It is T minus so many weeks to the school year’s end. Mentally, you know that there is so much work to be done. For many of us, the annual end-of-school-year stress has begun.
I’m going to be frank with you. My end-of-the-years were often a pendulum swing from one extreme (There’s-so-much-to-do-and-so-little-time!) to another (Can-we-just-get-this-over-with-already?). The current school year was speeding down and I was certain it would crash at the bottom of the hill. On top of that near emergency level of concern, visits to my local homeschool convention and planning for the next school year added tension, confusion, lists of considerations: so many more layers on top of my already overwhelming life. Often, this time of year found me in a phase of negative introspection. Can I keep doing this? Do I have what it takes to do this right? Am I ruining my kids? And then, the dark-hole question that I would never let myself finish. Maybe we just need to ….
Homeschool teachers: we are placed in a unique situation in which we are daily faced with a wonderful truth: we are inadequate. Something will go wrong—I promise you. Failures will happen. We daily come to grips with the fact that, after all, we are merely human. Teaching your children is an exercise in humility. Recently at a homeschool convention where I was speaking, a mom with a Doctorate in Math who profs at a prestigious university walked up to me. “Can you tell me why,” she asked point-blank, “you with your English degrees are leading workshops on teaching Math?” She had succinctly summarized a multitude of questions I’d been asking myself for weeks. I was tempted to look down and see if someone had stuck a large sign on my back labeled, “INADEQUATE.” After I gulped down those inner anxieties, I shared with her a nutshell version of what I’m sharing with you.
This will be short and sweet. Here’s what we home educators particularly need to hear at this time of the year. Let’s be honest—anytime of the year.
- God is the one in control. He created you with the gifts and abilities you have. He gave you the children you have. He has placed you strategically where He wants you to be. He has allowed the challenges and difficulties that are in your life. He wants to use all of these to daily show you that He is your source of wisdom, strength and direction. You need His empowerment and direction. Your tasks—and how they are accomplished–are never just up to you.
- Perfection is not the goal. Define what success looks like for you, for each child, for your school year. Talk these over with your spouse and mentors. Reevaluate them as needed. Those are your goals. Not perfection. Enough said.
- Tell yourself the truth but don’t exaggerate. Look your inadequacies and outright failures straight in the eye and name them. But don’t let them define or diminish you. If you are not good at something (Yes, Math and I have a love-hate relationship. Who am I kidding? It’s a detest-doing-it-but-I-have-to-live-with-it relationship.), know what it is, to what extent it is a problem, learn what you need to know, get what you need to help your family succeed, and move on. Model for your family what it’s like to face challenges and respond well to them. As you do so, they will learn a much more valuable lesson than if you were stellar at everything.
- Victory is possible! The boiled-down truth is: parental involvement is key to a student’s success. Genuinely love on your kids. Become a student of your students. Stay involved in their development and their learning. Have their best at heart. Stay the course. It is hard work, but so very worth it. To borrow from Colin Powell, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
Remember, scores of parents have gone before you and are rooting for you! Get the support you need! Feel free to contact me or one of our seven Curriculum Consultants via chat or phone. We want to cheer you on as you cross that finish line. Keep on keeping on!