When was the last time you got really discouraged and felt like you hit a wall in your homeschooling? Maybe you looked at your kids, and saw attitude issues, or you just felt like you weren’t doing a good job handling the academics?
After I’d been homeschooling for a couple of years, I remember getting to a point where I felt discouraged, and like I’d just hit this wall, and couldn’t get past it. I felt like I was failing in my efforts to balance the academics, the discipline, time with little ones, etc.
I sent an e-mail to a friend, who was a veteran home schooling mom, with lots of wisdom! The answer she gave was just what I needed to hear! God used her words of wisdom to help me get past that wall of discouragement, and focus on the right things.
I am going to share parts of her e-mail, because she said it all so well, and it was such an encouragement to me at a time when I was struggling. I pulled this e-mail out and re-read it MANY times over the years. She truly hits the nail right on the head. What an encouragement to focus on what REALLY matters! I hope it will be an encouragement to you.
“Haven’t we all hit this wall as homeschoolers? Let me tell you how my husband and I have handled this in our own family.
First of all, we go back to “WHY” we are home educating! For us, it is not academics. It truly is because we believe God’s Word teaches that this is God’s desire for us as a family.
Abraham and Isaac are an inspiration to us in this endeavor. God called Abraham to separate himself and his family from the evil influences of Ur and go out to a desolate place. Abraham obeyed and didn’t worry about how he was going to make a living, or compete with the world. He merely devoted himself to God and his family. God did the rest and received the glory.
Since our goal for our children is to produce Godly servants of Almighty God, the pressure to accomplish academics is WAY behind character and knowing God’s Word. We are blessed when our children are running around with a teaching CD in their MP3s, or falling asleep in the middle of the day reading their Bibles, or loving and serving their brothers and sisters. We consider THAT a good day!!
Richard Fugate said something at the CHEO conference a few years ago that should take the pressure off every home schooling parent in America. (Remember, he wrote the Alpha and Omega curriculum from K-12, so he knows what he’s talking about.)
“K-12 curriculum has only 4 years of academic content from the beginning to the end – everything is repeated over and over again year after year. You can take a child and concentrate on Godly character for the first 12 years of his life and not teach ANY academics and then introduce reading. You’ll finish all twelve years in four years, by the time they are 16.”
I personally think that the small children benefit from the one on one time that we spend with them doing their academics, but I certainly wouldn’t use their accomplishments (or lack of them) to mean anything.
We spend the bulk of our “teaching” time with the littlest ones. They need the controlled situations, the time spent, things to do to keep them out of trouble, etc. We require the older children to spend time with them also, watching and protecting them and reading to them, and just being with them.
The older children are pretty much on their own academically. What we have done to facilitate learning and a love of learning (which we think is the secret to success) – not just slogging through a curriculum) is create a library in our home. We have bookcases everywhere – hallways, in every bedroom, bathrooms, dining room, living room, library, basement, etc. We buy books at garage sales, GCB, etc. We budget for books, and have them filed according to topic (Bible reference books, prophecy, biographies, parenting, suffering, purity, children’s books, etc.) Then we got rid of our TV, but do have a monitor for good teaching and children’s DVDS. Basically, the choices our children have throughout the day are endless and since they don’t have the distraction of radio or TV, all of their choices are fine with us. They can listen to teaching CDs, read books off our shelves, work on their curriculum, help with chores or little ones, etc.
All in all, we are content knowing that we are in the center of God’s will by home educating our children. We use “peace” in our home as the gauge of a successful home schooling day, not how much we have accomplished in a curriculum. We are confident that God has ordered our day, no matter how many distractions we have, or how many times we have had to start and stop our day.
I hope this is an encouragement to you to concentrate on character development (that includes what assignments they are given in their curriculum), and don’t sweat the areas they are not gifted in. (Math or English, for example) Make sure their love of learning isn’t squelched because of a face off with an academic subject. As they get older, be discerning of what their interests are and really pour it on in that area. They only have to be excellent at one thing, not mediocre in a lot of areas. Give them a working knowledge of the rest, and also teach them how to use resources to find the answers to things they find hard to remember. (English Handbooks for Grammar, encyclopedias for Science and History, calculators for Math,etc.) I always remind myself that whenever I go to the doctor, and they are stumped about something I have, they excuse themselves and go into their office where all their BOOKS are, and look it up. They are the doctor because they have the BOOKS. They don’t know everything in their heads, but they know what books to look at when they are stumped. That is what we are teaching our children to do also.
Use God’s standards as your standard for evaluating your family life. If Jesus were to come into your home, would He be pleased? Would His heart be blessed because everyone was loving the baby? Would He find peace there? Would He find a family that was devoted to His Word and His work? Does your heart rejoice in God, your Savior, and the blessing of a houseful of His richest blessings…your children? Contentment is the test. Holiness, justice, mercy, grace and truth are our curriculum.”
I just love these words of encouragement! What a great reminder about WHY we are homeschooling, and what really matters.
Another things that was always an encouragement to me when I got discouraged was an article I found and kept from a Teaching Home magazine, titled “KEEPING SCHOOL IN ITS PROPER PLACE.” You can get that as a free printable for our subscribers.
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