It has been thrilling for our board to help families who will be homeschooling for the first time this year. And through offering things like diplomas and college scholarships, this year it has also been our privilege to help many families finish their homeschool journeys. But for thousands of families in NC who are somewhere between, the upcoming school year brings no freshness of a new beginning, and the end is still nowhere in sight. Here are three great reasons why I know that you can continue homeschooling with confidence and joy… even if you aren’t really feeling it right now.

Fuel Up & Stay Hydrated The homeschool journey is like running a marathon. If there is anything to know about running, it’s that what you eat and drink leading up to the race, throughout the race, and recovering afterward are pivotal to your success. So in your great homeschool marathon, what are you consuming for homeschool these days? Who are your running buddies? If you surround yourself with naysayers and defeatists, you will be malnourished. You will feel run-down or ill-prepared. But If you surround yourself with encouragers of home education, you are more likely to run steadily. You may need to turn off social media, or you may need to tune-in to an online support group. Either way, find your homeschool fuel—whether it’s reading homeschool magazines, watching a homeschool webinar, or listening to previous Thrive! Conference workshops, don’t let yourself get depleted. Membership and community are more important than ever.

Slow and Steady Another way that homeschool is like running a marathon is that you have to be realistic about pacing yourself. You have to run your race– not someone else’s. You cannot run every mile at the same rate, and you cannot flow through every year of homeschool with the same energy as your first year. You are entering this homeschool year from a different place than ever before. Maybe you’re disappointed about homeschooling your middle schooler because you just drove your oldest child to college, yet he didn’t even get to have a high school graduation ceremony last spring. That stinks! Maybe you’re at a loss for how to schedule your day because all of the libraries and extra-curricular activities are still closed. Don’t give up now! Finish your race. Remember the goal when you started. Keep your eye on the prize. One slow mile will not keep you from finishing your race, but quitting will.

The Big Picture When you are running a marathon, one of the greatest pieces of advice is to sign up for your second marathon before you run your first marathon. Why? Because after you finish your first marathon, there is a temptation to succumb to the exhaustion and think of the marathon as a single milestone in your life instead of a lifestyle. The same can be applied to home education. Right now, everything in the world is awry. Many of us are exhausted, but don’t throw in the towel. Sign up for another year of homeschool. Stick to your training. You are a teacher! You may be drained from current events, but you are still passionate about learning. You inspire people. Now lean into your muscle memory, and finish your race. Get the prize! You can do this!

How are you preparing for the 2020-2021 homeschool year? Are you doing the same things as before or trying something completely new? Tell us in the comment section below.