by Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
What am I doing? Will I ruin them? What is the goal? Can I keep it up? Every homeschool parent has asked at least one of these questions at one time or another. As we begin this new school year, these questions can nag at us and either make our commitment to homeschool waver, or they can give us the conviction and confirmation we need to continue.
What Am I Doing? You hold them close when they are born and let them know you are there and will take care of them. You provide all they need even if it means sacrifice of your sleep and your time. You teach them to walk, talk, count, and say please and thank you. By the time they are kindergarten age, you have been their primary teacher and have taught them most of what they know. It has been a natural progression of learning. And every step after this will continue being a natural progression of learning. But somewhere along the way, you ask yourself, “What am I doing?” Maybe you heard there is someone out there more qualified than you who can do this. Maybe you ask yourself if you will ruin your children’s chance at success in life!
The same teaching that made your little ones successful at being who they are now, is the same natural teaching that will take them into life on their own successfully. You are the most important and best possible person for this job. You love them and know them better than any other “expert.” In fact, you are the expert on your child’s learning styles, likes, dislikes, character, and academic abilities.
You are giving them the freedom to learn in their own unique way, to develop passions for ideas and knowledge, and nurturing their curiosity. You are answering their questions—no matter how many. You are loving them by giving them this freedom to learn and love learning. You are the expert in their sleep patterns, their nutrition, and their physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and academic needs. You are the expert!
So, what are you doing? You are pouring your life into theirs. You are giving them the best one-on-one tutoring environment available. You are giving them the best start in life they could possibly receive. You are not ruining your child, you are setting them up for success. By the time they leave your home, they will be well-rounded, excellent in character, well- socialized, academically excellent, civically minded, compassionate, and positive contributing members of society. (See Homeschooling Grows Up, by Dr. Brian Ray.)
Planning for Success You have already set them up for success by choosing to educate them at home. Now what? The best plan is to actually just have a plan. Take some time and write out the answer to these questions:
- What will your day look like (best use of your time)?
- What will your learning environment look like (kitchen table, dedicated schoolroom, etc.)?
- What are your goals for each child (Jane needs to learn fractions; Joe would love art instruction)?
- What will your curriculum look like for each child (make a list for each required subject: Bible, math, science, history, language arts, etc.)?
By this time, you may have already started educating at home, and you are floundering a bit. Let’s see if we can answer the question of what is the goal?
What Is the Goal? In the beginning, your goals may have been to keep them learning while you kept them safe, warm, fed, and loved. The only new goals you are going to add are the spiritual and academic ones. If you want to see your children walk in God’s truth when they leave your home, then your goal is to teach them to walk in His truth while they are still there. If your goal is to see them graduate your home as excellent in character and academics, then you are going to be teaching them good character and excellent academics now. The main goal of our instruction is discipling them in the ways of God. To know Him and make Him known. To love Him and love others. Simple goals; eternal consequences.
Can I Keep It Up? If you are looking at the end goals while you are working right here in the day to day, you will be able to stay firm in your commitment. Hard circumstances, difficult people, finances, health, and so many other things can hinder our perseverance. But keep your eyes fixed on the goal and the Author of it (Hebrews 12:2). You are not ruining your children: you are being good stewards of His children as you keep them Home Where They Belong.
About Deborah Deborah Wuehler is Senior Editor for TOS, wife to Richard, and has eight children ages 28 to 11. She writes for The Homeschool Minute (www.TheHomeschoolMinute.com) and appears on YouTube with Schoolhouse Devotions (bit.ly/2MrF8Sn), helping to point homeschool families to Christ as they keep their children Home Where They Belong! You can contact Deb at dwuehler@TheOldSchoolhouse.com.
Copyright 2020, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.