By Guest Author Yvonne Strachan
When homeschool moms get together, a depth of emotion is released and conversations delve into topics very close to their hearts. Recently, I was in the midst of a profound conversation with another homeschool mom when laughter turned to silence and tears unexpectedly filled her eyes.
I knew this emotion all too well and from experience, I knew that her tears formed from deep love for her child. My response? A big hug and a listening ear.
With the reassurance that her emotions were valued, she began to reveal her heart. Whisperings of overwhelm and fragmented aspirations filled the room. The seal of self-doubt and uncertainty were evident as she spoke.
“I don’t know what to do or even if I should keep homeschooling.”
As her words echoed in my head, I recalled a time long past when I spoke that same phrase to my husband. You see, we have a child with special needs and after a few years of homeschooling her, I started to doubt my abilities. As my husband and I discussed the possibility of enrolling her in school, I only became more distraught. But one night that all changed. Drowning in a mess of tears, I tucked my child into bed. I suddenly realized that I was no longer worried about my own insecurities. I was worried that my child wouldn’t be reassured of her value in Jesus Christ if we sent her to school. God’s message was clear. I had to keep homeschooling!
Insecurities are common among homeschool parents, but what if I told you that you can help prevent self-doubt by having a family discussion on the topics outlined below. In the end, you will have created a blueprint for a fulfilling and memorable homeschool experience that you can return to when the insecurities threaten to surface.
Discuss your motivations.
Given that each family has unique dynamics and circumstances, it is important to write a personalized list of your own family’s motivations to homeschool. As you discuss your reasons for homeschooling with your family, you will gain insight into your family’s thoughts, stimulating discussion and giving you the opportunity to answer questions that arise.
Discuss the value of virtuous character and include those lessons in your homeschool plan.
Virtuous people are loving, honest, respectful, diligent, humble, grateful, and forgiving. They don’t bend to impulses or selfish desires, but instead act according to values and principles. When your child exhibits these virtuous qualities, he invites trust and respect.
When you work with your child, keep these virtues in mind, making every effort to cultivate them.
Discuss the benefits of learning.
With expansion of knowledge, your child will experience increased ways in which he can serve. Have a discussion with your child about the types of jobs he can get with various levels of education. Chat about what he might need to do to serve in the military, get into college, or further a career.
Discuss each family member’s vision for your homeschool.
Children take better ownership of their learning when they are part of the planning. Furthermore, when they delve into something that interests them, their studies become more relevant. List out ideas your family would like to incorporate in your homeschool. Then, separate them into groups and summarize them. Here is an example:
- Include family Bible study.
- Include field trips for first-hand experience.
- Include entrepreneurial experience.
- Include practical life skills.
- Include a solid foundation of academic courses.
- Include interest-related extracurricular activities that will sharpen their gifts.
Discuss what life might be like after homeschooling.
What interests, skills, and gifts does your child have? How might your child contribute to the community as an adult? Keep in mind that as you help your child identify and sharpen his gifts, you are preparing him to thrive the way God made him, with the ability to pair his knowledge and gifts with compassion as he serves others throughout his personal and professional life.
Summarize your discussion topics.
Now it is time to narrow down key points from your conversations and make a homeschool blueprint. Refer to this blueprint as you make decisions related to coursework, extracurricular activities, and commitments during each homeschool season (and as self-doubt tries to discourage you).
Here is an example of my family’s homeschool blueprint:
During your yearly discussions, much of your blueprint will be reiterated, but as family dynamics and circumstances change, revisiting these discussion topics will help you easily make updates. This personalized homeschool blueprint will keep you all on the same page, allowing you to better work together in support of each other. Your blueprint will help you stay better focused on what matters to you and your family. It will help you lead a more purposeful homeschool. And best of all, it will help keep insecurities at bay. You have created a blueprint for a fulfilling and memorable homeschool experience!