My favorite nuggets of advice when we began the homeschooling journey were:
“You know your weaknesses, so pray.”
“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.”
I’ve relied on those treasures of wisdom for thirteen years now! There were a few years where I modified the second one to “If I’m not having fun, we’re doing something wrong.” Your home may be different than ours, but our reality has been that sometimes the kids do not look at homeschooling as anything more than drudgery. I still believe the love of learning that often launches we parents into homeschooling will be ‘caught’ by our children—but there are definitely days they will not have that love!
This week, as we struggled through two very difficult courses high school courses, (read that, ‘difficult for me’) the laughter in the midst of perseverance reminded me how very right this has been!! I was the Valedictorian of my class; a nerd who felt bad if I did not have an “A” in every subject. Even then I knew that there was merit to lesser grades and fuller lives, yet I could not quite grasp that concept for myself. Praise God, my husband, children and our home education journey have taught me better. Lest you think we do not take grades seriously, we do. The children demonstrate a competitiveness in grades and a desire to excel that I appreciate. Yet we have learned together that the deepest lessons of home education transform our character. My heart rejoices that laughter sweetened our hard work. I want that to be a lesson the children apply the rest of their lives. Balancing a chemical equation and efficiently utilizing a compass for angle re-creation are beneficial; a right attitude in hard times is priceless.
This is a truth we have lived for several years. Math struggles faced by my son taught him more about perseverance—and his capabilities—than soaring through his Bible lessons. The college-level Counseling program my daughter is taking (in her sophomore year of high school) instructed her in the value of talking through confusing topics to deepen understanding. For most of our years, academics have not been a struggle from the ‘parent’ perspective. I must admit, though, some of our high school courses reveal how much I did not really learn in my own years of education. While those times are weaknesses, they are not failures. In fact, those things which I know well are sometimes the most difficult for me to teach. I cannot give a process when it is something I just ‘do.’ Beyond that, I do not expect my children to learn things I am unable to learn. Therefore, my weaknesses allow me to set the example and persevere with them. I suspect that the subjects we work harder at will be the content they remember best. I know the attitude we approach our difficulties with will be part of the legacy of our homeschool.