The moment I stepped into her home, I knew she was struggling. The look in her eyes…defeat. The slump of her shoulders. The exhausted look on her face. Her gait, slow and shuffled. I knew I was here more for encouraging support than checking off learning goals for report cards. I asked how things were going. She gave me a deep sigh and I could see she was fighting tears. She said she felt like she was failing at teaching her kids. She was overwhelmed and not sure if she was doing ‘enough’. In all of my years as a support teacher for homeschool families, this has been one of the biggest hindrances for so many moms. I want to remind you all of some important truths here. Are you ready? 4 Important Truths For The Failing Homeschool Mom.
You feel like you are failing at this homeschool thing, hey? I know…been there, done that. More than once…AND I am a certified teacher! However, over my 11 years of home educating and being a support teacher, I have come to realize some truths about this whole failing at homeschool LIE.
Are your kids content?
I’m not talking about happy as in a trouble free life – that just doesn’t happen. I am meaning more in general and are they experiencing the joy of the Lord. If your children are content most of the time, that is a huge deal. We live in a culture where teen suicide has become so prevalent. Teens and children suffer from depression more nowadays than ever. According to several sources, suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens today (North America).
This point was really driven home for me when I looked through the paper and got to the obituaries section. There was a photo of a handsome 15-year old boy, smiling and looking happy. As I read the obituary, I gathered that he had taken his own life and it was possibly due to being bullied.
Isn’t that heartbreaking? What a horrible thing for him and for his family. The thought that he was so distraught that he felt the only way to escape was to end his life. And then I was overcome with a great sense of thankfulness and relief…my children are not suffering as this young man had.
Yeah, I’m going to have bad days with homeschooling my kids. There will be times when I feel like pulling out my hair as I tell my son for the hundredth time in less than an hour to GET BACK TO WORK! We’ll get to the end of May and there will be workbooks undone, projects half-finished and learning goals unmet…every year.
And then I’ll remember this truth…my children are content.
***NOTE: If your child does struggle with depression, get help immediately. Don’t wait. If your child is being bullied, don’t wait for someone else to do something about it. Get your child out of that environment, regardless of the cost.
Are your kids in a loving, safe home?
If your children are confident in your love for them and you have given them a safe and secure home life, consider this a huge success. I think that because we homeschool, we live in a bubble of sorts. We don’t always see the dysfunction of many families around us. I know this is true for me. It is so easy for me to forget that not all families have a safe and loving environment. Not all children have the sense of belonging to their family. Not all marriages are good and strong.
Statistics show that when a child feels safe, secure and loved at home, they are able to function better. This only makes sense.
Books will go unread, math programs incomplete, history essays sparse…but if our children have a protected and affectionate home…then we are miles ahead! I think we can safely say we are succeeding in homeschooling!
Are your kids getting along?
I know, kids will fight, siblings will argue with each other. It is normal for this to occur sometimes. But if they genuinely love and care for each other, then we are building a strong foundation for a lifetime relationship.
I have worked with homeschool families long enough now to see many sibling dynamics. One common thread I have noticed is the authentic and sincere love sibings have for one another. It isn’t often that I see homeschooled siblings refusing to get along in a healthy manner – and when I do see it, I believe it is for underlying dysfunction within the family as a whole.
We don’t always see how well our kids get along with each other until we hear other parents complain about how their public schooled children constantly fight and generally don’t like each other. Don’t get me wrong, public schooled siblings can be close, however, that relationship requires more intentionality and purposefulness than what naturally occurs in a homeschool family.
If you are looking for some ideas to help your children in this area, read my post 7 Tips that Will Cultivate Strong Sibling Ties.
If our children sincerely love each other and enjoy spending time with each other, well, I think we can safely say that we are succeeding in home education!
Are your kids following the Lord?
I think this is the biggest indicator of success. If your children are walking with the Lord, then you are already successful as a parent and as a home educator. If, when your children enter adulthood, all they have to show for their homeschool career is that they love the Lord with all of their hearts, minds, souls and strength…well, dear sister, they will be better equipped to live a full and abundant life in the Lord than those who are not walking in truth.
I’m not trying to minimize the importance of a good, strong education. I am a teacher! So, of course, I value learning – lifelong learning. However, we can spend from Kindergarten to graduation giving our kids the best education ever with excellence in every subject, but if they aren’t following Jesus, then they have nothing.
Jesus + nothing = everything.
Everything – Jesus = NOTHING.
Jesus needs to be their foundation (and ours!), He is the cornerstone. If we have deeply rooted our kids in the Lord, then everything else is the frosting on the cake.
The mom in the above scenario is fictional…but, sadly, the scenario is not uncommon. Actually, I am reflecting on many, many home visits, desperate phone calls, and frantic emails I have received since 2004 from anxious, worried moms. It’s a culmination of them all. And the above 4 things is something I wish they all knew deeply within their hearts. It is what I desperately want you to know.
The truth is this – we won’t be able to teach them everything they need to know. It just isn’t possible. But we can instill a deeply rooted love for God, for His Word and for siblings in a loving home. When we do that, we are successful.
And, believe me, you are much more successful at this homeschool thing than you think you are. Be free and confident in that truth.
Need more encouragement in your homeschooling and parenting? I have a giveaway happening over on my site for a Parenting Bible study written by Pam Forster of Doorposts. Open until April 18th.
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