Are You Showing Up for Your Homeschool

Are You Showing Up for Your Homeschool?

Chances are you’re thinking about your kids’ future and what you need to do to prepare them for it.

College.

Career.

Business.

Funds.

Talents.

Whatever your goal is for your children, it may weigh heavy on you daily. So much so that you forget to show up for the moments. You know, those little moments that make up your homeschool journey?

The truth is, this isn’t just a homeschool thing. This is a mom thing. A parent thing. It’s natural to want the best for our children and to do whatever it takes to secure their future. That’s why we invest so much time, money, and prayers into our homeschool, isn’t it?

But, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a secure future. Even children raised by the best parents can become adults who completely defy everything their parents worked hard to achieve for their sake. Home education. Private school education. College tuition savings. Children are their own person and have free will just as we do. Sometimes, they can—and will—use that free will to make poor choices, just as we can expect them to use that same free will to make good choices.

I think deep down we know this, which is why we fail to show up for those little moments. We’re too busy desperately searching for clues—proof—that what we’re doing will be worth it in the end. Which is why we lose it when our child still hasn’t grasped long-division or those tricky grammar rules. Good academic performance gives us the instant gratification of feeling like our sacrifice isn’t in vain. We praise our children and we praise ourselves for a job well done. We are convinced that these moments somehow foreshadow our children’s future and our success as their parents.

However, when our children don’t meet our expectations and/or fail to demonstrate that love for learning we all want to foster, their future somehow flashes before our eyes. Suddenly, we fear they may not get admitted into college, build a successful career, or become that groundbreaking businessman or woman.

And then our own future flashes before our eyes. We imagine the judgmental glances from our peers, the whispers behind our backs, the “I told you homeschool was a bad idea” phrases from disapproving family members. We bring that false future into our present life and lose our ever-loving minds over something that hasn’t happened yet—and probably never will.

So, we bring on the punishment, the guilt-trips, the threats, the bribes. Whatever it takes to improve their performance! Silent tears soak through our pillowcases at night, and we’re tempted to give up.

Maybe it’s a sign,” we say, “A sign we aren’t qualified to homeschool.”

And because we fear this false future we’ve created for our children, some of us give up. The rest of us continue to teach from fear rather than from a place of peace, love, and understanding. In our own twisted minds, we believe that somehow, if we teach from fear, we’re in control. So, we allow fear to keep us from showing up for our homeschool. Instead, we show up for a false future and the idea that it is somehow greater than the journey itself.

What is a false future? It’s where the what-ifs live. What if my kid doesn’t learn enough? What if my kid doesn’t get into college? What if my kid resents me? I think you catch my drift. We think up the worst-case scenarios and live our lives trying to stop them from happening. But the big question is: are we doing what we do for the what-ifs or for the journey? If the answer is yes, we are failing to show up for the beauty that is homeschool.

You may be reading this post and think, this isn’t me. Congratulations, you’ve probably already mastered showing up for your homeschool. But if you’re reading this and it resonates with you, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start showing up!

So, how does one show up for their homeschool?

 

1. Relinquish control.

This was the very first step I had to take when I made a conscious effort to show up for my homeschool; recognize and accept that I’m not in control—but God is! Author and blogger, Sarah Mackenzie, would call this concept teaching from rest. That is, trusting that God’s got your children’s education and future in His hands—even when you’re a wreck! Even when they’re a wreck! In that, we can guide our children’s education from a loving and trusting place, rather than from anxiety.

 

2. Change your audience.

The revolutionary question I had to ask myself was:

Who am I trying to impress? God or man?

I like how Mackenzie put it: “Whose ‘well done’ are you working for?” Although she posed this question in her book, Teaching from Rest, this wasn’t the first time this inquiry resonated with me. In fact, this question surfaced several times throughout my homeschool journey. Each time, it humbled me and reminded me that the only opinion that matters is God’s. My children don’t have to be little prodigies. And I certainly don’t have to be Mary Poppins.

 

3. Embrace failure.

Fear of failure will rob us of teachable moments that can enhance our homeschool journey. Failure isn’t a bad thing. In fact, any successful person will tell you they’ve learned more from their failures than their successes. Failure is a teacher, not a conqueror. When we embrace this truth, we’re more likely to discern what went wrong and how we can improve something, rather than become defeated by setbacks. Even more, we’re more likely to make braver decisions that lead to greater successes because we’re not afraid to fail.

 

4. Redefine success.

If success is defined by high test scores and perfectly written papers, we’re all in for a huge disappointment. It’s not wrong to want your child to perform well, however, you cannot control how they perform. But do you know what you can control? How you perform. Therefore, let success be determined by how well we demonstrate our love for our children. Did we teach them from a place of patience? Kindness? Gentleness? Joy? Goodness? Peace? Even when things don’t go as expected? Remember, love never fails. It always leads to success! Therefore, there’s a greater chance our children will develop a love for learning if we teach them from a place of love.

