I’m going to be posting a bunch of homeschooling resources I’ve found and what we’re doing right now for anyone who might find it useful. But for now, a brain dump about homechooling…
Our children are still very young – 3, 18m, and due March 21st. So, “homeschooling” for us is just doing daily life, following their interests, training them in things manners and character, and focusing gobs and gobs of time and energy teaching them about who God is, how to love Him, and how to love others.
In the meantime, I’ve been collecting information and ideas about what homeschool will look like for us in the future. I am also learning more about how it might work based on God’s call on our family and the styles and personalities he has given each of us.
I’ve gone back and forth about whether to do formal preschool with the kids and what to teach them. The truth is, I got stuck in analysis paralysis. Recently, God kind of knocked me upside the head and refocused me on what really matters. I thought I’d share some of what I’m learning with you, even though I’m still just getting my feet wet:
God is the only effective director of your plans.
This is the biggie. I tend to operate in a way where I try to carry out God’s marching orders all on my own. “What’s that, God? Want me to teach my kids at home? OK! I’m on it. I’ll check in with you every two weeks and hope I earned a gold star.” Yeah… not the best idea.
God chose Aaron and I to raise and teach these children of His. Christ may be the authority in family, but He has also entered into a partnership with us in many ways. To succeed by any measure in this parenting journey, we MUST rely on Him for the what and the when and the how of everything we do.
All that sounds easy when I read back over it, but it’s not. It’s really hard. I’ve got what my sister lovingly calls “the brain fog.” There are days when I can barely remember the names of common objects. Or my children. I also have a horrible tendency to always try to do things on my own strength – it gets me in trouble a lot.
If I want to get a right start on this, I must allow God to homeschool me for a while during these early years. It’s a really painful process for me. I sincerely hope you don’t need the same kind of bootcamp I do. 🙂 But it’s also starting to be a beautiful process that is producing fruit as well. Here’s what He’s teaching me:
- Get deep in the Word – not just disciplined (although that’s important and I’m working on it) but absolutely dependent on it for living.
- Hiding His Word in my heart – memorizing, starting with what will help me through my own character issues as well as what will instruct me and my children.
- Constantly leaning on Him in prayer – for the big stuff and the small stuff. Being faithful to pray for the issues of training and discipline, teaching and instruction. For direction in homeschooling.
- Turn to Him, first thing, instead of turning to <fill in the blank> – when I struggle with something, to seek Him out first in prayer and in His Word instead of googling it or wondering “what would Super Christian Mom do?”
This is the most important thing going on right now in our family concerning homeschooling.
You may have a great plan, but the timing may not be right.
When Jaron was 2 I started a planned-ahead Bible curriculum with him. It was incredibly successful. He retained and made connections that wowed me – not just rote memorization of facts. He STILL remembers those lessons! But none of us were really ready for this step, so we stopped. And that’s ok.
Keep information and ideas in perspective.
I have friends all over the spectrum as far as what what, when, and how of homeschooling. It is fascinating! I love collecting ideas, getting inspiration, reading blogs, asking questions, hooking into homeschooling networks, etc. This is a valuable and useful thing to do, especially for someone like me with no prior homeschooling experience. As long as I don’t fall into the trap of comparing! What is best for one family probably isn’t for mine. If I start comparing, I get insecure and confused.
Your style and personality matters just as much as your kids’.
Learn what works for you AND what works for your kids, and fit your plans around that. For example, If I don’t have a plan, nothing will happen. Even for simple things, like reading a lot to my kids, involving them in cooking, going for walks, talking about obedience… if I’m not in the habit of doing them, I must create the habit by following a plan for a while. On the other hand, while my son thrives on structure, he gets frustrated with too much of it. So a loose, flexible plan and daily structure seems to be the way to go. Once a habit is established, we move onto something else.
Stop flipping out! Relax, have fun, and try some new things!
This is also hard for me. I like to joke that I’m a perfectionist without the skill set to carry out my perfectionism. 🙂 Deep down, I’m thinking there’s a “right way” out there (preferably in PDF format and bullet listed) and all I have to do is follow it to the letter and voila! Perfectly behaved and educated kids.
In reality, our family changes almost daily. Without the solid rock of Christ to stand on, even in the little things of life, it will be chaos. So we’re starting over, renewing our thinking about this homeschooling journey, and finding out what God has planned for us. When all is said and done, God’s got it covered.