It’s that time again. Homeschoolers are beginning to look ahead to another year. We sign up for conferences and make lists of curriculum to preview. But, some of us take a step back and wonder, “Can we keep on going the ‘homeschool’ distance?”
When I first began homeschooling twenty-something years ago, I had a mindset that I would reevaluate after each year. You know — in case I couldn’t handle the pressure and needed to send my daughter back to school.
Thinking we might return to traditional schooling kept me plowing through each subject with great gusto. I wanted to make sure my daughter would be in sync with the school system. This mindset sabotaged us because we did more pushing than enjoying learning.
I was worried. Could I endure another year of full-time work in my home along with child rearing? Yes, homeschooling is a full time job! If so, I would need to make some adjustments.
After much prayer, a light bulb went off in my head.
These tweaks were my path to education as a lifestyle:
- I began to relax and let God lead me to deviate from curriculum if learning led us to do so. This flexibility inspired more lighthearted times and laughter! My daughter loved frogs, hands on activities and co-ops, so I let those be a guide.
- I realized that hands on learning won over writing in work books all day. Hands on activities helped us develop a love of learning v.s the ‘push on through’ mentality.
- I became more intentional about planning meals. Instead of waiting until 4 or 5 o’clock when I was exhausted from the day, I started meal prep in the morning or early afternoon while I still had energy. When dinner time approached, I only needed to put a few things together to complete the meal.
- I found ways to incorporate the things about education that I loved: hands on art, cooking, and gardening projects. These things brought me refreshment and enjoyment through the journey.
- I came to terms with the truth that being an educator mom is one of the highest callings. William Wallace spoke truth when he said, “He who rocks the cradle, rules the world.”
- I scheduled in weekly mom time. We need to take an exercise class, have coffee with a friend, or have our nails done without feeling guilty! It’s like having your oil changed. You won’t go far without problems if you don’t.
- Be more vulnerable with other homeschool moms. I would be proactive in finding moms who wanted to swap kids so I could get a break. Don’t be afraid to admit you are floundering. You will find you are not alone in that experience and can strategize solutions together.
- I would take teacher work days off, just like the public schools, and use them for whatever I needed. Sometimes it was missed Bible study and prayer. I learned that if I stayed connected with the heavenly control tower, I would know how and where to land the plane of this unique educational experience without crashing.
- I reminded myself character training outweighed getting math finished and correct my children with loving tones. I would do what I could and let God do the rest.
- I would let my curriculum work for me v.s. being imprisoned by it. I modified it wherever necessary. If a writing assignment was too overwhelming, I would set it aside or alter it. If there were too many math problems, I would have them do the odd numbers only. You only need so much practice once you know a concept. I supplemented with outside reading when my insatiable reader needed more.
By altering my homeschool philosophy a more relaxed one, I was able to keep going the ‘homeschool’ distance. Twenty years later, my two children finished college with honors and love God. Not a bad harvest!
It was worth it to keep on going along the path my heavenly Father led me to. It might not have been easy at times, but it yielded amazingly sweet fruit for His kingdom.
Click here to access another great article on strengthening homeschool connections.
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