As our homeschool year winds down and comes to a close, I feel a little bit like I’ve hit a wall. With temperatures climbing into the 80s here in Oklahoma, the kids have been running out of steam, and suddenly all those crafts and projects I excitedly pinned to various boards don’t seem worth the effort.
The lack of motivation in our house right now is palpable, and at times like these, I wonder if my investment over the past 9 months was even worth it.
Maybe you’re in the same place today. You started out the year strong, but as the months ticked by things didn’t go according to plan.
That boxed curriculum with all of its promises just didn’t deliver. Your child struggled to meet certain academic goals that you believed he or she would excel at.
Instead of patiently and joyfully leading your children through learning experiences, you became frustrated with their lack of understanding and enthusiasm.
Your house may be in major need of a deep cleaning, and you can’t remember the last time you spent time with friends that didn’t involve a field trip or a learning co-op. Despite your tireless training and daily scripture reading, that child seems to still struggle with the same behavior issue.
You start to believe your kids would just be better off in “regular school” if you’re going to get the same return for your investment.
If we had a vision of what the school year was going to look like, and it didn’t match our expectations, we think that it was a failure. Sometimes we get tunnel vision as homeschooling moms, so focused on one or two particular goals, that we overlook the progress our children made in other areas.
My preschooler finished her Handwriting Without Tears book early and met the goals I had for her concerning number recognition and counting to 20. Instead of just letting her play and explore with puzzles and Play-Doh however, I’m having her sit down and practice writing her numbers, something she is not super excited about.
There’s a time and place for encouraging kids to push ahead when they’re not motivated, but age 4 is not it!
Sometimes we fall into the comparison trap and forget that one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling is that our kids get a fully customized learning experience. Their pace of development and way of learning doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
Our homeschool doesn’t have to look like the moms whose picture perfect blog articles we pine over. We might be projecting our desires for success onto them, and creating a lot of unnecessary stress.
Modifying our expectations for them and ourselves will make a huge difference in being able to enjoy this journey, instead of viewing it as a race.
Finally, we may need to redefine our meaning of return on our investment. The dividends may just not be apparent to us yet.
Recently, I had two women tell me that it is obvious I homeschool my children because of how polite and well behaved they are, and how nicely they get along. One even said she had never met a child that was as well spoken as my seven-year-old son! That’s exactly what I needed to hear.
Perhaps while we’re busy pouring into our children, and feeling like the outcome is very minimal, God is working through us to build in them character, responsibility, and servanthood. All of that time, energy, and sacrifice on your part is not in vain.
By learning at home with you, they weren’t rushed in the mornings or bullied by peers. They weren’t taught a one-size fits all curriculum with values that run counter to yours. They had the freedom to explore, create, observe, and design without time and environmental constraints.
Most of all they spent quality time with you and their siblings, forming solid bonds and developing a love for their Creator. Your investment has an eternal impact!
Rachel O. says
Oh my gosh, I so want to homeschool every time I read about all the benefits! I am still trying to decide what to do about my four year old’s school career. This is a good post for not only homeschoolers, but those considering it as well!
Lori Ferguson @EncourageYourSpouse.com says
I’m a “graduated” homeschooling mom of two. Our kids were educated at home till they went to college. They finished college on the Dean’s List, and both are now adults working in fields they love (running a business with employees & the other is a sign-language interpreter working with the deaf).
I used to wake up at 2AM and wonder if I was ruining my kids’ lives… I knew I wasn’t making the best use of every day, and the guilt ate me up. My son didn’t read (well) until he turned 12 – it was like a switch in his brain turned on and he’s been an avid reader ever since – but you can imagine my angst as his “teacher”! We were the first people in our circle of friends/family/church who homeschooled, so I was constantly defending our choice, while wondering privately whether I was doing the right thing…
End result? Both kids have thanked me for teaching them at home. Both kids plan on homeschooling their own kids. (our son just had his first child). And best yet? Both my son and daughter love to learn! I’m in awe of them as the adults they’ve become.
You ask if the return on investment is worth it? Oh, YES! Double, and triple YES.
Don’t give up! Keep going! Surround yourself with encouragers, and if you’re weak in a specific area, find another homeschooling parent to pitch in, while you help with her/his kids in your strong areas. There’s nothing sweeter than having your kids thank you for “letting” them stay home while they were young.
What great info. I only have one boy and figured it was best for him to go to the public school in the mountains, since we don’t have a very large home school group. This is great info for those wanting to pursue it, though. #HomeMattersParty
Healing Mama says
Marisa I totally get it. I’m homeschooling my 4yo and I wonder everyday if I’m doing a good job. I always wonder if she is learning anything or if she is behind. But I love the ending about how we are pouring into our children and building their character. Lori your story is very encouraging.
Thank you for sharing. I will be starting to homeschool my 4 year old this year and falling into the comparison trap will be the hardest for me. #HomeMattersParty
blake mandelberg says
interesting post – i can see how pre conceived notions on home schooling might have changed in more recent years — or perhaps rather that they should change! Thanks for sharing with us at #homemattersparty xx Bee
Oh my god, I don’t have anybody in my circle who homeschool their kids. By reading your experience it seems like not an easy job at all.
Crystal Green says
I needed to read this because lately my kids aren’t doing as hot in school as they have in the past, but we’ve also drastically changed the way we do things now. It has me concerned. I was even thinking of giving up on the homeschooling journey because of how poorly they are doing compared to years past. However, this post has given me the courage to keep at it.
Thank you for sharing this on the #HomeMattersParty and being a co-host.
Keep at it Momma. Sometimes our biggest accomplishments in teaching our children come at a later time. Hope you enjoy this summer!
Jeanne Grunert says
It must be hard to homeschool your children. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. #HomeMattersParty
Charlene Asay says
It has got to be one of the hardest jobs to be mom and homeschool as well. I have never done it but kudos to those who do. Thanks for linking up with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up party this week.
Daisy Suman says
It is such a beautiful reminder. I homeschool my 4.5-year-old and question myself daily. On days, when I let him “lead the fun” are the days I compare and worry about him being left behind the rest of the world because he ends up spending the whole day playing. On the days, when I push him towards a curriculum based programme are the days which end in tears. Then again, there are some beautiful days when my need to keep him in sync with regular school and his need to have fun while learning match exactly and we have a fabulous day playing and learning together! I wish every day was the third kind but it never is. So yeah, I have to keep on reminding myself of the reasons I pulled him out of regular school and how he is thriving in many other areas where he was struggling earlier. Awesome post!
Michelle James says
Great information for homeschooling parents or parents considering homeschooling. Thanks for sharing #HomeMattersParty
Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai says
What a great post for those interested in homeschooling (or already doing it). Thanks for sharing and being a wonderful co-host of the #HomeMattersParty – we love having you on the team! 🙂
Life With Lorelai
I love Lori’s comment, how great that both her children thanked her for homeschooling! It’s so wonderful to watch your children learn. Marisa, not sure how you do homeschool and blog but keep it up 🙂 I’m sure you are doing great!!