Preparing the Homeschool Teacher
We’ve talked in the previous lessons about how natural homeschooling for the heart actually is— that’s because largely what we’ve talked about has been the missional, parenting, and discipleship elements of it. I hope you have a better understanding now just how important those element are… ‘cause, remember, if you gain their minds but lose their hearts, you’ve lost the battle.
So, before we transition into the next module, let’s take a quick look at ourselves and how homeschooling may impact us personally.
Many homeschool parents I’ve met are among the most accomplished and intelligent people I know— and yet, may are still plagued by doubts and fears and frustrations. Why is that?
Maybe they’re focusing on the wrong things… maybe they have no vision for their mission… that’s really why we started there in this course. Those things are so important for carrying you through…
But the doubt, fear, and frustration are real, and you’re likely to experience some or all of them from time to time— even if you have set up your homeschool correctly, so let’s talk a little bit today about how to prepare yourself for that.
Are ya ready?
It’s actually really important to consider and prepare yourself for how this life choice will impact you as the homeschool teacher, as a spouse, as a parent, and even as a person. For a lot of us, the very last person we ever think about is ourselves, but if we aren’t paying attention to the emotions brewing inside of us, we may find that we’re totally taken aback when we get to the end of our rope.
We’ve talked about how natural most of homeschooling really is, but let’s be honest… the academic part?… not particularly natural at all. We have to work at that. We have to plan for that, and for many of us, we feel like fish out of water when we do.
So first off, let’s talk about feelings of inadequacies. Those are big torture devices for us homeschooling moms in particular.
To help combat this, I encourage you to remind yourself once again of why you’re homeschooling in the first place. It’s doubtful that there’s a single selfish reason involved in the sacrifices you’re making, so reminding yourself of that higher call we discussed— the call that is for the good of your children and your children’s children—will take the focus off yourself and place it back where it should be… focusing on anyone other than yourself makes it much easier to avoid feelings of inadequacy.
Our third anchor comes in really handy right here—> Remember, your hope isn’t found in your own efforts or worth. Your hope— your confident expectation like we discussed from Hebrews 6— is found in Christ Alone.
You don’t need to worry about being inadequate, because He Who called you to this mission promises never to leave you or forsake you while you’re on it!
Another way to combat those feelings of inadequacy is to recognize that you’re growing and learning— right along with your children.
Are you the perfect parent? I doubt it— none of us are.
Are you the perfect homeschool teacher? It’s unlikely— we all have our blindspots and there is definitely a learning curve to what you’re doing.
So the real question to ask yourself is “Am I growing and changing?”
Are you engaged in becoming a better parent?
Are you learning better ways to teach within your homeschool?
Are you talking to credible people and reading good materials?
Are you praying and asking God for strength and wisdom for each day?
You may not have “arrived” yet, but you’re moving in that direction— and I would imagine that most of the things you feel inadequate about, your children and spouse don’t even recognize.
It’s amazing how differently our children remember things than how we do… I remember feeling like I was failing them… I remember wondering if they’d be prepared for the next step of the journey… I remember being disorganized and messy…
They, however, don’t remember it that way at all! They remember their younger homeschool time fondly. At the table, they laugh and talk about things they remember… and things we did… and things that happened.
I praise God that though I felt inadequate— HE was always sufficient. He is enough. His ways are best, and His grace is sufficient. You will find the same things to be true as you focus on your mission and those impacted by it— so don’t give in to the lies of the devil that make you want to give up.
The next big thing I want to encourage you to consider about yourself is how you’re gonna react to certain things. Generally-speaking, you need to go with your natural bent in how you set up and attack your homeschool days— otherwise, you’ll find it’s much easier for you to get frustrated or even break.
So, If you’re super organized and you gain peace through that, think about how you need to plan your time… What your ideal day would look like? You may want to spend some time researching planners and strategies to help you manage you home and homeschool, so you can jump into this year with a more of a sense of control over your days.
A word of caution here, though, don’t sacrifice your mission on the altar of your well-designed plan. Flexibility is a homeschool subject some of us moms and dads need to focus on a bit in our own lives, since being flexible allows us to be available when those precious Teach Them Diligently moments appear.
Next, if you’re a person who really, REALLY needs alone time to collect your thoughts and process things, you’ll want to consider THAT in setting up your days as well.
A mama who needs that time to figure things out but never allows herself to have it will find that she’s burnt out and brittle very quickly. YOU are going to want to guard against overcommitting yourself and your family. You may even want to talk to your spouse about how to work in some time of quiet into your days to allow you to stay balanced personally.
I’m very much an introvert by nature… When the kids were young, I would often go out on Sunday evenings after church and supper to plan my week. That also afforded me time to be still and quiet. Additionally, I always made a point to get up earlier than they did every morning. I’d have my devotions and prayer time, and plan my day before the chaos ensued. Recognizing I needed that time, changed the way I approached other elements of our day. I didn’t plan to start school at 8 am, because I knew that if I did, I was sabbotaging my own quiet time in the morning— and the rush of getting everyone up, ready, and in a school mindset would make me crazy before the day had even begun.
Third, you must recognize that taking care of yourself is not a selfish pursuit!
If you aren’t functioning well… if you aren’t healthy… if you aren’t emotionally stable, you’re not gonna be able to fulfill your mission as effectively. So, take care of yourself!
Finding time for activity, rest, education, fellowship, etc. can be much easier when you look at it through the lens of your mission. You can even combine a lot of things— I found that exercise was a must, so I often combined it with time spent with my kids. When they were very young, I’d put them in a stroller or wagon and walk… when they were a bit older, I’d jump on the trampoline with them or play tag… as they grew and found interests of their own, I learned the sports they were playing.
Those times of activity together built great habits in them, too— and they set the stage for the relationships we have today— and the fun we have playing tons of stuff together- even as they’re older teens and young adults. I had NO IDEA that I was building towards that… I just knew that my body needed to be taken care of, and I wanted to use that opportunity to do active stuff with my children. Isn’t God Good???
Finally, be sure that you’re investing enough time in continuing education for yourself. You’ll feel a lot more confident in your mission and in your ability to do it well if you’re spending quality time in Bible study and prayer, attending conferences and get togethers with other homeschoolers with whom you can share ideas and gain knowledge, and so forth. I invite you to join us in Teach Them Diligently 365, where you can get access to over 2,000 audio and video resources, a community of like-minded homeschool families and more. We’re there 365 days a year to encourage you to stay focused, stay joyful, and stay on track in your mission.
Now that we’ve take a little bit of time to turn the focus on ourselves as teacher… let’s move on to see how our relationships with our spouse and children are going to be impacted when we homeschool for the heart.
Preparing the Homeschool Teacher
Taking your own personality into consideration goes a long way towards setting your homeschool up for success.