25 Life Lessons from Another School Year


Laura's First Day of Homeschool ~ 1998
Laura’s First Day of Homeschool ~ 1998

As I begin to put away class materials (for awhile), I also close the book on my seventeenth year of homeschooling.

Laura ~ 2011
Laura ~ 2011

It boggles my mind! (Has it really been that long?) As I survey the years, I can’t help but sometimes wonder how exactly I came to be here, especially since I never really planned to homeschool my kids in the first place. As I recall, it was really my husband’s idea. I went along with the plan since, at the time, I was pretty sure I could at least teach kindergarten! Little did I know back then that I’d graduate two kids from high school and still be plugging along all these years later.

Ryan ~ 2013
Ryan ~ 2013

And while I still have 5 more years to go until we officially close the doors on the Woodall Home Academy, the end of another academic year always gives me the opportunity to reflect on a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Jason & Leia
Jason & Leia

Now you may never respond to the siren call to homeschool, or even have kids at all, and it may be that you have packed away your child-rearing years long ago, but be encouraged to read on.  You still may discover that a lesson or two from a homeschooling mom are also applicable to you!

  1. Relationship is more important than outcome.
  1. The things that are most important rarely show up on tests.
  1. You often learn as much (or more) from failing as you do from succeeding. And properly channeled, defeat deposits within you what you need to win later on.
  1. It is not necessary to assign blame. Just deal with the situation without pointing a finger.
  1. Deal with what the situation is, not what you wish it would be.
  1. “I’m sorry,” “I was wrong,” and “I forgive you” are amazingly powerful & healing statements.  Use them honestly &  liberally.
  1. Don’t be so focused on today’s assignment that you miss the long term goal of the exercise.
  1. God is faithful and trustworthy even when everything around you seems to shout that He’s not.
  1. Always find a way to pass along praise. Remember that you didn’t get to where you are by yourself.
  1. Everyone needs to be valued & appreciated. Make sure you say thank you for the little things. (Remember,  too, it won’t matter if you noticed, if you never bother to say it.)
  1. Stop what you are doing and look up. Focusing on someone’s face is a key way to tell them you think they are important.
  1. Your faithfulness, diligence and attention to detail matters more than you think it does.
  1. Never think you are too important, too smart, or too capable to ask for advice.
  1. Batteries need to be recharged. So do you. Vigilantly schedule &  guard your times of rest.
  1. How you say it is just as important as what you say.
  1. God loses nothing and wastes nothing. Always be on the lookout for the bigger lesson in everything that comes your way.
  1. Learn to ‘stick with it.’ Things of worth rarely come about instantly. Most that is truly valuable requires a long term investment.
  1. Some times the best thing to do is start over.
  1. Learn to laugh… a lot (especially at yourself) Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  1. Don’t let your fears hold you back. God rarely calls you to do something that requires nothing of you.
  1. Be someone’s biggest fan, and keep cheering regardless of the score.
  1. Value criticism more highly than praise. Sometimes even your enemies tell you the truth.
  1. Learn to distinguish between what is urgent and what is important. They are rarely the same.
  1. Persistently keep saying what needs to be said, even when no one is listening. You need to hear it too.
  1. Invest time in knowing God and loving people. In the end, that’s all that really matters.


18 thoughts on “25 Life Lessons from Another School Year

    1. Most of the things I learned in homeschooling apply to anyone, anywhere, any time whether you homeschool or not! Thanks for stopping by Katherine! And God Bless your growing family!

  1. Karen,

    This is spot on! I love that you left this link here on my post and that we both touched on some of the same lessons learned, even though each post was written at different times… God is so good in how He leads us in our parenting and raising up tiny humans into people that we want to hang out with! Blessings!

  2. Oh my goodness, Karen, my heart is in my throat at this post. #1, #25, and so much in between. We are going a very difficult time right now with a relational situation, and your words are convicting me in the midst of pain and heartbreak. So glad you stopped by and left this link on my little blog today. I’ll be revisiting your wise words again and again.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! Quite possibly God had me write this blog 2 years ago just so you would be encouraged to keep going and focus on right things during you difficulty. Blessing to you as you seek Him!

  3. I love tip #21 the most “Be someone’s biggest fan, and keep cheering regardless of the score”. I try to do this for my two boys. It helps to keep them believing in themselves and to always give their best to whatever they set out to accomplish. We sometimes think boys are tough and don’t need as much encouragement but I’ve found that they need just as much (if not more) encouragement as our girls do. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Kids get angry and at us as parents when they feel like correction is something done TO them and not FOR them, but I remind my kids that we are more on their side than anyone in all the world. And then I stop to think… Isn’t that exactly what God would tell us when we are mad at Him for correcting us too! Sometimes kids are our best teachers if we learn how to listen! Thanks for stopping by Keesha!

  4. Thank you for sharing and being such a positive influence! I have a new source to come to during my time to unwind and reflect! 🙂

    I practice #6 on a daily basis! The whole list is a great reminder to me as a homeschool parent, because it’s easy to lose focus on what’s important and that is the love in it all #25.

    God Bless!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I totally agree. It’s so easy to get focused on stuff that doesn’t matter and ignore the fact that we all need love and grace! Blessings on you and your homeschool journey!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your own personal experiences with homeschooling. My wife and I have commented on several different occasions, if our kids were young and in school today, my wife said if economics were a problem she would work nights, weekends, whatever it would take to homeschool the kids. Public schools, and private ones too, have become the center of brainwashing. I will be remiss if I didn’t share your incites with younger parents (and grandparents).

    1. Thanks Mel! As a longtime homeschooling mom, I think that God teaches me as much as I have ever taught my kids! It’s definitely not a cake-walk and some days seem like the easier option would be to stand at the bus stop with them, but I wouldn’t trade my time with my kids for anything!

  6. Wow Karen, thank you for these great reminders, like you said, I do not have children, however, your advice applies to all! I know from everything you have taught me as a bible study teacher and now with the Switchbacks ministry that teaching is your spiritual gift Karen. Your children and others you have taught have been blessed by your gift and wisdom.

    1. I’m a firm believer that God will teach us lessons from most anything we face if we are paying attention. Thanks for stopping by, Mary

  7. These are great life lessons Karen ~thank you for sharing all you’ve learned!

    This is our first year homeschooling our girls (I wish we had done it all along!) and I have found out during this time that it’s all about God and His great plan for what they learn, study and do.

    Our girls lessons really have nothing to do with “my” plans or expectations and I’ve had to “step back” many times & and pray for wisdom on what the Lord wants me to do with them.

    This has been a great journey and a trying one at times as well so when I read your list, I had to smile at how “simple” homeschooling it really needs to be! It’s much more about personal relationships with God and within our family and growing deeper in the Word and truth.

    1. Thanks Jen! I think it’s really really easy to get focused on math, or reading or grades and forget the reason we chose to homeschool in the first place …. and that is, pointing them to a relationship with God and building righteousness, godliness and love.

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