One of the great attributes many successful people exhibit is perseverance; that fortitude to keep striving for success, even when there are setbacks, hurt feelings, and unexpected difficulties. A prime example is Paul’s perseverance to spread the Gospel to all of the Jews and Gentiles. Now, I’m not equating us to Paul and his trials and tribulations, but I’m sure we all feel a hint of reluctance when it comes to homeschooling our children and we need encouragement to persevere.
As a high school English teacher, I know all too well the expectations, excitement, and hopes that each teacher dreams of before the school year begins. I used to tell myself that I was organized and ready for whatever the school year brought me, and like clockwork within the first month of school I was harshly checked with a reality that no matter how well I lesson planned, decorated my classroom, or delivered high energy engagement, the students were always a little behind in where I had initially hoped they would be. I would get depressed, then have to persevere through the dark times in order to reach the goal that I set.
This proves true in our homeschooling as well. My wife, Allissa, is the primary homeschool teacher to my kids. She is everything a homeschool mom wants to be: organized, prepared, loving, gentle, patient, and the list could go on and on. Those moments when the lesson plan is bulletproof and she’s feeling so good about where school is going in our home, then the unforeseen setbacks begin. My son magically not remembering simple addition that was taught to him 2 years ago and giving up on Math, my daughter’s excitement for learning to read changes into a dreaded chore, and my youngest son throwing fits to get attention while Mom desperately tries to wrangle the situation back into order without losing her mind and without waking the 4 month old baby in the other room. Then, doubt enters her mind. Are my kids falling behind since they don’t seem to be advancing as I hoped? Am I not a good teacher? Should I change out the expensive curriculum that I spent all summer researching? Are we the only homeschool family that deals with this? Is there an app for this? The answer to each question is a heavy handed NO! I’m sure my wife is not alone in these questions.
This is where prayer and perseverance needs to kick in. Take time to pray for your situation at home, asking the Lord to give you the mental strength to persevere. Homeschooling will have its ups and downs and it will ebb and flow with seasons of student maturity. Your kids are advancing as they should. Your lesson plans are great. Keep your eye on the goal and enjoy the flexibility that homeschooling offers a family. God bless you all in your journey!
by Jake Womack, HCS Board Member