If you and I could sit across my kitchen table from each other, and you were to say, “I’m just not sure I can keep homeschooling. . . I feel like such a failure. . .”, I would tell you with great empathy that I had felt the exact same way and that I, too, had been ready to quit.

For three successive years, I would start our homeschool in September with great enthusiasm and the best products I could find. . . but after about a month, the chore of doing school—with its approach of “Now we are going to learn this fact”—was so unpleasant that I would quietly put the textbooks away, hoping no one would notice. I would go back to the things my children enjoyed doing, like playing with play dough and taking walks and singing songs and having stories read aloud to them.

But, by the third year of failing to make it past the first month, I felt so guilty that I was ready to quit. When I told my husband, the professional teacher, that I just couldn’t keep going, he said to me what I want to say to you.

“Why don’t we pray and ask God how to homeschool these kids?”

It was such a simple suggestion, and, yet, it changed everything. Not at first, of course. You have to give God time to work—time to help you begin to see the world of learning in different ways.

As the next few weeks and months progressed, several things happened that helped me discover there were other ways to homeschool beyond the model I had been following—the model of set schedules, specific classes, sitting down at a desk, and filling out workbooks. During this transitional time, I unexpectedly met families who created an environment for learning that made it enjoyable and interesting, even fun, and, as a result, their kids loved learning! I learned from them what I had not known before, that homeschooling our own kids allows a freedom to explore topics, to approach learning from a hands-on and out-loud experience, to do science outside among falling leaves, to sit and listen to my children’s ideas and dreams without saying, “No, we don’t have time for that. Get back to work!”

That was more than twenty-five years ago, dear friends. The stories that came after are so much better, so much different. . . If we had the time, I would tell you about when my daughter won the VFW National Youth Essay Contest (and the great time we had in Kansas City as she read her essay to over 8,000 VFW members), or when we had the chance to sing for Rosemarie Trapp, one of the daughters of “Sound of Music” von Trapps. I’d love to describe the emotions we experienced when Maori men in New Zealand told us that our family had reminded them of what “family” was supposed to be. . . And so many more.

All these later stories were possible because I came to the point of desperate need, and then sought God in that moment.

Your story is as real as mine. This is not a “Don’t give up” lecture, this is a “Seek Him with all your heart and watch what happens” story.

Remember, stay relational.