Time to evaluate homeschooling.
Well, the first semester is over. If you are like me (and probably most homeschool parents) you take this break to evaluate how the first half of your school year went. And if you are like me (and probably most homeschool parents) you are finding more frustrations than you’d like!
I look at each subject to see:
- did we accomplish all I’d hoped?
- did we accomplish all I planned (not always the same thing)?
- did we do well with scheduling?
- what are the weaknesses?
- what are the strengths?
- what changes need to be made for success next semester?
- will we finish by year’s end or go into summer?
- is my child actually learning or just spitting back information?
Every year I feel my weaknesses very mightily!
There are some changes I can make today to help my success tomorrow.
Did I tell you this is my 27th year homeschooling? YIKES!! You’d think I knew it all by now, had all the answers and that my 14 year old was finishing up his doctorate! But, I’m here to tell you that none of that is true. I have good times and bad times just like a new homeschooling mom. I’ve just learned how many more ways there are to make mistakes than a newbie!
But one thing I have learned is that there ARE changes we can make that open the gates to greater success in the days and weeks ahead. I’m sharing them here, not because I’ve got it together, but because I need to be reminded too!
No. 1 – start each morning by dedicating it to God.
“Oh great! Now she’s spiritualizing the problems away!”
Well, no. I’m not. Over the course of my short sojourn with God, I have found time and time again that this is NOT my life — it belongs to Him. The harder I try to grasp onto it, the more elusive it becomes and the less effect I have. When I think it’s all about ME: my planning, my curriculum choices, my skills, my expertise… that’s when I’ve opened myself up for a great big failure!
[clickToTweet tweet=”God does not play PushMe-PullYou with me. He calls me to give it all to Him!” quote=”God does not play PushMe-PullYou with me. He calls me to give it all to Him!”]
When I take the simple step each day to recognize His sovereignty over my school day and agree with Him, I’ve opened the floodgates to His direction, His control and His blessing.
So my question to each of us is: Have we dedicated today to the Lord and are we continually seeking to follow His will in our school day?
No. 2 – shut off electronics until after school is done.
This might seem like a No Brainer. Or it might seem extreme. Either way, I find over and over again that starting the day without electronics as an active part of helping everyone do better!
- My children bicker less and get along better.
- I’m less stressed when I’m not competing to be heard.
- It’s easier to work without distractions.
- When games go badly, tempers flare (not conducive to good attitudes for learning).
- It’s easier to not start than to start and have to stop.
I will also confess that we’ve battled this one on and off for a number of years. As the children have gotten older and do their work on their own, I too often find myself getting lax in this area. But it is still important to a successful day for us.
No. 3 – teach to their strength.
Now this one might seem counter-intuitive.
“Shouldn’t we focus on the areas where they are weak? Otherwise how will they ever get better?”
Please know I am not saying to ignore the weak subjects in your children’s lives. If they struggle with history, by all means be sure and do what you can to help them grow in this subject area. But just make sure that you don’t put all your efforts there. After all, they are probably NOT going to pursue a career in history!
Our children, like us, will pursue careers in the areas of their strengths. We want to be sure and give them their head in these areas and encourage them to really excel. If they are mechanically inclined and are constantly tinkering – taking things apart and putting them back together again or fixing things that are broken, then we need to encourage that strength. Look for subjects that will teach them. Maybe they’ll be a mechanical engineer, who knows!
It is important that we watch and observe the bent that our children have in their personality and natural desire to learn and that we encourage and teach to those strengths.
Can you apply these 3 simple tips?
As you debrief from this semester, think about these 3 simple little tips and how you can let them help you to strengthen your coming semester and make your homeschool more successful and honoring to the Lord!