Running Is So Much Like Homeschooling

Edric and I ran again early today. It’s one of our bonding activities to stay fit, but we are also preparing for our church fun-run next weekend. We used to run in Bonifacio Global City when it was still called the Fort and there were hardly any buildings. Within a couple of years High Street was built and people started running around it. And then running became a total fad and people joined mini-marathons almost every weekend. Edric joined several of them but I’ve only joined two. The longest he’s run has been 21K and yet that is just half a marathon! Yikes. I still can’t imagine myself doing 15K. We ran almost 8K today and that felt looong.

I’ve always told Edric that running was a means for me to stay fit but I never wanted to push myself to run in any long distance event. Imagining myself doing so fills me with the same kind of dread I felt when I was asked to join the track and field team in college. I’ve always thought of running as a means to build endurance and burn calories, but not as a sport. And since I would rather play a sport to stay athletic, I played UAAP Football (soccer) instead. The irony is, after college, I hardly ever played football again, but I still run. I don’t even think I can play football anymore!

After having 4 kids, I’ve really begun to appreciate the benefits of running. It has been one of the best ways for me to lose my pregnancy weight and fat. Ugh! But it’s not easy! Almost every time we run, I think of an excuse not to! But running has taught me many truths about life, even about homeschooling!  Here are my top 10:

1.       It feels difficult at the start, but finishing always feels great. The first few meters of our run often feels like trying to hand pump water from a deep well. It’s the same way with homeschooling. The kids take a while to warm up to their work but by mid-morning, the rhythm kicks in and we all feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose when the work gets done.

2.       You will reap what you sow. For running it may be health, fitness, better calcium absorption from Vitamin D (from the morning sun), a closer relationship with my hubby, energy for the day, and greater intimacy with the Lord because of praying while running. For homeschooling, it is seeing my children grow in character, grow closer to one another and to us, grow in their knowledge of the Lord, and excel in academics.

3.       It’s hard to be consistent! Edric and I try to run every other day but it doesn’t always happen. I try to homeschool everyday but I don’t always get to. But at least we keep trying!

4.       Don’t compare. So many people run better, faster, and longer than I can. And it can be discouraging when people pass you by and go ahead of you while running or when you see people who look fitter than you do! It’s the same way with homeschooling. When you start to compare your children to others’ and when you start “ranking” them in terms of academics, you can start to lose sight of the more important things. It becomes a pride issue. When it comes to running, my goal is to discipline my body and to finish in the best time possible. In homeschooling, my goal should be to focus on training my OWN children and keep at it until I reach the finish line. And some people’s finish line for homeschooling may be sooner or later than mine.

5.       Enjoy the view. When we were running today, Edric said, “God is so amazing isn’t he?!” And he was looking at the sky, at the trees…It was a good reminder for me because most of the time I just look down or I have tunnel vision and stare blankly in front of me while I am running. I’m usually thinking about how many more kilometres we have to go. I can kind of fall into that with homeschooling, too. Instead of enjoying my children, their discoveries, and our adventures, I’m thinking of what they have to get done next, how many pages to cover, etc. I was reminded that I need to take some time to marvel at how wonderful it is to have the kids that I do and to appreciate them.

6.       If you start to feel pain, slow down so you can finish. I’ve recently recovered from a hamstring injury which keeps me from sprinting when I run. It’s been humbling but it has been a good reminder that slowing down doesn’t make you a loser. If slowing down helps me to finish then that’s my strategy for winning my own race. I’ve had to slow things down with homeschooling, too. Take a day off, give the kids a break, give a lesson in bite-size pieces, spend time doing things that fill my emotional tank. Everyone’s got to pace themselves. Homeschooling is not a sprint!

7.       Push yourself. Running will push and test your limits. Homeschooling will do the same thing. I often think of 1 Corinthians 9:27 while running, “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” I run because it keeps me physically disciplined, and when I homeschool, it keeps me spiritually disciplined. I push myself to do what is difficult because hardship builds character and character changes a person for the better. Seriously, homeschooling exposes all the ways I need to change and improve!

8.       Let others push you. I am incredibly thankful for Edric, who forces me to wake up when I don’t feel like so that we can run. He reminds me at night, “Don’t stay up too late because we are running tomorrow.” And when I linger in bed in the morning because I’d rather sleep, he will say, “Time to get up hon, we’ve got to run.” I need him to do that and I’m grateful that we run together, side by side, and he doesn’t leave me behind. There have been days when I have run by myself and I missed Edric alot. He helps keep me going. When you homeschool, you need to surround yourself with people who will push you and whom you can encourage, too. No homeschooler is an island.

9.       Set goals and measure progress. Edric has this great ap on his Iphone called MiCoach. It helps him set goals for us and tracks our progress to see if we are improving our pace and distance. The ap also shows the route that we take each time we run. Similarly, goal setting and tracking progress are important in homeschooling. Where are you headed? Where do you see your kids one year from now, five, ten years from now? What will you accomplish this month, this year and are you moving in the right direction? With the homeschooling program Edric manages, we encourage parents to write out their goals at the beginning of the year and use portfolios to keep records of the work their kids accomplish. Kids can see how they improved from one quarter to the next and it is deeply rewarding for them to know that their hard work has helped them progress in their learning and growth.

10.   Lord I need your help! I know this is probably one thing that I say over and over again but I can’t stress enough how important prayer is. Each time I start running, I say, “Lord please sustain me and help me to finish!” Well I do this with homeschooling, too. “Lord I need your help with the kids, please help them to love learning, to be teachable, obedient, and to love you with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength….” The list goes on…This is every homeschooler’s secret weapon – prayer power. I avail of God’s grace because it is the only way that I can successfully homeschool my children. And I praise God for his faithfulness!

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