How We Succeed (Even With Failed Plans)I remember when we were first getting started in our home school journey. I found a friend who shared with me her “plan.” I took her advice, adjusted a bit on my own, and set out on the journey of a lifetime. I was so thankful for the heartfelt advice from someone who wanted me to be successful.

With the THSC Convention in Arlington just around the corner and The Woodlands Convention not far behind, I am excited to share a letter from Kathy Lee with Homegrown Preschoolers. Kathy will be one of the featured speakers at our New to Home School Seminar on Thursday afternoon, May 5 in Arlington, and July 23 in The Woodlands.

Enjoy reading her heartfelt encouragement. We want you to be successful!

Dear Mom (who has made the plan to home school),

Know this . . . sometimes our plans are meant to fail.

Before I became a mom, I had my life all figured out. I planned on birthing three children, and then I would head to China and adopt a little girl. As soon as my children were old enough, I would send them to a great preschool, and once they hit elementary age, I would home school them all by myself forever and ever, amen. Yep, that was my plan and I was sticking to it. However . . . sometimes our best-laid plans are meant to fail.

The first thing that did not go as planned was how God would give me my children. Instead of birthing three and adopting one, I ended up adopting three, birthing two, and then adopting a few more. That was only the first of many plans that have “failed” over the past 20 years.

Take preschool for instance, well that definitely did not go as planned. I remember my son’s preschool experience like it was yesterday. As soon as John Michael turned three, I enrolled him in a great church preschool in our area. I clearly remember dropping him off, waving goodbye, and walking to the car with a heavy heart. I had always planned on preschool, so why was I now questioning my decision?  I knew that preschool was a great way to help children get along with others, learn basic self-help skills, and begin their path to an academic future. Why was I so bothered that someone else was going to teach those things to my son?

I sat in my car and cried big crocodile tears. I reassured myself that I would be fine and he would be fine. After 15 minutes of ugly crying, I had enough. I decided that I wanted to be the one to watch him build his social skills. I wanted to be the one to help him develop those self-help skills, and I wanted to witness those aha moments of discovering colors, forming letters—all that is the beginning of his academic journey. I came to terms with the fact that it did not matter what the other moms were doing. It did not matter that I planned on preschool for my son. What mattered was that my heart was telling me to go get him, and I did. I never regretted that decision for one minute. I am sure he enjoyed his 15 minutes in preschool, but I treasured those preschool years with him at home.

[bctt tweet=”Listen and follow heart tugs, even if it wasn’t the plan. #homeschool #THSCConvention”]

Early on, I rocked it. Everything was going exactly as I had imagined. I was patient, I was able to sit down with my son as he worked on reading, counting, and the life cycle of frogs. I was able to finish school according to our schedule, keep the house clean, and even make a homemade dinner every night. I am pretty sure I could have traveled across the country and told moms how to perfectly home school one child.

-Reading to Phoebe - How We Succeed (Even With Failed Plans)However, it is a good thing I didn’t, because as more children joined our family, the plan started to fail. Now, I had to home school children of all ages. I had to try to teach one child to read, while keeping a baby fed and changed and, at the same time, keep a busy preschooler engaged. This was harder than I could have ever imagined. I had to be flexible with my schedule, which meant schooling the older children during naptime, after dinner, etc. I had to make sure the preschooler had plenty of hands-on activities available to explore while I helped my older son. Some days I felt as if I were a circus juggler instead of a home school mom. I couldn’t do it all.  Many days the house was a mess. Often, I fed my kids chicken nuggets instead of making a homemade meal. Some days, I didn’t even shower. It was not pretty, and I often felt as if I had failed. However, as the years swiftly passed, I realized that hectic time was a blip on the radar of life. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those early, mixed up years for anything. The days snuggled on the sofa in our PJs, the belly laughs that happened as water was being splashed in the sensory table, and even the jelly all over my son’s face because I was too busy to clean it off . . . all worth it.

As the children grew and I grew with them, I realized there wasn’t a perfect plan for our family. I went from believing I had it all figured out to knowing that I had nothing figured out. I no longer over-confidently shared with others that I would home school forever and ever, amen. Instead I humbly stated that this was our plan for this year, and hopefully we would finish the year as planned. After 20 years of doing this, I have changed the plan over and over again. Some years, I have done all of the teaching. Other years, we have been involved in co-ops, worked with tutors, lived in other countries, and struggled to school at all.

[bctt tweet=”Ever thought you knew everything only to discover you know nothing… #homeschool #THSCConvention”]

Kathy Lee with Andrew - How We Succeed (Even With Failed Plans)In the midst of my failing plans, my children have still progressed and moved forward. They have learned, they have shared, they have made memories, they have grown, and they have understood that even the best laid plans sometimes fail. At the end of the day, this home school life is not a “one plan fits all.” Every family has to decide what is best for them and their children at the time. What is best today might not be best next year. Most importantly, listen to and follow what your heart is tugging at you to do, even if it wasn’t in the plan. At the end of the day, we all need to remember that no one can do it all, and sometimes the best thing that can happen is that our plan fails.

[bctt tweet=”Plans fail, but children progress anyway… #homeschool #THSCConvention”]

Treasure today, for tomorrow it will be gone,


Please join us for a time of instruction, encouragement, and insight from all three of the fantastic speakers at the New to Home School Seminars in Arlington and The Woodlands. Come be encouraged by Kathy Lee, Frederic Gray, and Mary James as we help you put together your own plan for success!

Did you know that THSC members and one adult guest attend the Conventions for free? Join today and plan to attend one of the Conventions to receive encouragement, equipment, and entertainment.