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!
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