The MAIN THING is not the main lesson nor the main book although we get caught up in ever progressing while within we innately understand that our books are simply springboards toward faith and character. Homeschooling is a phenomenon of immense beauty which ever teeters on the brink of going awry through one of two extremes. The over diligent-if-you-can-accomplish-that-in-15-minutes-then-we-should-do-more-lessons vs the easily distracted get-the-kids-started-while-I-begin-x,y,z-and-they-are-quiet-so-I’ll-squeeze-in-a,b,c-as-well. I totally know where I fall as I type to you all.
In step the Lovelies of homeschool: Faith and Character. This could be re-stated as the understanding/trusting that what is spoken by a parent will come to pass (diligence), or what is required by a parent will be asked for (fortitude). No matter how we term our main goals, they are faith and character. The child must have faith in the parent; in the parents modeling; in the parent’s consistency that his/her word is meant when spoken; in the parent’s ability to love strongly; in the parents commitment. You stand in for God at this time. If your child can trust you, who they can see, how much greater will they be able to trust God? And vice versa. When this comes to pass, character is one of the visible facets exhibited much like feeling a lovely breeze on your face is a visible facet of wind. It is how we know that what we are doing is working -however slowly. Be encouraged, it is working if you see even the smallest of indicators at home or in public.
You may be caught up in frantically completing your books at this time of year. Sstressed to the point of wishing you could just stay in bed. Leading the family in a stress-fest feeding (off the guilt you choose to carry in your heart) frenzy. Take heart, lay down the guild, and focus on ONE thing that you can change—Yourself. You will wonder at how quickly and one change will positively affect those around you.
You probably got caught up in feeling that completing the book is more important than the manner in which it is completed. Easily and often fallen for, and such a heady rush when achieved. Finding balance is key. Completing books is not bad as long as it is approached with the child’s well being and true education at the center. If you hear yourself giving reasons for your stress that include a lot of ‘I’ statements, you may be caught up in the vision the world has for your home school rather than what God has called you to (work in your children and family).
How to turn this bus around? You have stopped, taken heart, laid down the guilt, and focused on what you can change, right? Once that is set in order look at your child:
Are they slow because they process slower or are dyslexic? Then slow down your pace and complete what you can with mastery and enjoyment. Focus on their diligence. Check for completeness of work. Test (or discuss) for mastery of small amounts at a time. This will build with so much ‘righting’ itself (seemingly on it’s own) between the ages of 13-20. Sadly so many write the child off by that time. GREAT BOOK: The Gift of Dyslexia
Do they work slowly because they understand that their schooling is not that important to you as is seen through your lack of checking their work, following through on your threats, or even making sure they are doing their work at all? If so, create a plan that has you sitting at the table with them while they work, or move them to where you work, or move as your chores move you. It is very similar to the 24/7-attach-the-puppy-to-you-training that works so well. Just because they are older and can work independently, they need to know that your set boundaries mean something. If you want their Wordly Wise answers to be in complete sentences, you must check often enough to keep the lines clear. This is me right here that I am talking about, and let me tell you how well and how quickly this turn around works. I am amazed at how much love this speaks to my children. Between you and me, they become gushy and mushy little and big darlings. Additionally we all have more time to work and delve into afternoon projects. What lovely side effects! GREAT BOOK: Created for Work
Are their hearts hardened toward your teaching? Making you feel like that awful nagging gong? Try focusing on the child’s needs rather than the book’s pages. We are so quick to believe what the world tells us: (think nasally announcer voice) “The farther you go academically and the faster you get there the more of the world will be open to you.” It is true that more doors will be open to your child, but God has just one that they need walk through, and that is a given that it will be open to them- I am talking earthly doors here since we are talking present tense, in the ditches, working-day reality. They will need to have a soft heart to hear it’s Resident whisper, “That is the door.” Regain their heart, rebuild a trusting relationship based upon something other than one page after another. They can learn at any time. Once they leave your house character will come at a far greater price. Boys want respect. Girls want love. Are you able to respect your sons choice to ignore his schoolwork and sneak gaming time? If you put it in those words he may listen to the words that follow about how successful men are not those who shirk their duty. Then walk away. Can you love your daughters inner beauty even when she chooses coverings which to hide behind? Are you able to tell her how loveable her giggling with a friend is, and how that will make some lucky man joy-filled to wake to each day? Start small. It will grow. You may think you ave nothing to work with. It is there. God is way bigger than we give Him credit for when we are in a rut seeing no way out. GREAT BOOK: Mothers and Sons
If you have a situation that is crushing your joy of teaching reach out and let’s chat ideas and options. Homeschooling is an incredible gift-journey to be able to choose, but it is not the easy road. That being said, we should rarely find ourselves gnashing our teeth and wanting to throw out the baby with the bath water. You might be a homeschooling mama if you are resilient, introspective, and willing to grow regardless personal cost.
You all are doing something amazing. Changing the world one child at a time. It is unbelievable what solid jobs you are doing in building a nation of faith filled, character filled men and women. Oh, and, the nice side effect, they are educated beyond their peers and able to self govern which allows an outward focus for serving others. Thank you for the gift of serving your family!
…..You might be a homeschooling mama if it is 9:45 and you are just thinking about waking your children… (this is one of my ways of avoiding letting them see me distracted from my main goal of raising them. grins and giggles forever!