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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom (part 5)

(Part 5 of 6)

#7 I wore the “We can’t afford it” badge of honor

When a family chooses to homeschool, that usually means that one parent stays home to do the educating, while the other goes to work to collect an income for the household.

Typically, a single-income household means that necessities are budgeted, but rarely is fun or extras budgeted. Some household can barely even cover the necessities. This leaves the family with a paycheck to paycheck cycle, and many prayers that an emergency doesn’t arise because it will most likely result in a credit card charge or borrowing money from someone – in other words, debt.

Debt causes stress, which causes not-so-good emotions, which can lead to fights, and sometimes resentment.

But it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make, right?

Hang with me for the rest of this. Some may be upset by it, and if you are, ask yourself why that is.

If you are noticing this mindset in your own home and are ready for a change, I’d be honored to walk yo through the process I took to discover ways to honor our choice to homeschool AND get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

Everyone good? Let’s continue…

In my experience, too many homeschool families, due to their single-income status, wear the belief “we can’t afford that” like a badge of honor. It’s like it’s an unspoken requirement that your curriculum needs to be used or free, and that you should pack a lunch every time you attend a field trip instead of treating the kids to a take-out meal. Your car should be used and maybe even falling apart. Your kids are wearing clothes that have been handed down from 5 other kids, and Mom is shopping at second-hand stores on their half-off sale days. Couponing becomes a part-time job, and cheap, pre-packaged food fills the pantry. But again, it’s a sacrifice we have to make in order to continue homeschooling, right?

Wrong! Please understand I am NOT judging anyone, nor is my goal to shame you. I wore the “we can’t afford it” badge of honor for too many years. Why was I proud of it? Why do I call it a “badge of honor”? Because 95% of the families in our homeschool community fell into this same category, or more accurate, the same trap. Since everyone around me was in the same situation, I felt like I belonged.

My husband and I wasted so many years making do and just getting by, all in the name of sacrifice in order to homeschool. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

When you wear the “can’t afford it” badge of honor, you are not living life to the fullest. Can we all do better at being grateful for what we have? Absolutely! Is it wise to get the most bang for your buck? Sure! We know a fool and his {or her} money are soon parted. That doesn’t mean that we should be ok with a poverty mindset.

A poverty mindset is when we make our lack our identity. We accept this lack as our lot in life and use it as an excuse to stay in status quo. It then becomes a badge of honor, a virtue signal if you will. “Look at how we sacrifice so that we can homeschool our children.” We seem to say and project out into the world.

Were we really meant to live with the stress of paycheck-to-paycheck? What example are we setting for our children?

We don’t want greedy hearts, and I would never promote that. Is it greedy to search for a way to homeschool AND be able to afford more than a camping trip for a family vacation? Is it greedy to take the whole family out to dinner once a week? Is it greedy to do a “fancy” date night once in a while? Or go on a cruise for your anniversary?

For some reason homeschool families and church leaders seem to say and accept as fact that you don’t homeschool or pastor a church for the money. While this absolutely should NOT be your motivation (both professions are people and service centered, not money centered), what’s wrong with a pastor or homeschool parent having a second stream of income?

More money in the hands of good people allows more good to be done in the world.

Maybe it’s just the circles I hang in, but I know many people with significant incomes, and every single one of them is VERY generous with what they have.

I’m not saying you need to be a millionaire, and I’m not saying you are doing your family a disservice if you have to save up for a new, or almost new car. What I am saying is that the homeschool community, in my experience has pigeon-holed themselves into a lifestyle of lack, and it’s time we time we step into a lifestyle of abundance.

Are you still with me? Have I upset you? If I have, why is that?

And to add even more clarity here. Having a little wiggle room in the household budget won’t make you happy if your heart is not focused first on God, second on your husband, and third on your kiddos, nor will it make you happy if you fall into the trap of always needing more and keeping up with the Joneses.  I’m not talking about becoming materialistic, I’m talking about being open to abundance in all areas of your life.

I’m so grateful I saw this “badge of honor” I was wearing, and realized it wasn’t an honor to wear it. What IS honorable is that Jesus is my Savior and best friend, my husband is my other best friend – we’ll be married 25 years as of this post –  I still homeschool our kiddos (it was important to us that we did not sacrifice this in order for me to bring in an income), and I’m a homeschooling boss babe with two businesses that overlap (which helps me with time management) and that I treat as service ministries; the money generated is a happy bonus. I run my business with God’s guidance. Every step I take is made by first asking the question, “how can I best serve _____?”.

It’s ok to have money. Money isn’t evil, the love of money is. I know you can appreciate and respect money without a love for it. I know you can homeschool your kids and earn even a small income for the household, or maybe even just enough for the annual family vacation fund! What talents do you have that serve others? Do you realize how many people would love to hire, contract, or buy from someone who comes from a place of service and the best interest of the people they choose to focus their efforts on?!?! Millions!!!

