This post was written by Emily Powers of Teachable Mom-ents. Originally published on September 15, 2015.
When I first started homeschooling, my former preschool teaching days came flooding back just like second nature. I set up a preschool classroom and created engaging (labor intensive!) lesson plans. Day one came and I scheduled every moment. I was in my preschool teaching glory, and my star pupil was excelling.
It was picture perfect. But, I felt so much pressure and frustration. After a few months I found myself losing my passion for homeschooling. Then it hit me – I was treating homeschool like “School.” I thought back on the reasons my husband and I wanted to homeschool our children, and realized I wasn’t fulfilling any of them!
We wanted our children to be learning in the comfort and safety of our own home. But, I had created a school room in the farthest corner of our musty basement and we would barricade ourselves in there for hours each morning.
We wanted our children to learn at their pace and based on their interests. But, I was creating extravagant lesson plans that were really for me, and I was pressuring my daughter to perform to my level of expectation.
We wanted Christ to be the focus and center of our homeschool. Oh, we had Bible time. For two minutes each day while my daughter daydreamed, and I tried to make sure we got some Jesus-time in.
We wanted our life to be a vessel for learning. But, I was too focused on our weekly theme and agenda to stop and smell the flowers (weeds) my children had just found, or notice when they asked questions like, “Where does the rain come from?”
I was stuck on the institution of schooling and teaching. I forgot that the goal wasn’t an awesome school room and beautiful art work. The goal was experience and learning. Thus, I began to surrender the “school mindset” that I had trapped my family in.
Here are a few ways to let go of the school mentality…
1. Pray about it. You have heard it before – Let God lead your homeschool. But truly, it is the most important aspect of your entire journey. Ask God to help you, to give you wisdom, and to show you what will work best for your unique family.
2. Make your homeschool the very heart of your home. Whether literally or figuratively – you want your home to breathe wonder and learning. For us, we took this step literally and got rid of the basement school room. We cleared some cupboard space, and made the kitchen/dining room our homeschool haven. Most importantly – create a space where you and your children love to be!
3. Getting to the heart of the matter. The “school things” that I was doing were not bad on their own. And having a school room was not the problem. The problem came because of my heart and mindset. I was so focused on following a schedule, charting our progress, meeting standards, and looking like school – that I was missing the point of homeschooling.
4. Jesus is all over it. This is the best change that we made to our schooling! We have Bible time at breakfast each day and before bed each night. But more importantly, we incorporate God into our day as much as possible. And when we finally got around to learning where rain comes from – we learned that God created the clouds to produce rain – isn’t God amazing?!?
5. It is okay to be messy & relaxed. Let the kids make a mess in the living room creating a giant fort. Let them get dirty building bug villages. They are learning. They are problem-solving and building teamwork. When you feel overwhelmed or frustrated – take a break, cuddle up on the couch with their favorite book…or go on a field trip!
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a heart.” ~William Butler Yeats
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- When Your Homeschool Needs a Fresh Start + Free 2014 Goal Setting Chart - January 1, 2014
- Teaching a Giving Spirit - November 25, 2013