Fall 2019 / Briggs Greenwood

Dear Fellow Homeschooling Momma,

I hope this letter finds you well. After experiencing seventeen summers thus far on our home education journey, I am aware of how daunting fall and a new school year can feel. Take heart! You are not alone! Thousands of other North Carolina parents are feeling the same way. We are in this together, and with the guidance of our Mighty God, this journey can be a life-changing adventure and not just an exhausting marathon. 

When I was a new homeschooling momma, I had the great blessing of a next-door neighbor and dear friend who had begun this adventure before me. She and another friend from church who at that point was homeschooling high school (insert scared emoji!) talked and prayed with me at a retreat. My eldest was really struggling in an excellent public school, and I was struggling with how best to help him. These lovely godly women said to me, “You know it doesn’t have to be this way, right?” I knew it didn’t, so my husband and I brought our son home at the end of that school year. I have never regretted that for one moment. 

If God has led you to this choice, He will make you successful. Are you fighting a battle in your home? Are you already weary, and the school year hasn’t even started? That is because our enemy is vigilant. He knows our vulnerabilities, and he is prepared to use them against us. I want to share with you some ways to fight that battle well.

First, give your school and your family to the Lord. Each and every time you are thinking about, planning for, or teaching this year, pray first. Even if your prayer is as simple as “Lord, please help me, amen,” or the more specific, “Lord, I believe that you are bigger, braver and stronger than I; I know you want to prosper the treasure that is my family, and I trust them to you.” He will listen! 

Second, make sure that your students know what you expect of them. I know my children need really clear expectations and when I fail to communicate those ahead of time we end up with conflict. I am not a strict lesson planner; I prefer to hold on to the wonderful flexibility that our education choice allows. I have had to find other ways to make expectations clear. Talking with your students regularly about how they feel school is going is critical to success. Listen carefully to any ideas they have to improve the outcome and your relationship.

Third, lavish your student with kind words—praise for successes, but also with grace and mercy in their failures. In other words, show them Jesus. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have wronged my sons on this journey. It was once a day at first and now still more often than I care to admit, yet these amazing boys continue to forgive me. My sinful impulse is to raise my voice or use cutting words when obedience isn’t instant. Fortunately, the Lord is faithful to rebuke me and prompt contrition. The more times I have chosen to learn this lesson, the freer I have become with showing grace and mercy. Give it a try!

Finally, friends, find a community of like-minded moms. God did not create us to journey alone. Do you have girlfriends who also homeschool? Meet with them at a park and talk while the kids play, or even better, meet in the evening for coffee and a chat. Do you belong to a support group or co-op? Make participating and making friends a priority. The group to which I belong has once-a-month get-togethers on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes we have a topic for discussion and meet in a member’s home. A few times a year, we go out for lunch or dessert and just chat. These women are my prayer warriors when life is hard, and my cheerleaders any day of the week. 

Are you just getting started or teaching high school for the first time? Find a mentor. I am beyond grateful for those two moms who came alongside me from the start and gently pushed me along. I thank God for them every single day. If you are having difficulty finding a group that is just the right fit, if you need a mentor, or even if you just need someone with whom to speak right this minute, NCHE is here to help you. Connecting homeschoolers to each other is one of our top priorities. Please reach out to your regional liaison, our office staff, or even to me.

Blessings on you and your house, homeschool momma!

Briggs Greenwood enjoys connecting with other mommas in her role as NCHE marketing director and especially in her day to day life. She lives and loves with Kevin at home in Durham. They have four sons (two homeschool graduates, and two still learning at home, plus one wonderful daughter-in-love.). She has seen and tried almost every conceivable homeschooling option in her nearly eighteen year journey and can’t wait to see what else the Lord has in store. 

Briggs Greenwood enjoys connecting with other mommas in her role as NCHE marketing director and especially in her day to day life. She lives and loves with Kevin at home in Durham. They have four sons (two homeschool graduates, and two still learning at home, plus one wonderful daughter-in-love.). She has seen and tried almost every conceivable homeschooling option in her nearly eighteen year journey and can’t wait to see what else the Lord has in store.