by Marilyn Rockett

Can we finish home educating our children without regret for things we didn’t do? Probably not. We are human and we fail at times. There is no opportunity for a do-over (a sobering thought), but we can adjust again when we frequently examine what is important. In my imaginary do-over, I would pay attention to these things more often:

10.  I would go to bed when I was sick or overly tired instead of pretending the world would end if my children missed a day of lessons.
9.   I would invite friends over to dinner more often and concentrate more on relationships rather than on how the house looks. My children need hospitality experience.
8.   I would listen with my children to my parents’ and grandparents’ stories from their youths and ask more questions about their lives to give my children a heritage and a look at the past generations of our family.
7.   I would cherish all nine months of pregnancy rather than trying to wish them away. I would realize that God has given me (and all parents) the privilege of participating in His amazing miracle.
6.   I would not fret when the kids or the floor get dirty. Mud, dirt, and grass stains mean that they are learning and having fun. Things clean up and are temporary; lessons last forever.
5.   I would compare less the curriculum/material I’m using with what others are using and look more at what is best for my children. I would read aloud more without worrying if the book matches what we are studying at the moment. And I would not worry about finishing anything particular by the end of the year!
4.   I would slow down and limit more the activity outside our home to make time for more responsibility in real life skills and learning.
3.   I would talk less and listen more to my children’s hearts. I would allow my children to fail; children (and all of us) learn valuable lessons through failure.
2.   When I’m busy and my children spontaneously stop me for a hug and kiss, I would never say, “Not now—later. Go wash up for dinner (or clean your room or whatever).” That also means more I love you’s and I’m sorry’s.
1.   Above all else, if I had the chance to live my home education days over again, I would try daily to see every minute of the precious time with my children as important and worthy of my investment, without fretting about small things. I would not worry about what others thought of our home education or how they thought my children compared to other children their ages. I would not place my worth in homeschooling but rather in the Lord alone. I would seize each day as though it might be our last. I would laugh more, worry less about things that I’m not teaching my children, and concentrate on the important things: character, relationships, and life.

We are not perfect parents, but God is perfectly able to make us adequate to raise and teach the children He has given us. No matter our children’s learning styles or our teaching styles, if we teach our children to love God, love others, and love to learn, we have done what He has called us to do. That is a job well done by an imperfect parent.

Copyright 2014, used by permission. Originally published in Texas Home School Coalition’s Review magazine, August 2014. For reprints, contact Marilyn Rockett.

Marilyn Rockett is a veteran homeschool mom of four grown sons and Mimi to eight grandsons (including twins), one granddaughter, and three great-grandsons. She has worked in local, state, and national home education efforts for more than thirty years and is formerly editor in chief for Homeschooling Today magazine. Her book, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, provides organizational helps and encouragement. She has contributed to several books, written numerous articles, and spoken frequently at conferences. Contact at [email protected]