Wrapping up the Homeschool Year and Thoughts on Tutoring

Every year when we finish our homeschooling session, I archive my children’s work, write out a transcript if they are in high school, and take off my teacher’s hat for a couple of months. Normally my scope and sequence chart for the following school year is planned and the curriculum and resources needed are ordered by mid-May. Then I can just enjoy the summer and not have to think about school.

I guess this year is going to be different. Due to various circumstances, I still have some planning and purchasing to do before we are ready for the next school year (which starts the 3rd week of August for us). In addition to that, I took on a tutoring job for part of the summer. I wasn’t really keen on it, but the Lord opened the door and I kind of got pushed into it! But I see that the Lord has a plan in it all…

Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of thoughts on homeschooling. One thing I did differently this year was to ask my child to evaluate all the courses/activities we were involved with this year. What did she enjoy the most/least and why? It was a profitable exercise, and I received some insights, surprising at times, that will help me in planning future educational endeavours. I think it would be a worthwhile exercise for any homeschooling mother to do with their children.

My tutoring experience has been an eye-opener so far. Let me tell you, tutoring is *much* more challenging than homeschooling your own child! When you homeschool, you choose the curriculum; you set the objectives; you know your child; and any learning difficulties can be corrected on the spot. Tutoring is a whole different ball of wax! You are given a child to tutor that is not your own, has followed a different curriculum, has been taught by a different teacher, and probably has numerous gaps in his learning that you must somehow discover and fill. In addition, the preparation time for tutoring has been much more extensive in my experience than what I take to prepare for homeschooling my child.

I must say that it has given me a new appreciation for the methodical, thorough way my children have been educated compared to the seemingly piecemeal approach used in our public schools. If I may use an analogy, homeschooling has been like building a house a little at a time on a solid foundation; whereas tutoring has been like trying to repair a house that has been built on a shaky foundation, with crooked walls that could contain mold or other unseen defects in them. It’s so much easier to plan and build a house from the ground up vs. repairing someone else’s poorly-built house!

Take heart, homeschool mothers. Your one-on-one investment in your children in those early years, teaching them to master those foundational math and language skills, will pay off in the long run. They will have a firm foundation on which to build more advanced knowledge and skills. Your diligence when your children are young will make an enormous difference in their future.

1 Corinthians 3:10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.”

Advertisements

Great Review of my Book Stress-free Homeschooling by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

I received this very positive review of my devotional book Stress-Free Homeschooling: 31 Days to a Healthier Way of Thinking by Kelly Burgess of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!! Thank you so much, Kelly and TOS Magazine! I wrote this devotional book specifically for homeschooling mothers, but any parent who struggles with negative thinking or discouragement could benefit. I pray that it will be a blessing to you! Stress-free Homeschooling: 31 Days to a Healthier Way of Thinking by Laura Hum is available in print at The Learning House, and as an e-book at Barnes and Noble Nook, Lulu, and the iTunes store.
Update: ebook now available at Amazon and kobo as well.

Stress-Free Homeschooling: 31 Days to a Healthier Way of Thinking Review by Kelly Burgess

This product is essentially a thirty-one-day devotional journal that helps the homeschooling mom regain positive thinking and thereby reboot what may otherwise be a stressful homeschooling environment. It’s printed in a compact, easy-to-carry, spiral-bound booklet that is easy to keep at hand for daily encouragement.

I’ve been homeschooling my children for fourteen years now, and I can honestly say that I’m feeling a bit weary and battle-scarred in this home stretch with five more years to go until the youngest child goes to public high school. Each of my three children are so different, and each one has presented their own set of challenges, both in their education and in their behavior. at home. Homeschooling is a full-time job, and full-time in this case means around the clock. It’s a lifestyle that requires an ongoing commitment that involves continuous self-sacrifice. There’s no escaping the fact that it can drain your reserves on the best of days.

Because of that, I’ve really been longing to find something that would recharge my batteries and help me have a more positive outlook on this monumental task of homeschooling. I don’t want to feel like giving up on this important commitment, and I can honestly say that this book has given me lots of positive messages to ponder and internalize. It has helped me see things in a new light.

