I’m blogging all week about our fears and how to fight them. From my own fears as a homeschool mom and my experience as a homeschool graduate, I’ll be sharing insights and reflections on these tough questions. It’s going to be a great week of getting vulnerable and gaining victory.
- What if I miss something?
- What if I get into legal trouble?
- What if I ruin my kid’s life? (Part 1)
- What if I ruin my kid’s life? (Part 2)
If we’re honest, that nagging little voice can be absolutely paralyzing—What if I can’t do this? What if I can’t teach? What if my kids can’t learn? What if I fail?
The truth is, we will fail. Just as there are days of absolute failure in parenting, there will be days of absolute failure in homeschooling, too. In fact, you might feel as though you’ve had weeks of failure. But the good news is that our failures are often riddled with mini-successes we don’t easily see.
Children are God’s greatest surprise. They learn when we aren’t trying to teach them, when we least expect it; and they learn as much from our failures as they do from our most stunning strokes of brilliance. There are lessons to be learned in every moment, the good and the bad. So what happens
if when you fail? Make it a teaching moment, because your child will fail, too.
But on you will go…up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. ~ Dr. Seuss
Most of the time, our feelings of failure are just that—feelings. To guard against these bouts of discouragement, it helps to have a clear strategy. Define for yourself what success will be. Set realistic expectations and goals to mark your path toward success. Then, evaluate if what you are doing right now is the best approach. For instance, if success is teaching a love for learning, then your child’s interests should help you determine at least part of your program. If success is a strong Christian foundation, than character and Bible knowledge should be a priority in your curriculum. If college entrance is your goal, than find out the best way your child learns (through visuals, through hands-on, through motion, etc.) and teach your child how to learn the facts he’ll need.
If your homeschool is not going as you had hoped, is it because you are failing or because your curriculum or your approach is failing to meet your goals? Once again, a lot of our discouragement is feeling-based rather than fact-based. Surround yourself with the facts and continually evaluate them.
When you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Unslumping yourself is not easily done. ~ Dr. Seuss
For those times when discouragement does strike, here are a few tips to recover your motivation:
1. Exercise. Get out and move around. Play a sport; play a game of tag with the kids; go for a walk—whatever form of fitness suits you best. Sometimes, as homeschoolers, we stay cooped up and sedentary to the point of emotional collapse. Give your brain and body the fresh air and endorphins it needs.
2. Preach to your soul. King David fought his discouragement by talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down oh my soul? Hope thou in God.” (Psalm 43:5) Equip yourself with some Scripture to help you refocus. Jot the Scriptures down on notecards and place them through out your routine: on your mirror, at the kitchen sink, by your planner, etc.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. ~Psalm 138:8 ESV
3. Take a break. Step back from it all and allow yourself to refocus. Rest your body, your mind, and your soul. Give your kids a break, too. Our first year, I took a three month break after our first failure to revamp everything. When we started back, our homeschool was the perfect fit for us. If you can’t take a break completely, than try changing something. Switch the order of subjects, reverse your schedule, drop all but the essentials. A fresh look can make all the difference.
Bottom line, you will fail, but failure doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! ~Dr. Seuss
Be sure to check out the other great bloggers at the Homeschool Crew.