For our 20th post in this series, we are blessed to have Victoria, who blogs at Homemaking With Heart in NEW ZEALAND!! How fun is that?? Welcome, Victoria! She has some excellent advice for us today, I pray you are encouraged. About Victoria Boyd: Wife, mother, and follower of Jesus. Passionate about all sorts of things such as worship, the written word, intercession, justice issues, family history, raising children and indigenous peoples. Find her writing on homeschooling, faith, homemaking, parenting, health and other bits and pieces at www.homemakingwithheart.com.
Keeping Your Eyes on the Big Picture
I have a confession to make – sometimes I yearn to know what the ‘other’ life is like. What would it be like to dress up in pretty clothes and put on some make-up that isn’t dried out? Or enjoy a second income and buy some brand new clothes? Or best of all, take a blissful walk on the beach in solitude every day at sunrise, just myself and the Lord? How would it be to just let someone else deal with the character issues in my children on a daily basis? Some days, especially those after another disruptive night’s sleep, my enthusiasm wanes for tackling sibling interactions, preparing wholesome food, and keeping the learning consistent and productive. I find myself letting out a weary sigh and wondering how well I’m going to last the distance on this journey!
Gladly, I have never regretted our decision to home educate our children, as early on we established our ‘why’ with a strong conviction. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt utterly overwhelmed at times!
I’d love to share some of the things I’ve found have gotten me through more difficult days.
Know why you’re homeschooling – I believe this is one of most important things you can do. Having your ‘why’ firmly established gives you an anchor in those rough seas of character issues and ‘least favourite subject’ battles. Although you might tweak your ‘why’ along the journey, it can serve as more than just a simple reminder at times.
Celebrate small victories – When you have a child struggling with a subject, or perhaps multi home-schooling is overwhelming you, notice the small things that are taking place and celebrate them: praise your child when he/she is doing well and be specific about it; enjoy a clean house and laundry put away on the days you manage it; praise your children when they spontaneously share their things or apologise to one another. Progress on some things can seem slow, but when you see change, even just glimpses of it, enjoy it and celebrate it.
Take the day off – One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can wake up one morning, assess yours and your children’s ability to enjoy that day of school work, and make that call to take it easy if need be. Here are some ideas for what you can do instead.
Have a vision – I love the idea of creating a vision for schooling. This is more than just the ‘why’ but about what values you will have as a family, and the unique look and feel of your home educating journey. Are you a family with an emphasis on reaching out to a lost world with compassion? Do you enjoy living books and cultivating a love of learning? Do you like laugh and have fun together? Are you adventurous and enjoy challenges together? Include your children in writing this down, as what they carry in their hearts is important. Put it on display in your home and enjoy the contribution that each family member makes to your ‘whole’ family.
Enjoy your children – Enjoy the tender moments with your children. Close the workbooks when pushing that little bit more is not going to be worth it, and just get a pile of books out to enjoy together. Or if you’re not that way inclined, do what it is that brings you joy together: climb trees, makes indoor forts, tell stories, or kick a football around. But do it together.
Don’t compare yourself – There isn’t a perfect homeschooling family out there. Don’t compare your situation to the Pinterest photos, the perfect sounding blog posts, and the ‘front window’ of people’s lives that you read on Facebook statuses. Just accept and enjoy who you, knowing that the work in you is unfinished and you are greatly loved by the Creator of the Universe. Feed yourself from His Word with the truth – and believe it! Receive His grace and lavish it upon your children.
Go easy on yourself – Find a rhythm to your homeschooling that can accommodate a new baby, moving house, relationship issues, and whatever else is happening in the life of your family. I’ve found I’m much less goal-oriented than I once was – I’m confident that all my children will be academically capable and have acquired the necessary skills for life by the time they leave home, so there’s no rush with trying to squeeze it all in before they turn 10. It’s possible that you won’t finish the year’s curriculum, but don’t worry about it – finish it in the next school year. Or don’t.
Cling to the Lord – Lastly, but by no means the least important, lean on the Lord to meet every need and desire in your heart. He is your helper. He is your greatest source of peace, of encouragement, of joy, of life itself. Let the pursuit of knowing Him be your greatest goal.
Remember that your children’s education is about more than just the academics and attainment of knowledge – it’s about character training, preparing them for life, and passing on skills to be people of character and love that live out the purpose of God for their lives. Keep the focus on building a rich environment in your home of love, inspiration, joy, and safety. You can do it!
Guest Posters wanted: the response to this post has been so great. ya’ll are great. SO, I’m going to open up this series for GUEST POSTERS!! If you are a homeschooler and want to contribute your own “real life homeschooling” post, please email me with your post! I would like to have a picture to go with it. And if you have a blog, I will link back to you! If you want to “grab” the picture in the top of this post, I will let you know when your post will go live and you can use this graphic as a teaser and point people here to read! I really think these will be encouraging to all of us as homeschooling mamas! I hope to share one post per week on this series!!
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