 

5. Reflect often.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I reflect on our past homeschool years, I can’t help but realize how quickly time passes. My boys are no longer the toddler and Kindergartner I started homeschooling nearly four years ago. It makes me happy for the times I showed up and lived in the moment, but sad for the times I didn’t. I don’t view this sadness as a negative thing, but a humble reminder to embrace the moment and show up for my homeschool each and every day.

Read any blog post with the title, “What I Would Do Differently in My Homeschool,” and these veterans will tell you in so many words, they’d embrace the moment and not be so anxious about tomorrow. May we take heed to their words and do our best to show up even for the smallest moments in our homeschool journey.


Well, that’s all I have for now.

Until next time, friends…

 

 

 

 

 

Want to Homeschool? Three Things It Will Take

Want to Homeschool? 3 Things It Will Take

As the close of our homeschool year approaches, I’ve taken some time to reflect on our successes and failures. In our three years of homeschooling, what components did our good days have in common? What components did our bad days lack? What ultimately led to our success as a homeschool family? These were the questions I asked myself.

During this reflection, I’ve come to realize our success didn’t depend on finishing every curriculum down to the letter. We didn’t. Nor was it defined by my children acing all their assessments. They didn’t. And it certainly didn’t rely on my being the perfect homeschool teacher. I wasn’t.

Instead, our homeschool success depended on maintaining the following elements:

1. Commitment.

I’ve said before that a parent needs neither discipline nor patience to homeschool. What we truly need is the commitment to develop these virtues. A commitment to homeschool to the best of our ability. Why commitment? Because when we’re committed, we do whatever it takes to maintain loyalty to what we’re committed to. Yes, even grow in discipline, patience, and any other virtues we need to homeschool successfully.

I started homeschooling my boys by making a small commitment. About three years ago, I told myself we’ll commit to one year of homeschool and see how it goes. If the year went well, we’d continue to homeschool. If the year went poorly, we’d abort the mission.

During that trial year, there were many times I wanted to give up. But, I was committed to finishing the school year at the very least—no matter how badly I wanted to run to the nearest school and register my kids.

Still, it took more than a commitment to finish the school year. I had to commit to giving it my best shot. Commit to teaching my sons. Commit to growing in patience. Commit to making it work despite the odds against me.

Commitment begets commitment. In order to commit to becoming successful in one area, I had to commit to becoming successful in another.

Commitment Quote, Meme, Inspiration

 

2. Vision.

Our vision is our focus. It defines our goals and carves our path. Whatever causes us to look to the right or left of that pathway will either slow us down or throw us off course. This lack of focus puts us at risk for doubt, comparison, and, ultimately, failure.

I remember when I started homeschooling my first year. I rarely participated in social media and didn’t belong to a homeschool group, so I didn’t know many other homeschoolers. I did my own thing, my ideas were original, and my children had a blast that year. Even better? I stayed in alignment with our homeschool vision, which was to foster a healthy relationship with learning.

Then, I started connecting with other homeschool families. I was so excited to see how big the homeschool community was. Not only were there hundreds of homeschooling families in my area, but there were thousands more on social media sharing their experience and wisdom.

Discovering the homeschool community was a great thing, of course. Until I allowed myself to compare my method with that of others. Slowly, but surely, I began to suck the fun right out of our homeschool by forcing other methods onto my children. In my quest to make them “smarter,” I’d forgotten about our vision.

If it weren’t for defining our vision in the first place, I’d still be forcing unsuccessful methods that made everyone miserable. Although I strayed from it, the vision was what pulled us back on course and inspired us to continue to homeschool in a way that was most authentic to our family.

Without a Vision Meme, Quote, Inspiration

 

3. Perseverance.

Ah, doing something despite how difficult it may be. I bet we can all raise our hand and say that homeschooling is not easy. It will take perseverance to keep us going when we want to give up. Trust me, there’ll be a time you’ll want to give up, if it hasn’t happened already.

One day, I was going through my old tablet notes and came across a familiar post. The title? “I Give Up.” Yep, on March 20th, 2015, I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit homeschool. I just moved to an unfamiliar town, I didn’t know anyone, I had frustrated finances, and I was totally burned-out.

What’s funny? All the reasons I listed for wanting to give up were temporary. I eventually became very familiar with the town I lived in and all the resources it had to offer. I eventually met other homeschool moms and made great connections. Our financial condition eventually changed, and my burn-out didn’t last forever.

I’m so glad I didn’t make a life-changing decision based on temporary circumstances and emotions. I’ve learned part of perseverance is knowing that our current condition is just temporary. If we can just hold on a little longer, we’ll eventually see the progress—and success—we’ve been hoping for.

Perseverance Meme, Quote, Inspiration


I’m so glad you stopped by! Any thoughts on this post? Let us know in the comments!

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5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Homeschool

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success

When I stumbled across the book, Don’t Limit God, by Andrew Wommack, I found myself unable to put it down. Let me confess that I don’t watch television and am unfamiliar with Mr. Wommack’s ministry, so I don’t know much about him. What I do know is that God spoke to my heart through his book.

Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Instagram with Wommack’s book pictured. A friend of mine inquired of the book by asking how it resonated with me. Instead of replying with a long-winded comment, I decided to write a post about it.

