This past fall many families jumped into homeschooling for the first time. Others made a renewed commitment. But spring has sprung, children are antsy, mom is tired, frustration is building, interest is waning.
If this sounds like you — don’t worry; you are not alone! If possible, declare a week of spring break and use the time to refresh yourself, and renew your interest and commitment. If taking an entire week off is not possible, take a day, or simply find time in the day to set aside to focus on your needs as a homeschool mom, and the needs of your children and family.
Here are a few thoughts you might consider.
- What prompted you to homeschool? If your convictions were born from answered prayer, turning back may not be a choice. Remember, if God has called you to do something, He will make a way. But you must listen to and obey His guidance!
- What fruit are you seeing? If you look closely, can you see positive progress in some areas? Which ones? What is working? Sometimes the negatives cast a pall over the entire process. Look for the good!
- Do you find yourself comparing your family and homeschool to others and falling short? What if you compared your family and homeschool to what God wants for your family and homeschool? Does that brighten the picture?
- Are you homeschooling under your own power? Do you have delusions of “superwoman?” Whose voice are you listening to? The world has odd ideas about “success.”
- Are you honoring the individuality of each child? Are your expectations of each child realistic? Do you feel you need to be at a certain place because the scope or sequence says so? Is your pace too fast or too slow?
- What specific things are causing problems? What things have made homeschooling difficult? Make a list. Prayerfully discuss the issues as a family. Sometimes the troublemakers are the simplest to change! Here are common impediments:
- Schedule. Are you over-scheduled? Struggling under too much “stuff”? Do you have time each day to focus on relationships? Try combining subjects or children. Consider a unit study. Drop the superfluous things that your children can learn on their own without a structured program of instruction. Scale back outside-the-home activities. Spend more time together with your children. Take a day off now and then to just enjoy! Live!
- Attitudes. Character first has new meaning in a homeschool situation! Don’t allow bad attitudes, laziness, sloppiness or dawdling. Everything can be done well, on time and in neat order – even if it means accomplishing less, especially in the beginning as these new habits are developed.
- Methods. Perhaps your approach doesn’t fit one or more children. Perhaps a textbook-dictated schedule is overwhelming the family. Perhaps reading more books together as a family or working on projects would be more beneficial. Read about the various methods. You don’t have to make a sudden switch to something completely different. Instead, pull ideas from what you read and incorporate them into your lifestyle.
- Materials. Are you putting too much faith in the books you use? The materials we use are usually the first things we change because they usually get the lion’s share of the blame, and they are tangible. But switching books will not necessarily bring the type of change we are looking for if we are already frustrated.Really, any materials can be used for the most part, if you USE THEM instead of letting them use you. Instead of throwing the books out, remember that you don’t have to do all of the busy work. You can read through texts and discuss them instead of filling in blanks. You can work every other problem in math if your child “gets it.” If you do decide that a particular curriculum isn’t meeting your needs, determine WHY before you sell and buy something else.
Those of us who have homeschooled for some time now could tell you stories — of failures, discouragement, disappointments and times when we wanted to throw in the towel. But our commitment only strengthens when He brings us through each trial, large or small. Those trips “up against the wall” serve to mold and change our homeschools into what they need to be to effectively serve Him and our children. And when we come through them we know where our real strength lies.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.’
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
I pray you will listen to His voice as He shows you “You CAN Do It” — through Him!