grade. I would pray every year that God would make it clear if he were to come home. He made it VERY clear last year. So here we are after 5 years of prayers:) It’s not your forever.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      A great story, thanks for sharing. I know that it isn’t a permanent no. We will continue to hold it all with an open hand each year and see where He leads.

      Thanks for your encouragement! Hope your first week goes great!

      Reply
  7. Lara
    Lara says:

    Oh girlfriend, I know the struggle well. You do what He is leading you to do. Your eyes and heart are turned towards Him. He. will. bless. Much love to you, sweet friend.

    Reply
  8. KellySinging
    KellySinging says:

    You’ve probably already thought of this, but perhaps you will be ministering to someone at the school when you volunteer. Praising God for His will & praying for you. 🙂

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Absolutely. There is much to be excited about him being in public school. One of the biggest potential drawbacks of homeschooling (in my opinion) is the lack of interaction with other kids, specifically those who do not go to church and who need Jesus. Kenneth and I had so many conversations last year about how not everyone knows and believes in Jesus, and about their need for Him. I pray God will use my little missionary to bring glory to God in his little corner of “the world”.

      Thanks, Kelly.

      Reply
  9. Rusheika (IslandMamasAdv)
    Rusheika (IslandMamasAdv) says:

    oh wow! Continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you have. He will not steer you wrong. I struggle too, sometimes I think the kids should be at school and I suffer from the guilt of “are there opportunities they are missing out on?” then my husband reminds me to go back to God and ask him to confirm in my heart that this is where we should be. He hasn’t failed me and he won’t fail you! It looks different for all because he has a unique plan for each of us. I will pray for peace for you my friend 🙂

    Reply
  10. Rebekah
    Rebekah says:

    We just went through the same thing in our house. We planned to home school along with a hand full of my friends and their kids. A week after we started I found my self at my kid’s school, enrolling them. It wasn’t that home schooling was too much, it’s like you said, it just didn’t feel right… For us… In this time. Thank you for the article!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks for reading, Rebekah. I’m sure that was hard, especially going into things with a group of friends! I guess sometimes we have to step into things to know for sure it is not for us, for this time. Thankful that He is in control!

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  11. Our Family for His Glory
    Our Family for His Glory says:

    Oh Katie, what a blessing to read of your obedience to God- even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it hurts! Your words are always such an encouragement to me. You are leading your family to Christ through your obedience to Him! And that is the best place to be!
    Jessica

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thank you, Jessica I appreciate your encouragement! Still hope to use some of our Little Hearts for His Glory in the afternoons!

      Reply
  12. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    I think its great you listened to God and did what He directed. I wish I could homeschool, but I’m a single mom and work full time and I’m also not sure I have what it takes. I admire mom’s who can stay at home and homeschool and are obedient and disciplined about it all. Thanks for sharing your heart. Have a blessed day!
    Dawn

    Reply
  13. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    I have those feelings, those that come to me & tell me how my life could be, if only I would have home schooled. It is hard. I just started nursing school, and have been in college for the past 2 years just leading up to nursing school. I know God’s hand is in this. I know He has called me to be a nurse. But, my little boy started 1st grade too this year, and cried the first week, so heartbreakingly, how he didn’t like school. Nit crushed me, and the enemy had a field day with me. Before I started nursing school, I met Jim at school nearly every day to have lunch with him. I met with his teacher, and even the assistant principal. I did all I could to make him happy & comfortable. And he has adjusted well, is happy and doing great.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks to you, for sharing, as well! It is crazy how we all listen to lies so easily. I think I don’t realize it half the time, until it gets to me.

      Glad to hear Jim is enjoying school now!

      Reply
  14. Susan Pauling
    Susan Pauling says:

    We had a similar experience with our oldest son. We were on the fence between homeschooling and a private Christian school. After a meeting with the principle and vice principle at the public school, we felt God directing us to place him back in public school. We want our children to be perfectly placed in the loving arms of Jesus…and sometimes that means following the Lord’s leading to uncomfortable places.
    Have a great year! This is just as much about our growth as mothers as it is about our sons growing up to be the men God desires them to be.
    Boys are amazing 🙂

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      “This is just as much about our growth as mothers as it is about our sons growing up to be the men God desires them to be.”

      Yes it is, and part of the reason why we decided to not HS. It would not have been a good thing for me. What is best for both of us right now is for him to be in school. Hard to admit, though.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  15. Amy
    Amy says:

    I just started homeschooling a pre schooler but I have no idea what the future holds. I like what was said in comments about him getting to be a little missionary. I will pray for him and other Chrisitian kids to be a good influence, instead of just worrying about kids picking up bad influences maybe they will pick up the good as well. Just stopped by from the Relevant link up.

