Homeschooling is amazing. We have the opportunity to fine tune our children’s education to fit their personality, gifts, strengths and weaknesses. We can let them follow their interests and provide them with resources that encourage creativity and learning. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime…theoretically. But why is it that reality somehow ends up looking strikingly different than we had pictured?
I’ll tell you exactly why: As I look back over the last 20 years of homeschooling (eight kids), I can say without a doubt that the most intense war I have waged has been against FEAR. We want to KNOW we are doing right by our children. We have visions of our kids not being able to find a job or somehow “failing” as adults and we can feel the big finger pointing back at US. We picture our children resenting us or others looking down their noses in our direction and shaking their heads in grave disapproval. It’s ALL SO HEAVY. And it sucks the life out of us. It can keep us from engaging with our kids and giving them what they really need.
Even if we try to put those futuristic thoughts out of our heads, we have the current obstacles: disapproving relatives and friends, societal expectations, state standards, our own experience with education, self-doubt and the massive overload of information available to us on the internet, books, etc. telling us a million different ways to school our kids.
If I could gently turn your face toward me, I would look into your eyes and say, ” YOU ARE ENOUGH”. I mean that in the sense that you have it in you to guide your children through school and into adulthood WITH GOOD RESULTS. I would also say “YOU AREN’T ENOUGH” in the sense that you don’t have to be your children’s all in all. In fact, you CAN’T be. You weren’t meant to be, so stop torturing yourself.
Here’s the deal: your children are amazing. God instilled in them curiosity and a natural love for learning. Your job is simply not to snuff it out and, believe it or not, that is harder to do than you think. They are resilient, they are full of energy and life and, as homeschooling moms, we get to be part of the process of watching them find their way and fulfill the purposes they were created for. It’s all there, right now, even in your littlest ones. Look into their eyes, hold their hand and let them show you just what they are made of.
I’m not saying our kids don’t need guidance and boundaries. Far from it. In fact, kids are MORE creative within reasonable boundaries. It makes them feel secure and creativity flows from secure kids. I’m saying be a student of your child. What makes them light up? * Where do they love to spend their time? What are their passions? Take notes be they mental or literal. Refer to them often, because until you tune into your child, you can’t possibly give them a fitting education.
What does that mean for us, moms? It means we have to stop being afraid. We have to respect and trust in the natural learning process, and we have to be willing to learn right along with our kids. WE DON’T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING TO GIVE OUR KIDS A GREAT EDUCATION. The beauty of the process is engaging your kids and often learning right alongside them. Our children have far exceeded me in so many subjects and their faces light up when they get to tell me things I don’t know. It also builds their confidence and encourages them to be lifelong learners.
Our world is changing at warp speed and to think that we have any clue as to what it’s going to look like in 20 or even 10 years, is ignorance at best. And therein lies the problem. We are desperately trying to pull off something we have NO capability of doing: educating to prepare for a specific job market. We need to re-think our idea of education and one of the best ways to do that is to stop focusing on the “conventional” version. I don’t necessarily mean we dump everything conventional in the way we homeschool, but instead we start searching for the voices out there that resonate with our hearts for our children. We need to be courageous enough to fight for our kids’ future by fearlessly ferreting out what’s best for THEM. And it’s only stressful when we start to veer off course and let others decide what’s important for OUR kids instead of listening to our instincts and the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
God tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He doesn’t want you carrying unnecessary burdens. Seek His face, yield to His ways. He will be faithful to lead and guide you into His good plan for you and your children.
For more encouragement in your homeschooling journey, go check out my simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling! The Unhurried Homeschooler (aff)