We started out homeschooling when Firecracker was in kindergarten as part of a hybrid university model school. Our kindergarten year was great, but then, in first grade, Firecracker started falling behind in language arts. His grades were still fine, but it was obvious that he wasn’t reading an writing anywhere near the standard of the school.
It was at the same time that I had lost the job that I had been working, although I knew long before that that the Lord had called me home full time. Despite the fact that I had a strong head knowledge that home was not the same as school and that a lot of things that are important at school are not important at home, I found myself ruled by the fear that Firecracker would become further behind.
I wanted to let the Lord lead our homeschool, but I was terrified about how that would look in the eyes of those around me and in the eyes of those that I love. It was my pride and my fear that we’d fall “behind” and that I would look bad as a Mom that led me to continue to push and prod.
Then, there was the day that Firecracker cried over math. However, if the truth is told, he cried about math a lot more than that one day, it’s just the first time that I really saw it as a plea for help. It’s the first time that I realized that no one should ever have to cry over math.
Firecracker has a lot of strengths, but it seemed like everything that I was doing was prodding at his weaknesses.
At the same time, I was struggling with Rose who wanted to do math, reading and handwriting workbooks, but there was no joy in her learning. Instead, she was only doing what I asked so that she could get done and say she was “finished with school” for the day.
I wondered how I could get them both to learn and to love it. I decided to completely drop math and reading. Yes! You heard me right. I completely dropped math, reading and all our morning tablework time out of our homeschool schedule.
I was terrified. Firecracker was elated. Rose was completely frustrated and put out at me. She would ask me a million times a day, “So, when are we going to be done with school?” I was maddeningly evasive with her.
I needed time to think and to relax from the pressure that I was putting on myself. We relaxed toward summer. We played outside. I spent extra time with Rose and the little kids as Firecracker spent extra time working with my father.
I began to wonder what I was going to do with our homeschool. I realized that if my husband and I asked God for his direction that it wouldn’t matter what form our homeschool actually took.
If you truly let God build your homeschool, you will never have to fear what the result will be.
Because he will lead you down the path that will fulfill his plan in your life. You can trust Him with the results.
In the meantime, I did make a set or two of plans that I thought would work for our children. Of course, I hadn’t prayed about them, and they were a total flop.
As I prayed, I began to have the realization that I should be teaching my children as if they were the only children in the world. I should be acting as if school didn’t exist. Then, and only then could I be freed from comparison and fear of failure.
I began to relax. I began to smile more. Six months later, our homeschool has taken on a completely different feel.
No longer do I frown or yell. I rarely grow impatient. We’re more active with other homeschoolers.
We find ourselves guided by our interests. That’s always been a lofty ideal of mine, but I never believed that I would actually have the faith to step off of the school train and onto the interest-led one.
We are free from worrying over expectations. We are able to focus on our strengths and to build upon those.
We are able to enjoy these years when they are still little kids. There’s no need to hurry the growing up that is inevitable.
My expectations are no less than their best, but I have realized that there’s no hurry and no push to learn new skills. Instead, they should learn those skills at their own pace, just like they did when they learned to walk and talk.
Because I have learned in my heart to truly rely upon God to direct our path, I can say that 2013 was the year that I learned to homeschool without fear.
What about you? How has your homeschool changed in 2013?
If you click on the linky picture below, you’ll be taken to the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s blog cruise on looking back on 2013. There you can read what many more of my fellow bloggers have learned and how their homeschools have changed in 2013.