Each day’s message begins with a concern or feeling of discouragement about which you might find yourself praying to the Lord. Then the author shares how that same negative thought has plagued her in her homeschooling journey, but she goes on to use scripture to explain how the Lord wants us to view the situation. She helps guide the reader into a more positive approach and helps you find ways to see the issue with fresh eyes and a biblical perspective. Then at the end of the explanation, she leaves the reader with a scripture reference for further study and blank lines to record your thoughts and reflections on the topic.

As I read through the book, I felt encouraged that the author has experienced the same frustrations and worries that I have experienced in my homeschool, which let me know that these negative thoughts and feelings of discouragement are not unique to me only. I’m not having them simply because I’m a bad mother or a poor instructor. Instead, she reminds me that Satan is always ready to use these down-times to bring about self-doubt and to try to lead me away from leaning on God for his mercy and direction. As I read each day’s message, I felt a sense of calm and was reminded that God has called me to this task and will see me through it. I learned how to take a negative situation and view it as a building block that can result in a positive learning and growing experience in both my life and the lives of my children.

I highly recommend this book to every mom who has let doubts, fears, and frustrations creep into her homeschool. The positive perspective and scripture references brought me to a place of peace for the first time in a long time. I can do this! In Him, all things are possible.

 

-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®, LLC, May, 2017

http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product-reviews/?rid=6233

On the Value of Questions

I was raised in an era where questioning things was not actively encouraged. In fact, it was sometimes perceived as being outright rebellious. Authority figures were to be obeyed; experts were to be trusted; scientific theories were to be believed; facts were to be learned. Yet as I get older, I realize how vitally important questions are to progressing in various spheres of life.

In education: Traditional learning methods have emphasized the memorization of facts and formulas. While this approach is certainly valuable in gaining a foundational understanding of some subject, it falls short in many ways. Sometimes the facts to learn seem irrelevant to the student, other than to solicit a good mark on the test. Yet when a child has a question, an inquiry, a real-life problem to solve, he is motivated to research, learn, and find the answer to his question. In the process, he gains independence and a feeling of accomplishment. This is far superior to simply memorizing some tidbit of knowledge that the teacher gave him.

In faith: It is through the preaching of the gospel that a hearer can understand that Jesus is the Savior and can then place their faith in Christ. It is through the teaching of biblical doctrine that a new believer can come to understand who God is, what he has done for them, and how to grow in their relationship with God. Both of these are essential to passing on the Christian faith to others. However, it is a healthy process to question what is being taught. If everything taught is blindly believed, how can one safeguard against false doctrine? Even if the teaching is biblically correct, there is great value in asking questions to discover what people have understood from the teaching, what they believe, and how to apply God’s word in their lives. It is often in discussion that beliefs are solidified, hearts are encouraged, misunderstandings corrected, and inspiration given. Preaching and teaching are wonderful gifts, but discussion enables people with different gifts to have a positive impact on one another as well.

In science: The very basis of scientific investigation is testing a hypothesis, or question. Scientific theories attempt to explain observable data, but a theory is not an irrefutable fact. Further questioning and research will bring us more reliable explanations of why things happen. We live in an era when honest questioning and independent research is sometimes suppressed and even punished by governmental agencies or large companies that don’t want some scientific studies to be made known. They prefer that people believe in their propaganda and policies instead. It appears that honest questioning of the safety of vaccines or the efficacy of traditional approaches to cancer, for example, are too much of a threat to allow. Much progress could be made in these fields if questioning and research were not ridiculed and opposed.

In relationships: Questions are of great benefit in relationships, as well. It is in asking questions of a person that we get to discover what they really think; how they feel; what their goals, joys, and sorrows are. It is in getting to know a person that we can develop a more loving, satisfying relationship with them. Here are some questions that can be asked with the goal of getting to know them better. Communication is a two-way street, and some people are more reluctant to express what is going on in their hearts. But an appropriate question could possibly open new avenues of understanding and intimacy.

So, don’t be afraid of questions. They are invaluable!  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7