    Reply
  16. Heathahlee
    Heathahlee says:

    What I have learned over the past few months is that God doesn’t waste anything. Whatever He wants for you right now He will use for his glory. We want to see the big picture, but that’s not our job. As much as we want it to be. 🙂

    Thank you for your comment on my Relevant post. So sorry I’m just now getting by to say hello! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    We had a similar experience also. We were on the fence the year that he was to go into K and just knew that we were to homeschool our oldest of 3 sons. 3/4 of the year was great! But I also have a dayhome with 2 other kids. 5 kids under 5 plus homeschooling proved to be too much for me. We placed him into Montessori for the last 3 months of school. He thrived, soaking up every minute of it. Now we are at the end of a fantastic summer all together and I’m preparing my heart to send him off for grade 1. My desire is for him to still be at home. But I know that it isn’t about my desire right now, this is what we are called to and I need to be obedient. It isn’t easy but no one ever said that this Mom thing would be easy! Be blessed and enjoy every minute that you have with them, I know I will be 🙂

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Mandy! One positive for me, is that I will be more intentional with the time I have with him! How have you liked the Montessori school? Will your son be going there again this year?

      Reply
      • Mandy
        Mandy says:

        Today was the first day of school for him, back at the Montessori. I can not say enough good things about this program. He is a logical literal scientific kid and it just fits with him. It was a perfect hybrid between homeschooling and a standard program for us, made the transition so much easier. I was a mess today again though, he was up dressed and tried to make a pb&j sandwich for his lunch, plus had all the supplies laid out for pancakes 😉 They are so much more resilient than we are, I need to be more like them in my faith and trust, just to roll with it…

        Reply
  18. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Its so hard when life doesn’t go as planned. I struggled with mommy guilt for months when I had to give up staying home with my boys and become a working mom. I struggle with guilt now that I’m going to college to become a dental hygienist. Even though I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I’m right where God wants me, guilt creeps in. I’m hanging onto Psalm 143 with you!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Mommy-guilt…it is paralyzing, isn’t it?! Honored to “struggle” alongside of you and memorize Psalm 143 with you!

      Reply
  19. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    Just last night, I sadly and stubbornly argued once again with my husband that we should homeschool. And once again, he told me why he thought public school was right for our daughter. In our conversation, I realized, (I’m sure the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart), that (1) I was not trusting God to take care of my sweet 5 year old, and (2) I was not being submissive to my husband but harboring bitterness and anger. What a tough night for this Mommy who thought I wanted only what was best. But God reminded me that He is best and my ways are not His ways, and also, I can love my child deeply and nourish her richly and teach her wonderful things when she is home, and of course pray for her fervently while she is at school.
    Thank you for your honest post. I am very encouraged by it.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart, Mandy!

      “But God reminded me that He is best and my ways are not His ways…” I’m there with you! Thankful for his grace…

      Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Becky, thank you for sharing this link. I am sad it has taken me this long to look at it!!

      The book looks great. Looking forward to getting my own copy to read.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  20. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you for your honesty here. I was wondering how things are going? Are you happy with the decision you made? I’m currently homeschooling, but I go back and forth about it quite a bit. Thanks 🙂

    Catherine

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Hi Catherine, thanks for asking.

      Yes, we are happy with the decision. There are still things a “grieve” a bit, but it is evident everyday that this was the best decision!

      I think a big part of the struggle, for me, was I knew that God was calling us away from it, but I felt as is homeschooling was the “higher calling”. So, if I don’t homeschool then I am not as good of a Christian.

      Of course, I would never tell myself or anyone else that, but I am realizing that somewhere in my heart I believed that. So, not be able to homeschool felt as if I was not good enough. Not a good enough mom, and not a good enough Christian mom.

      He has been gracious to speak truth to my heart, and I feel more and more confident in His calling for me to be right where we are.

      Thanks for commenting, Catherine!

      Reply
  21. Kara @ The Chuppies
    Kara @ The Chuppies says:

    As far as big-decisions–

    I try to differentiate between false-guilt, because I’m not measuring up to the standards of others…or genuine guilt because I’m not measuring up to the standards of God.
    It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference.

    Beyond that, I just really trust that if He hasn’t made something crystal clear in Scripture, my husband and I need to get wise counsel and then trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    But in that, my heart needs to genuinely be open to conviction…I’m aware that I’m good at self-deception.

    When it comes to education decisions–we try to go in with eyes-wide-open and we almost-yearly work our way through a list of 25 questions, trying to be honest in our evaluation about all the factors that come into play with all the different options (factors that are different for each family).

    http://www.thebettermom.com/2012/02/25-questions-to-ask-about-school-options/#comments

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Great wisdom, here, Kara. It is hard to differentiate from the two types of guilt, isn’t it? So thankful for His Spirit who is faithful to guide.

      “I just really trust that if He hasn’t made something crystal clear in Scripture, my husband and I need to get wise counsel and then trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

      Yes! I fully agree with you. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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