Enhanced – read by the author
Mom to Mom with Durenda Wilson typography
Finding Joy in the Journey
“Mom, we haven’t done any science today,”
the kids commented.
“Oh… that’s right. Well… when you take
out the trash, notice the trees!”
Mom replied.
When discussing the different types of homeschooling moms, my seven adult kids jokingly tell me that this is the kind of homeschool mom I am—completely relaxed.

I think they are being a bit dramatic, but the fact that I have become less and less uptight about our homeschooling as the years have passed is absolutely true.

When I realized and truly embraced the fact that our family was unique and that our homeschooling didn’t need to look like anyone else’s, I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief.

This wasn’t a one-time event. I had to remind myself of this each time I started to feel unnecessary pressure to do things that were not a good fit for my family or for me. How did I know they weren’t a good fit? When I could see the joy that was characteristic of our family began to disappear. The smiles and laughter were overshadowed by a sense of heaviness.

Every mom wants to do right by her kids and I was no different. Sometimes, though, in our effort toward excellence, we sacrifice the gift of a light heart—one that is fun-loving and engaged, one that invites our kids into relationship and real connection.

God has created four seasons, and summer gives us a particularly unique opportunity to connect with our kids around more lighthearted activities. Even if you school year-round as we did, the summer routine is likely less academic and the perfect chance to lighten up and have more fun homeschooling.

I want to share with you a few things to keep in the forefront of your mind as you enjoy this summer season with your kids, but they are also great to remember when we head into the next school year.

“In our effort to give our kids a robust education, it can be easy to take ourselves, our kids, and our homeschooling way too seriously.”
Keep your sense of humor. I remember when our oldest was a toddler and our second was an infant. We were getting ready to leave the house. I had the baby in her car seat carrier and was busy getting myself ready. Unbeknownst to me, the toddler had an impulse for artistic expression. When I went to gather the kids to leave, I discovered that she had taken a permanent marker and drawn all over her baby sister’s face. Being a fairly new mom, I was upset and called my husband. As I told him the story, he began laughing hysterically. Only at that moment did I realize how funny it really was!

In our effort to give our kids a robust education, it can be easy to take ourselves, our kids, and our homeschooling way too seriously. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to periodically ask ourselves how often we and our children are smiling as we walk out our days together. How often is there laughter in our homes?

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Joy and laughter are good for the body and the soul!

Love and fully accept, with thankfulness, the kids God has given us. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and yet how many times do we compare ourselves or our kids and homeschooling to someone else’s—all the while losing the joy that can and should be a big part of our journey with our kids?

When God decided to give us our children, He did so intentionally, knowing our personality, strengths, and weaknesses. He said, “This is who I want to mother these particular children.” He has a good plan for us and for them, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that He wants us to have fun and enjoy them!

This also means that we need to love and fully accept, with thankfulness, the season we are in with our children. The early years are very different from the teen years, but there is sweetness in both seasons. Each season is a gift from God for a limited time.

Simplify and slow down. If any of you know me, you know I am continually talking about simplifying and slowing down. That’s not because I am a laid-back, easygoing person. I am a perfectionist in many ways, and God has constantly brought me back to those words: simple, unhurried. And as I allow God to help me simplify and slow down, I find His presence more tangible, my soul more satisfied, and this makes me a much better mom. This is why I love mentoring moms with this message in my online community!

mom and daughter smiling running through hallway
Our culture sends a steady and relentless message that the more you have, the happier you will be. But God tells us the opposite is actually true.

Proverbs 17:1 (NIV) says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”

1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) tells us, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Being content with simplicity is a very freeing place to be as a mom.

Simplicity has been described as, “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from them.” Resisting the temptation to “do all the things” and overschedule can do wonders to keep us from being in a constant hurry.

When we slow down, we notice so much more. It’s easier to see the gifts in the ordinary and the simple. We can be more intentional, more present, and more engaged—which naturally brings more joy and a lighter heart.

Sounds easy, right? It’s actually not. It can feel like gears grinding.

After many years of practice, I won’t tell you that I don’t still struggle, but I will tell you that I have never regretted any time that I have chosen, with God’s help, to simplify and slow down.

So as you walk alongside your kids this summer, may your heart be light and your homeschooling full of joy!
Durenda signature
Author Durenda Wilson

urenda Wilson is a home-schooling mom of eight (born 1991 through 2004), seven of whom have graduated. She has been married for 32 years to Darryl, and they have 9 grandkids. Durenda has written The Unhurried Homeschooler, Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart, and The Four Hour School Day. She is the owner/writer/host of her blog and podcast, Durenda Wilson, and mentors moms at simplyunhurried.com. She also enjoys speaking at events where she can encourage homeschool moms to think outside the box and homeschool in a way that is a great fit for their families!