If you are living in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you aren’t stuck here, and it isn’t easier to keep the status quo. It’s actually more difficult to stay in the poverty mindset. You were meant to live out your purpose, and if you can provide a service that others will pay for, go for it!!! You are a Daughter of the King of Kings!! You were never meant to hide or cower, you were meant to shine and stand firm on the hill shining your light!!

I absolutely LOVE helping women find what they are created for and how to put those gifts and talents into action. As I said earlier, it would be an honor to serve you in this way!! It’s so exciting to watch women discover their freedom and flourish in their gifts!! It’s time to show the world who you are, Momma!!

#8 I’m a Homeschool Boss Babe

I’ve mentioned several times that I was operating under perceived expectations of what it means to be a “good” homeschool mom. This went on for the first 12 years of our homeschool journey.

I enjoyed managing the home, cooking meals, baking bread, taking the kids on field trips, soccer practice, etc.  I still do enjoy these things.

However, a few years in to our homeschool journey, I began to feel the nudge to find a way to earn some income by working from home; something that I can do around the pace of our home. I didn’t want to give up homeschooling and I wasn’t looking for a 9-5. Raise your hand if you’re right there with me.

A possibility was brought to my attention and my husband encouraged me to jump in and go for it! So, I did. My husband, friends, and others I met could see me flourishing in this area. They saw a leader, a mentor, and an influencer inside me. I didn’t see it. I was holding on to “I can’t do this, I’m just a homeschool mom. I don’t have the skills or the ability to make this a success.”

Yuck!! How many times do YOU tell yourself you can’t do something, or maybe shouldn’t do something, because you are a homeschool mom and your duty and “job” is in the home? This is part of the poverty mindset I mentioned above; it keeps you stuck in all areas of your life.

I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I was holding on to many fears, brought on by past experiences and perceived expectations (there they are again!), about stepping into this new adventure. I had a heap ton of self-doubt tumbling around in my mind. And the guilt!!! Mom Guilt is real y’all!!

“If I pursue this, I’ll have to give up homeschooling.”

“If I choose not to give up homeschooling, how will I juggle everything?”

“What will happen to the kids if I’m not available at home like I am now?”

“Will my family feel neglected and end up resenting me and my business?”

This is just a glimpse of what went on in my mind.

Lies! All Lies!!

Yes, it’s wise to give some consideration to these questions, yet only from the perspective of “how do we make this work for our family?”. I was using these questions as an excuse to stay in the status quo. It seemed easier, and for sure did not come with any risk – except the risk of possibly looking back 10 years from now and regretting the actions not taken; so maybe the status quo is a bigger risk?!?!

What questions, lies, or perceived expectations do you allow to take up space in your mind and keep you from moving forward?

Thankfully, my husband and I chose to surround ourselves with some pretty amazing people. People that build up and encourage. People whose energy you can feel when you’re around them. People we are drawn to because we choose to be in that positive flow of life. Most importantly, people that love the Lord and choose to live in His freedom and abundance!

Now, though I’m still a work in progress, and am continually growing and refining myself, I’m happy to say that not only have I launched 2 businesses, I am still homeschooling our kiddos! My husband and I talked it through and found a way to make it work. We work as a team and recruited the kids to the team as well. Our family works as a unit, everyone stepping in to get what needs to be done, done. 

Sometimes – ok many times – things get out of balance and I need to step back and listen to the signals the kids are giving me, my husband is giving me, and those I serve are giving me. To quote the title of a book I read years ago:

“I’m Not Wonder Woman But God Made Me Wonderful!”

If you are reading my posts about homeschooling and running 2 businesses, and are thinking, “wow! She’s like Super Mom! I could never do that!” Stop it right now!!! Even if our callings aren’t the same, I’m a Mom, just like you. God placed these adventures on my heart and I have chosen to be obedient. It isn’t always easy. I don’t always abound with energy. I mess up. My kids begin weekdays not wanting to do school half the time (you know, because they are normal kids). I don’t have all the answers, but God does!

You don’t have to be Susie Homemaker 24/7 to be a successful homeschool mom!! You don’t even have to like cooking! You just have to be who God created you to be. If that means that you are homeschool Mom plus something else, do it!!

Has earning some type of income been on your mind too? May I encourage you to look at some options? There are many out there! You too can be a homeschoolin’ boss babe!


Pam Spinker

I help Christian homeschool moms, just like you, thrive in your home and in your walk with Christ. If you question your abilities, or feel like you’re drowning in homeschooling, you’re in the right place! 

I’m here to help!