Breaking Free In Your Homeschool Journey
According to dictionary.com fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear of failure, looking bad, not being smart enough, not being good enough, not "Christian" enough, and most if not all homeschool moms fear the idea of "messing up our kids." I mean we have a lot riding on us. If we don't properly educate them it effects their future, and worst of all our kids might fail. Maybe this fear is keeping you from even beginning your homeschool journey at all?
When my kids were small and in a private Classical Christian School I remember saying, "I could never homeschool! I am not smart enough!" Where did that come from? Fear! Of course, I am smart enough to educate my own children and more importantly I'm determined enough! No one is more determined than a mother who is preparing their children for the future?
When my husband got a new job in a different state, we quickly began to look at our educational options. We would be moving mid year so our kids would get a clean start in January. I had never really been able to commit to staying home with my kids, but that was definitely my desire! As we researched options in our new community, we realized the private Christian Schools cost more than double what we were used to paying. This would mean I would definitely have to work full time to pay for their school. I would like to tell you we were super Christian about it and prayed for weeks on end. Let's be real, on a whim and we decided to just try homeschooling. I decided it would be a good idea to just buy all the texts they were using in school and finish those out after Christmas. Haha! That was the first mistake! To say we crash landed and barely made it through to the end of the year is kind of a huge understatement! We not only hated school, but I'm pretty sure we didn't like each other very much either! You see rather than embracing the freedom of homeschool I, fearfully, tried for months to force my kids into the school room model. Rather than learning to love reading and history we sat for hours on end drowning in boredom!
How exactly do you overcome the fear of failure and truly breaking free in your homeschool journey? You must be confident that God has called you into this position of mother and teacher. You must trust that He will give you strength even on the hard days! Being a homeschool parent is a noble calling, and just like anything noble, it will be challenging. I can guarantee you will get tired and frustrated, but IT IS WORTH IT!
Always remember your kids are only home for a season. Embrace and enjoy every one of those seasons! Yes, they will have ups and downs, but decide right now you will have fun at each stage! Decide right now you will love having hyper 8 year olds, smelly middle schoolers, and yes even strong willed teenagers! Don't let your kids hear you complain about them! Let them hear you say out loud what went right this week! NEVER complain about your kids on social media! You can't take that stuff back! If you have struggles then share those privately with close friends or mentors.
Breaking free in elementary school:
Go outside! Let them get dirty!
Play with your kids!
Be silly and have fun!
Don't let fear of end of the year testing keep you from coloring, painting, going on field trips, or just plain ditching school on occasion for some fun!
Take a break! Homeschool moms need respite and renewal!
When it gets a little dicey in middle school:
This is when the desire to complain and be frustrated kicked up a notch for me. RESIST! Be firm but loving in all things!
Encourage and build self esteem!
Allow your child to explore their interests and give them some freedom in curriculum choices.
Tangents are golden! If a lesson takes you down a rabbit hole jump in and enjoy!
Enjoy field trips with friends, and spend extra time with family members.
High school? Teenagers? Oh my!
Do not assume you suddenly HAVE to do a co-op, academy, or online classes for all your credits. You have made it this far! Pray for God to provide you with wisdom and discernment. Of course you may need some help, but never let fear rob you of special moments teaching your students in high school!
Develop strong and open relationships with your teens. Build communication skills and mutual respect with your teens!
Develop relationships with your teen's friends and their parents.
Dive into scripture and speak deep truths in order to prepare them for the next steps of independence.
Allow them to continue to explore and have input into curriculum.
Continue to do field trips (even when they complain).
Explore trade schools, vocational opportunities, and colleges.
LET THEM FAIL!
Never let fear dictate how you home school your children! Decide right now that you can let go of that popular curriculum you secretly hate, that idea or methodology that is driving your kids insane, or even those classes that just aren't working out! Always remember, God has called you, prepared you, and he will give you grace for every day! You have got this! Just dive in and focus on joy!