Homeschooling our kids is hard – it takes our time, energy, commitment, focus. But we are okay with that because we want to do the best we can for our kids. But do we make it harder than it needs to be.
4 Ways to make Homeschooler even Harder
Copying school. It doesn’t matter what grade level or age your kids are at the temptation is there to compare them with school and as soon as we see a gap – either in our capacity or in our children’s achievement we start to strive to be like school.
Every system has opportunities and limitations. School does things a certain way because they are a school. You homeschool which gives you a completely different set of opportunities – don’t waste those opportunities by trying to be something else. Make the most of the time you have with your kids, the freedom to dig deep or skip over lightly, or go slow, or go fast. Make the most of your children unique interests and passions, enjoy their strengths, and work on their weaknesses.
Days are too full. It is so tempting to try and do all the things. Study every subject. Take on every opportunity. Homeschooling gives us so many opportunities; admittedly it is hard to decide which ones to pursue and which ones to let go. Be assured that your kids will learn character, knowledge and life skills as they do things outside of book-learning. When we start to see the value in learning in other ways, in other situations, we can find a balance and enjoy life with our kids, instead of holding them to the grind.
Our children need balance in their lives, and we need balance in our lives. We must have time for other parts of life and living: play, chores, friends, health, relaxation, family time, dreaming time….
Over planning. This is a trap I would fall into – I just loved planning lessons and unit studies. All those books, all those fun activities. But I found that if I spent too long planning, then come the time to actually share those lessons with my kids I ran out of puff – I was no longer interested – and it showed in how I talked about that topic with my kids.
Instead we can keep planning to a minimum, just enough so we know some key questions that we want to answer – and we have some good resources and supplies on hand – then we can learn with our kids. When we are excited about a topic, when we model to our kids what it looks like to learn, to ask questions, to dig into knowledge – then we are creating an atmosphere and culture in our family that learning is fun and valuable. Our attitude is so important – we need to be careful we don’t get bored before we even start!
Lack of Obedience, Self-Control and Responsibility. If our children struggle with any one of these four character responses then our days will be hard. I’m not talking about having these traits down perfectly but if your child is struggling to obey, show self control or look after their responsibilities your day will be harder – not only because you will be constantly correcting their attitude and choices, but because they won’t be doing things that will help you get through your day.
The best thing to do when you feel the level of character choices is lacking in your home, is to take a break from the study routines, and focus on attitude and responses. When you spend time working (doing chores) and playing (board games, sports, or outdoor activities) you will create opportunity to teach and practice these character choices. After a few weeks of focusing on doing life well as a family you can go back to your studies knowing that your children have a better grasp on responding well – which will help them learn and you manage your family.
Why we do this to ourselves
We tend to fall into these ways of doing things out of habit – this is how we know education, or this is how we’ve been doing it. It is said that when we are stressed, we revert back to what is our longest experience. School is what we all know (most of us anyway) so when we get overwhelmed, tired, frustrated we will revert back to what we know – even if it is subconscious.
So how to break those habits?
- Consciously assessing how you are making your homeschool days hard
- Intentionally deciding you want to do it differently
- Daily reviewing how you went – and how you could do it differently again tomorrow
- Patiently try again tomorrow….(be patient with yourself, change happens gradually)
Let us know in the comments if we can help you in any way with any of these steps.
We encourage mums in a geographical area to gather together and build relationship and support with each other. If you meet monthly you may find these reflective questions helpful to guide your discussion.
Feel free to share your thoughts here in the comment section
Belinda is married to Peter and they live in the far north of Western Australia. Their four children (Joshua, Jessica, Naomi, Daniel) are all adults now so life looks different as Peter and Belinda move towards a new season of life. Belinda homeschooled for 20 years – taking each of their children from prep to year 12. They have all undertaken some form of adult learning since homeschooling and are moving into finding passions and interests of their own. Belinda’s heart is to encourage mums and dads to build strong families by being intentional and relational in all parts of family life.