May I share a couple of tips to help encourage and motivate you to keep heart and head when things seem difficult and hard ~
- Pray. Tell the Lord all about your fears, difficulties and thoughts. Ask Him for His grace to live in His life. Ask Him to show you the situation from His perspective. Ask for His wisdom and strength to do the right thing. I often ask Him what I should do today, and not worry about the years ahead.
- When about to give up, make a plan. Plan something for the day that everyone enjoys and which creates a bond … such as reading aloud, art, crafts, a nature walk, listening to an audio book, going an outing … whatever it takes to get a fresh perspective. This flexibility is the true blessing of homeschooling. When things get really bad, take the day off … have picnic or go swim, or curl up together on the couch with popcorn and a great movie. Give yourself a day to de-stress and try again the next day.
- Learning new information is usually stressful. In the end, it is never about learning information but growing in character and in relationships. A child can always learn facts, but struggles and difficulties are always personal. Gently encourage your child in their attitude and choices. Instill the habits that will build character.
- Sometimes a child just isn’t ready. Put the work aside and try again in a few months time.
- Look for alternatives. Try a physical, practical, hands-on activity, or try learning with jumping or singing. Let your child record their narrations on a voice note or video instead of writing. Ask them to act it out or make a model or paint the illustration. Give your child options and choices.
- If a textbook or book doesn’t work or isn’t a good fit for you or your child, adapt it. Abandon it! Yes. You have permission to put it away. Rather find an illustrated magazine or borrow a library book about the subject. Go online and search out a suitable YouTube playlist and let your child watch educational videos. They will learn more information with these alternatives, and, more importantly, they will gain a personal connection with what they have watched or read.
- Deal with fears in perspective — will this really matter 2 years from now? If not, don’t sweat the small stuff. Let it go. You usually will have time to try again. Even in high school, we “lost” 2 years on a curriculum that was not working for my middle child. But she was young, and even now, I am not in a rush to catch up those “missing” years. We will simply push on with what we have in front of us right now. Even now, facing her final year, we may have to go on into 2017 instead of trying to finish this year.
- Look for help. I joined a few relevant homeschool Facebook groups that offer great advice and give valuable support and encouragement. Ask the curriculum provider for help. Join their forums. In my first year of homeschooling before Facebook existed, this was marvellous help. And I needed the wisdom, experience and perspective of older moms who were a few stages ahead of me.
- Don’t compare your children with others. This is their life, their story and their song. No one else determines this.
- Ban “Should have …” and instead say, “Right now ….” Don’t waste energy looking back and living with regret. You didn’t plan to fail or destroy your child’s education. What you didn’t know, you couldn’t do, so let it go and do your best with what you know now.
- Perseverance is highly valued. Stick to your decision and keep on course. You may alter deadlines, reset some destinations, avoid some storms or rapids, but keep going on! Don’t give up.
- Try, try and try again. Try this way or that, but keep going. You will come through this and it will all be fine.
If we had lived close to a town with good schools, I may have given up many times in these high school years, but God, in His great mercy and grace, has kept me right where He wants me and we have had to stick to it. I am so grateful! As I look at my gorgeous, beautiful daughters growing into such amazing young women, I am so thankful that we have had this incredible journey together! It is all worth it!
Wrapped up in grace, Nadene