Enhanced – read by the author

Real Life Homeschooling
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Ashley Wiggers

But I Wanted it to Be Perfect

You know how there are all these memes nowadays about what we imagine something will be like versus the reality? They make us laugh out loud every time because it’s so true. Or maybe that’s just me.

What we imagine our homeschooling life to be like versus the reality…

I didn’t imagine that my kids wouldn’t want to do the many things I come up with and suggest. I guess I just thought, you know, they’d go along with me and be as excited as I was? It’s okay, you can smirk.

There are pictures out there of kids in cute little outfits doing schoolwork in their “schoolroom” seemingly designed by Joanna Gaines herself and I’m thinking, I was feeling really good about the fact that my son didn’t pee his pants tod… never mind. There’s always tomorrow.

a father stands outside with his young son, the son wraps his arm around the fathers leg; a yound boy plays with containers filled with beach sand and rocks; close view of a bucket of crayons next to a pile of legos, a stuffed animal and a sketchbook
Real life is so much messier than we think it will be. And there are so many more dishes and loads of laundry… There’s also quite a few more days when you just end up barely making it to bed. Or the thing you can look back on and be excited about is the fact you didn’t lose your temper. At least not too much anyway.

Since my husband and I were both homeschooled, we get to answer a lot of questions about our experiences. Most homeschooling parents want to know whether or not we felt like it was a good choice. Did we feel prepared for life?

The answer is yes! We are both so grateful for how we were raised. Was it perfect? No. Would we change being homeschooled? Absolutely not! Because what we gained far outweighs anything else.

“God’s plans weave together our strengths and our weaknesses into the most amazing stories. His story unfolding in our lives will include the ups and the downs because we learn from both.”
My mom was an incredible teacher. She loved us fiercely. My identity as a wanted, loved, and cherished human was well established. She was also a terrible cook. Sure, there are some things I wish she could have taught me in that regard to set me up for the future. I bet she languished over the fact that she wasn’t able to pass on skills in the kitchen like other moms. Here’s the thing she couldn’t have foreseen: my husband loves to cook and makes most of the meals in our home. God’s plans tend to make up for our lack, don’t they?

You and I can’t be everything our kids need and that’s okay. God’s plans weave together our strengths and our weaknesses into the most amazing stories. His story unfolding in our lives will include the ups and the downs because we learn from both.

Your goal is not to be the perfect mom with a perfect house and perfect children. Our kids will make mistakes and so will we. It’s vital that we let go of this idea of perfect. God never expected that from us. Let’s break free from the fear that we will miss something and won’t get it all right. Because it’s true!!!

What a comfort to know God has gone before us and has a plan in place to fill in gaps and turn things around for good. He’s the reason we can let go of perfection. Because we can trust Him to take what we give and make it into something beautiful. That’s what I see when I look back on my homeschooling experience. It wasn’t perfect, but it was beautiful.

Ashley Wiggers smiles in a family picture with her husband, two sons and daughter, a city skyline in the background; a young boy sits with his arm around a toddler aged girl, both look at each other; two children play with chalk on a asphalt

We’re not after pictures of neat little schoolrooms and cute outfits.

We’re after something far more important. We’re doing our best to give what we can, teach what we can, and instill what we can so that the small, messy, whiney, sweet, and needy people in our lives grow into the men and women God created them to be.

We are aiming at the heart, ours and theirs.
So things will get messy. There will be spills and rolled eyes. Laundry will pile up some days. Doors will be slammed in anger, and the smell coming from a sink full of dishes that have been sitting too long will cause you to get queasy now and again. You’re going to need to find a place of solitude so you can cover your mouth and scream on occasion.

There will also be spontaneous “I love you’s” and treasured morning snuggles. You’ll laugh so hard it hurts and get to watch your children’s eyes light up when they have an “aha” moment. Tears will well up when one sibling unexpectedly does something for another. There’s nothing quite like the challenges and joys of everyday life that band you together as a family.

This is real life.

This is the life we choose, and it’s worth it.

Because wrapped up in all of these things are the things that really matter. No, we won’t do this as well as we’d like to imagine, but we will give it our best. We will trust God and embrace the chaos of a life devoted to family.

We let go of the results and hand them over to
the One who’s got this. He’s got you!

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shley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker, and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, public relations director for Geography Matters, and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Lutz, FL, with her supportive father, Greg, her loving husband, Alex, their precious sons, Lincoln and Jackson, along with their newest blessing, baby Ruby.