Looking at new homeschool curriculum and books bring on both excitement and doubts. New starts are always exciting. But if you’re like me, you’re also wondering, “Will I make it through the year? Can I really teach my kids the stuff they need to know?”
You might be asking the most basic question of all: “Will I survive this year?”
Home schooling was one thing I said I’d never do. Amazingly, we’re now starting our 13th year, which is one more proof that you should never say “never.” Today I want to share four things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Trust God for the Wisdom You Need
Whether it’s teaching a child to read, or helping my teen apply for college, sometimes home schooling daunts and intimidates me. Psalm 37:5 offers a valuable nugget of wisdom:
When I feel I’m way in over my head, this verse reminds me that God’s got things under control. Will you join me in committing your homeschool and your kids to Him each morning? Let’s ask God for wisdom and help for each task with each child. I choose to trust that He’ll guide me step by step.
2. Breathe Deep and Slow Down
Some homeschool days go like clockwork. Other days are messy. One kid isn’t getting the Pythagorean theorem, the other one needs help sounding out words, and the third one can’t find her pencil. Then the repairman arrives, and you can’t find your keys to open the door. It’s easy to lose your cool. Take a deep breath and proceed calmly through the next task in front of you.
With God, you can solve issues one by one. A calmer mother always makes for a better home school day.
3. Don’t Push Younger Kids too Much
You need the patience of Job to teach reading and mathematics to young children. If your younger children have trouble paying attention, keep lessons short (10 minutes).
Lighten up or back off when frustration levels rise.
Don’t let the calendar dictate starting times for younger kids. Wait until your child is ready.
We started my daughter in kindergarten just before her 5th birthday, but she wasn’t ready. It got to a point where school wasn’t any fun for her, so we had to slow down. I spent two years teaching her to read. I now realize that if I’d simply waited another year, she could have learned to read in less time with less pressure on everyone.
4. Stay Positive
Every young person wants to feel successful, so give your students lots of positive feedback. For example, teaching writing is my forte, but I have to remember to note what is good about every composition, instead of just underlining mistakes in red.
If your child struggles in one area, seek to reinforce weak skills, but also focus on things he’s good at. When my son hit high school, math became more difficult. I remind him that no one can be perfect in everything. I try to make sure he gets the math help he needs, but I encourage him to focus on excellence in verbal skills and writing.
I hope these tips help you get beyond surviving to thriving.
Anyone out there care to chime in with something they’ve learned about thriving while home schooling?
Linking up with Meredith Bernard at #Woman2Woman Wednesday.