Halcyon Homeschooling: Encouragement for Parents

kingfisher in sand

Halcyon Homeschooling

Encouragement for Parents

By Jeanne Gowen Dennis

As homeschoolers you have a unique opportunity to pass on the heritage of your faith as you and your children discover or rediscover the joys of childlike wonder together. Each day is a new adventure in learning, growing, and developing relationships. Those of us who have homeschooled understand that learning at home is an enjoyable, rewarding way of life. It isn’t just school conducted at home. It’s homeschooling, and there is a world of difference.

But often our homeschooling days turn out less than idyllic. That’s when I hope you will take inspiration from the legend of the halcyon.

kingfisher and calm water

Halcyon Homeschooling

Ancient legend credits the halcyon, a bird related to the kingfisher, with calming the sea’s waves during the winter solstice while it nested and incubated its eggs. The word halcyon also means calm, peaceful, happy, golden, prosperous, or affluent (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). Halcyon can also define your homeschool.

I know. You’re probably laughing right now. Or crying. As your offspring bicker with one another. As the toddlers repeatedly interrupt your school day. As your older children balk or complain about their assigned work. As you wonder once more if you can really do this. It may be hard to imagine that your homeschool could ever be described as “halcyon,” but I think it can.


Think of bird development and compare it with child development. You are still incubating your “eggs” and/or caring for the hatchlings in your nest. Your children are not yet ready to go out into the world. The littlest ones are still in the incubation stage, and the older ones are just learning to fly. Until they’re ready, you stand as a barrier between them and the turbulent world outside. You are the halcyon that calms the waves.

Not convinced? I don’t blame you. I remember days when my daughter frustrated me so much that I didn’t calm any waves; I created tsunamis. Then I threatened to quit homeschooling. Many other times I felt inadequate to perform the task and wondered, What have I gotten myself into?

But often, very often, we had those golden days when I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my life. Thankfully, the rewarding days far outweighed the frustrating ones.

kingfisher near rushing waterHis Eye is On the Halcyon, Too

If the tide seems to be rising on you, you aren’t alone. God’s sees every sparrow that falls, so He’s watching over you and your children, too. Take some time together now to listen for His voice.

  • Read one of the Psalms together and then spend a few minutes in quiet reflection.
  • Rock the little ones while the older ones spend a few minutes thinking about, discussing, drawing, or writing about what you just read.
  • Take a walk together. Let the little ones guide you. Pay attention to what excites them and thank God for the wonders He has created for you to discover.
  • If you don’t have little ones, go on a scavenger hunt. Search for the new and exciting in the ordinary sights and sounds you experience every day.

Peace in the Storm

When the cacophony of troubles seems overwhelming, remember to tune your senses to God’s blessings, creativity, and might. Make a list of the blessings of God you get to enjoy. Including time with your wonderful children – time that will be over far too soon.

Then observe how calm, peaceful, golden, and prosperous—how halcyon—your homeschooling becomes.

If you’ve never homeschooled, perhaps you will find inspiration here to give it a try. If you’re a veteran, I hope you will find camaraderie, compassion, and encouragement to spur you on to finish the noble work you have begun.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess. 3:16 NKJV).

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