Are you homeschooling your grandchildren? Do you need some encouragement from a fellow grandparent who faces your same struggles and joys? Let me introduce my wonderful friend and mentor, Shirley Buzzoni. Here is her story in her own words…
Grams is Homeschooling!
Let me start by saying, I did NOT homeschool my own children. But here I am – a grandmother – in my late 60’s – doing what much younger moms are doing … and loving it!
So why have I chosen to do this phenomenon in my golden years you ask? Because I have a broken family. I almost laugh at that term “broken” because the older I get the more aware I am that most families I know are “broken” in one form or another. We’re broken people. But it is Jesus, who was broken for us that we might be fully healed.
When my daughter and her two little ones moved into our home we opened our arms to hearts that were shattered as our limping but courageous daughter moved into a new role of sole provider. Our home became filled with lots of laughter but also with a lot of raw emotions. Through it all, I was convinced (and still am) that their story would be for God’s glory …
It was our daughter’s desire to homeschool her children. Now, in her new role, it seemingly wouldn’t be possible. But as she returned to work and I kept the girls, her own dream became my heart’s desire. Hence, by God’s grace, I’ve homeschooled the girls going on 6 years and I’m loving every minute of it – almost.
I say “almost” because homeschooling is challenging! Can I get an “Amen!”? I don’t like to pull the “age” card, but I’m quite sure that homeschooling would have looked very different in my 20s, 30s, 40s, or even 50s! To be quite honest, by evening I’m mildly exhausted. Often when I lay my head on my pillow I quote Psalm 73:25-26,
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
As homeschool parents know, it’s almost easier to go to a job than to stay home and deal with the neediness of little ones; trying to figure out different learning styles; juggling home responsibilities; bearing the responsibility of these kids’ hearts and education; and then there’s dealing with the looks of those who have no clue why anyone (especially an old lady) would homeschool anyway! Add onto that, caring for my own father who recently passed and a husband who was battling cancer, and my own health issues, and feeling like I was losing my memory and mind … homeschooling in this season seems almost impossible.
But then there’s God reminding me of the life skills and character building opportunities of compassion, patience, and grace the girls are exposed to. And this too will be part of their story for God’s glory.
Another struggle I’m finding are occasions for the girls to develop friendships. We never see kids on our street, and while we are a part of an “academy” that meets every other week, it is not an automatic conduit for relationships. Friendships are forged by having mutual interests and time together usually more often than bi-monthly. Figuring this out has been difficult because while I love young women, I’m not naturally hanging out with other moms who could easily be my daughters.
But hosting ongoing co-ops is bringing me hope for the girl’s future. Many of the same kids keep returning, and our girls are having more opportunities to actually know other children furthering my hope that friendships will blossom… and then as a bonus, I get some sweet time with the mommas!
The benefits and joys of homeschooling two of my grandchildren far outweigh the challenges. As I have mentioned, there’s an intimacy that grows when you’re with them all of the time. I’m there when they are hurting. I’m with them when they make new discoveries and I get to experience firsthand their adventures.
I get to sit and read to them on the couch every day, all cuddled up. I hear their dreams and their heartaches.
There’s no question that I wish my daughter could do what I get to do every day, but we are working pretty well as we parent these girls together. God has graciously given to her the hearts of her girls who adore their mom. Together we shepherd our girls’ hearts.
There are some advantages to “age.” Namely, it gives perspective and wisdom. Though I still make many mistakes that I made with my own children (and I’ve managed to come up with a few new errors too :)) I am learning to not sweat the little stuff and to keep an eye focused on what’s eternal.
I know that a solid relationship with our children is paramount because, without a relationship, discipline and instruction will clearly lead to rebellion. Remember the Pharisees? They kept all the “rules,” and yet they wanted nothing to do with Jesus, in fact, they wanted him dead. My greatest desire is to see my children walking with Jesus in truth and grace.
Lastly, as an older homeschooling parent, a lesson I learned long ago serves me well. It’s my life mantra:
“My life is not my own.”
But we really think it is, don’t we? Or at least we act like it. We make our plans and we pursue our goals as though we were drafting blueprints for our future. But Proverbs 16:9 says,
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
I will say, I never thought I would be homeschooling in my golden years – but God’s plans have far exceeded my expectations, and for that, I am forever grateful. So then Lord… “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” teaching us that our lives are not our own, but for Your glory, by Your grace…
So that’s the story God is writing in and through Shirley. If you are homeschooling your grandchildren, God is writing a story in and through you as well!
Advice to Single Moms
If God has placed homeschooling on your heart, trust God to show you the way He wants you to homeschool your children. Shirley encourages you to not be afraid of homeschooling in an unconventional way. Ask God what yours could look like. It won’t be easy and you most likely will have to make many adjustments. But, dare to think outside the box.
There are single moms who are homeschooling in a variety of ways. Can you work in the mornings while your child stays with a friend or family member, and then homeschool in the afternoons and evenings? Or, can you find another mom who has an opposite work schedule to co-op with and share teaching?
Pray and see how you can make it happen. No homeschool looks the same. Be willing to really step out in faith and see how God meets you there.
If you are homeschooling your grandchildren, please share in the comments what blessings and struggles you are experiencing. And, if you are a single mom who homeschools, share what that looks like for you. You may encourage someone else by doing so!
Also, if you need prayer, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I would be happy to pray with you!
Blessings to you!