5 Things I Wish I Had Understood When I Started Homeschooling

  1. I’m not the real teacher here.

I thought that I would be the teacher, my children would be the students, and my job would be to teach them using the curriculum that I had chosen. Sound reasonable, right? Little did I know that although that was my plan and expectation, I soon discovered that the Holy Spirit was the real teacher here, I was the primary student in the class, and the curriculum was much more encompassing than Math and Language studies; it was comprised of the trials of life! Passing tests did not involve memorizing facts; rather, it involved hanging on desperately to the Lord’s hand and his promises. Homeschooling is so much more than an information dump from mother to child; it is a character-building exercise for all involved! And yes, the children do learn some academics along the way 🙂

 

  1. I can’t control my children.

When they are little, we can live under the illusion that everything is under our control. We set the rules, and the children obey them (for the most part). We choose what they will learn, where they will go, who they will socialize with, etc. But as they get older, the heretofore neglected reality that our children are not simply extensions of ourselves starts to become apparent. Their personalities, desires, interests, and values may be quite different from ours. This can be quite threatening to a parent who thought that by homeschooling her child, she would be able to influence that child to become, believe, or behave according to some ideal that the parent had in mind. Certainly, we have a major influence on our children’s lives, but if we are homeschooling to produce a certain outcome, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

 

  1. My children are not limited by my lack of knowledge in any subject.

Some mothers disqualify themselves from homeschooling because they could never see themselves teaching math, or biology, or art. They are weak in these areas, and view that as a limitation for their children. I’ve discovered, though, that if you provide your children with some basic resources for learning, they will probably exceed your knowledge in that area of weakness. Perhaps they will end up teaching you! That was true 20 years ago, before we had the internet and all the limitless resources associated with it. How much more true is that today! There is no lack of ways to learn something that you don’t feel adequate teaching.

 

  1. It’s all about relationship.

Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your children that you would not have if they were being educated outside of the home. It’s an opportunity to discover what the Lord put in their hearts and to draw that out. It’s an opportunity to make memories together; learn together; play together; pray together. Homeschooling provides an environment in which to grow in loving God and others. When we began homeschooling in the 1990s, however, the prevailing mindset put too much emphasis on rules, discipline, standards, academics, etc. It was more about protecting our children from harmful influences, enforcing a moral code, and striving for academic excellence than having a fun, relaxing time learning together. Fortunately, that’s not the case today in many homeschool circles. There’s more of an emphasis on building a loving relationship with your children that supports their unique God-given passions.

 

  1. Neither my identity nor my self-worth is based on being a homeschool mom.

This one’s a biggie. As humans, we often equate our vocation with who we are. Then we measure our self-worth according to how successful we feel we have been in that vocation. I’m currently still homeschooling, but that’s not who I am. It is only what the Lord has called me to do for a season (albeit a long one!). I am the Lord’s beloved, a child of God, forgiven, restored, reconciled to Him. That’s my identity; not “homeschooling mom”. Furthermore, my self-worth does not depend on how “successful” I am in my present vocation, however you define that. Am I worth more if my children get straight A’s? If they love the Lord? If they have good social skills? No, I am precious to the Lord independent of my children’s choices or abilities. I am worthy because he loves me enough to lay down his life for me. If I peg my self-esteem on what my children do, I’m in for one emotional rollercoaster ride!!

 

What do you think? Can you relate to any of these?

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