The first year of homeschooling can be a lot like giving birth. Insecure in your abilities, unsure about the future, and bombarded with new responsibilities, first-time homeschool parents can feel quite intimidated. However, homeschooling's joys far outweigh its challenges. Like holding your child for the first time makes you quickly forget the pain of childbirth, you'll gladly endure any homeschooling labors to see the endless blessings and rewards they bring to your family.

Here are just a few things you can expect your first year of homeschooling:

Endless questions from friends and relatives asking, "Why in the world do you want to homeschool your kids?" Going against the flow makes you a moving target, so be prepared to lovingly defend yourself with relevant information on homeschooling's benefits.

Endless times of playing, exploring, and learning together as a family. Every day is a new adventure from God, and seeing the world again through your child's excited eyes makes everything fresh.

Endless piles of dirty dishes and clothes waiting to be cleaned. Because you're home 24/7, getting a grip on household chores is crucial. Recruit all the family, delegate responsibilities, and win the war early on daily dirt before it drives you crazy.

Endless answers to all your children's questions. After hearing "why" for the hundredth time, resolve yourself not to say, "Because I said so." Respond instead with, "I don't know, but let's find out the answer together."

Endless thankfulness for the unique qualities God has placed in each of your children. Just as a husband and wife complement their strengths and weaknesses, every member brings something special to the family to make it complete as God intended.

Endless wonder that God entrusted you with the task to train His children in the nurture and admonition in the Lord. Each morning you will stare humility in the face as you consider the gift you've been given. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward" (Psalm 127:3).

Endless delight in your children's learning successes. Just as you are the apple of God's eye, you'll also rejoice as you watch your kids grow in knowledge, character, and godly wisdom.

Endless concern you are doing everything right. Don't let the "what ifs" rob you of your homeschooling joy. Contrary to public opinion, HSLDA's 2003 Homeschooling Grows Up survey proves that your children won't turn out as uneducated, social misfits.

Endless hugs, kisses, and "I love you's." This one-of-a-kind homeschooling perk carries you through all the hard work.

Endless nights of shortened sleep as you prepare meals, grade papers, and get lessons ready for the next day. Unless, of course, you choose to streamline your day with automatic grading and lesson planning in Christian homeschool curriculum like Monarch™ and Switched-On Schoolhouse®.

Endless moments of spiritual growth as you learn to depend on God for all things, including money to pay the bills, discernment for settling your children's disputes, and creativity to make each homeschooling day fun.

What about you? Do you remember how you felt when you started homeschooling? Add your own challenges and rewards to the comment field below.