This post is from contributor, Sharla Kostelyk.
It is easy to become overwhelmed when you are homeschooling.
I find that this time of year is particularly hard for me. I begin to consider if the kids have learned enough, if I covered enough, if I did a good enough job, and it’s easy to feel the panic begin to rise as I think of all that we did not manage to accomplish.
Through the course of any given homeschool year, we inevitably drop a curriculum or don’t manage to get to a unit study we were planning because we get sidetracked along the way. Sometimes it’s a new topic that piques our interest and we go off on an interest-based study trail that leads to another and then to another. Other times, it may be that a particular curriculum just isn’t working for us or for our kids.
And then there are the times when a life event such as an illness, move, loss, or even an exciting event such as an adoption or birth happens and we have a season of putting the books aside and not accomplishing as much.
When we look at homeschooling as a single year, it can be downright discouraging. We can focus on what didn’t get done instead of what did and begin to wonder if our kids will have gotten the education they deserve.
I find that when those moments of doubt creep up, the best remedy, for me, is to remember that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you look at the long view of homeschooling and feel less discouraged than thinking short term:
1. Make a list of all you want your kids to learn before they leave your home. This list can include academic things such as memorizing multiplication tables and having a passion for reading, practical life skills such as being able to cook, do laundry and manage their finances, and character or faith-based things such as being a person of integrity, having a heart to serve others and having a firm Biblical foundation.
The list will likely be long and it is something that will take time (and prayer) to create. You will want to think about the knowledge you accumulated as a child that has helped you most as an adult and perhaps even what you didn’t learn but wish you would have. (For me, it would be things like changing a tire and cleaning a bathroom.)
If you have a spouse, it is wise to consult them when making this list, as the list will serve as a guide for you over the years in how you raise and teach your children.
2. Prioritize the list. Tackle the non-negotiables first.
3. Do the best you can in the time and circumstances you have. There may be things on the list that you aren’t able to teach by the time your child is grown. By giving them the basics, such as reading and the ability to research, you will give them the foundation needed to learn those things for themselves. This is especially true if you have also instilled in them a love of learning!
4. Enjoy your children. They will only be with you for a time, and the chance to teach them is such a privilege! Be sure to find moments to laugh together and get to know each other. Academics are important, but relationships are the most important thing of all!
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