Now this book focuses on taking limits off God to expand our potential for success. Obviously, it resonated with me business-wise, but I felt led to share how the book resonated with me when it came to my homeschool journey. As a disclaimer, these points are directed at me also, so I am not pointing fingers. And, of course, this post is from the perspective of Faith.

Here goes…


5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success


1. You Don’t Believe You Can. This is a common concern amongst homeschool parents—they just don’t think they’re cut-out for the job! I shared this sentiment, despite the fact that I studied curriculum development and earned a Master’s degree in Education. There were several “buts” that I begged God to consider. “But I’m not smart enough.” “But I’m not patient enough.” “But I don’t have enough money.” The list seemed infinite.

Still, God said, “With me, you are enough.”

If God had a limited mind like us, He would’ve never called Sarah to bear the promised son even though she was past child-bearing age. He would’ve never called Moses to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land even though he had a speech impediment. And, He most certainly wouldn’t have called Christ to take our place on the cross even though we didn’t deserve such grace.

So, you see, it may not make much sense to you but God certainly knows why He called you. In fact, God has a history of choosing unqualified candidates to carry out His purpose. The Word says, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (I Cor. 1:26-27). Why does God choose unqualified candidates? “So that your faith may not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).

With God, you are enough!

2. You compare yourself to others. It’s dangerous to measure the success of your homeschool by the standards of other homeschool families. Yes, I’ve had a few noses turned up at me when I confessed to building my own curriculum rather than purchasing a boxed one. Yes, sometimes I subscribed to the belief that our homeschool would be more successful if we had money to do things like “that other family.” But in those moments, I limit God…and you will, too.

God wants us to discover that there is more than one cookie-cutter way to run a successful homeschool. Don’t miss out on some beautiful discoveries by trying to be like that other family. Those “beautiful discoveries” may minister to struggling homeschool parents one day.

Instead, we must adopt apostle Paul’s attitude when he says, “I do not think I am the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles.’ I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge” (2 Cor. 11:5-6). Here, Apostle Paul admits to not being a great speaker like the other apostles, but he doesn’t allow comparison to make him feel inferior. Instead, he focuses on what he does have and trusts that God will compensate for the rest as he carries out God’s purpose.

There is something that you have to offer your homeschool family and community that no one else can. Ask God to reveal to you what that “something” is, so that when you find yourself feeling inferior to other homeschool parents, you can quickly remind yourself that you also have what it takes.

3. You don’t aim high enough. Guess what? You’re called to raise the bar, not submit to it. Deuteronomy 28:13 says this, “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail…you will always be at the top, never the bottom.” This is God’s vision for those who obey Him.

Let me paint a picture for you; last year, I read numerous resources about homeschool and subscribed to some really “average” ideologies. For instance, it’s become a culture to boast of laziness, expect bad days, and count an impromptu day at the beach as a “field-trip.” Let me just say, there is grace in these practices, but we should never set them as our standard. We limit God when we try to be like everyone else.

Instead, aim for excellence in your homeschool. Boast of productive days, set high expectations, and call an impromptu day at the beach what it truly is…a day at the beach!

4. You’re too busy. In order for our homeschool to reach its potential, we must take enough time out of our busy schedule to just be still, hear God, and receive instruction. God speaks to us in many ways, but the Word reminds us that sometimes God’s voice is but a gentle whisper that can only be heard when we quiet our lives (1 Kings 19: 11-12).

Some of us make our lifestyle unconducive to having a growing relationship with God. There are never-ending house chores, a morning full of school work, an afternoon full of extracurricular activities, and an evening full of scrambling to catch up on work that was missed. And then we go to bed with all the cares of this world dominating our thoughts, infiltrating our hearts and spirit.

I’m here to tell you that if you are not still enough to receive God’s instruction for your homeschool, you are treading dangerous waters. But don’t just take my word for it, remember that it is God who lights our path (Psalm 119:105).

5. You fear failure. This has by far been a primary concern amidst homeschool parents— the fear of failing to properly educate our children. In fact, this fear has been strong enough to drive many parents to quit. What a way to limit God and your homeschool potential!

Why focus on the worst case scenario when you can focus on all the wonderful things that could go right? “As a man thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). That means, if you’re not careful, what you believe will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fear cancels out faith. And without faith, there is no hope. Therefore, you must visualize your child’s success. See them holding that college degree, succeeding in their dream career, purchasing their first home—whatever hopes you have for their future, meditate on it (Hebrews 11:1).

Lastly, I want to remind you that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but the power, love and self-discipline to carry out His purpose for our lives (2 Tim. 1:7).


Homeschooling is challenging enough, don’t do it without God’s help! If you are reading this and have not accepted Christ into your life, but want to, simply repeat this prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner and I need your help. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead to fulfill your Word. I accept Christ into my life and into my heart as my personal lord and savior. Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me. I now rejoice because I am free from condemnation! In Jesus name, Amen.”

If you said that prayer and believed it with your whole heart, CONGRATULATIONS! You are officially born again! Drop me a line at nikemanderson@gmail.com and let me know how I can help you!