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During a recent homeschool consultation, a sweet mom shared with me her anxiety over not doing enough for her two children – ages 8 and 10.
She had fallen into the easy trap of comparing herself to her homeschooling friends (which never ends well, by the way). Worried about gaps in her kids’ education, she had signed them up for classes, sports and instrument lessons yet, she still felt behind.
As we sipped our coffees and shared our hearts, I encouraged her to step back for a few minutes and look at her long term goals – to reexamine her vision for her homeschool. Or more simply stated, “Why are you homeschooling?’
As she listed her top priorities for her kids’ education, she realized that she was actually doing well in those areas. Then I had her list the fears she was battling. These, too, paled when presented to the light of day. All but one, maybe two, had any merit. Soon she was facing her fears with confidence and empowered to tackle the one or two valid issues and toss the rest.
Simplifying Your Homeschool
Most worried homeschool moms that I talk to have a thousand thoughts streaming non-stop through their minds and voices of family, friends and books they’ve read clouding their thinking and their vision. Homeschool parents are a responsible bunch and most that I have met wholeheartedly want to provide the best education possible for their kids.
And to this end, we have an interesting problem. There are an abundance of good opportunities available for modern homeschoolers. However there is a lot of truth in that Oswald Chamber’s quote stating that – the good is the enemy of the best. We can choose good and honorable and noble things for our kids to participate in all day long, but…they may not be God’s best for our kids.
The simple solution to homeschool worry and anxiety is to stop everything and step back to look and pray about where God is leading you. As Americans we are so hyper focused on that old American Dream:
- get a ‘good’ education
- get into a ‘good’ college
- get a ‘good’ job
- buy a ‘good’ house
- find a ‘good’ spouse
and – voila! – we have arrived.
Is this really what it means to have success?
What if God doesn’t intend for your child to go to college? Or get married? Or buy a home? Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with any of those things, but many of us well-intentioned parents are operating on auto-pilot as if those goals are somehow a formula for success.
Homeschool Made Simple
There are three things that I do for myself whenever I begin to feel like I am failing at homeschooling (happens to all of us!) or as if I’ve strayed from my homeschool vision.
1. Call a homeschool friend – preferably one who has been homeschooling longer than I have! Whether we have the luxury of lunch out or we bring all of our kids to a local park, talking with another mom who has been there almost always helps. Just knowing I’m not alone gives me the strength to face another day.
2. Pray and ask God for wisdom. Oh and one more thing. Listen. Oftentimes we want God to work our plans when what He wants is for us to work His plan.
3. I pull out some of my old favorite books on homeschool encouragement. I have read 100s of books on education and homeschooling and still two of my favorites that I can read and reread are:
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond Moore
And now I have a new favorite. If you have ever been fortunate enough to attend a Carole Joy Seid conference, you know about her simple, classical, literature-based education model with a strong hint of Charlotte Mason thrown in for balance.
Compass Classroom is now offering a brand new video series called Homeschooling Made Simple, featuring veteran homeschool mom, Carole Joy Seid. Each of the 8 workshops are an easy listening length of about 30 min and packed full of wisdom, encouragement and simple ideas for creating a homeschool that is both simple and enjoyable without compromising academics.
- Children & Reading
- Choosing Books
- Building Character in Children
- Math, Writing, Science, Art & Music
- Bible & A Typical Day
- Children & Media
- Teaching History Using Literature
As soon as I heard that these videos were available I downloaded them to my iTunes and have been avidly watching them everyday. Although I have never heard Carole speak before, I was amazed at how similar our educational philosophies were! Watching these videos was like sitting and speaking to a wise old friend. Absolutely full of encouragement! I know my readers will feel likewise.
For a sample, click here to watch a sample video taken from Workshop 1: Children and Reading.
Even as a veteran homeschool mom of 20 years, I found Carole’s words uplifting and her methods simple and totally doable, even for our large family.
Right now Compass Classroom is offering a special introductory price on the Homeschool Made Simple DVDs or video download for $29.00.
For an additional savings, use discount code IHN35 now through May 31st to receive an extra 35% off the introductory price. Honestly, these videos are timeless and are something that I will watch again and again.
How about you? What are your go-to resources for homeschool encouragement?