This is part two of an article for discouraged homeschool moms. The first part can be found here: Choosing Joy as a Homeschool Mom. That article focused on choosing joy in recognizing our mission, God’s blessings, and God’s provisions.
In this article we’re going to look at some of the practical ways we can make homeschooling a place of choosing joy.
Choosing Joy in Our Children’s Uniqueness
Society has made us feel that our kids need to be involved in everything to be successful– academics, music, sports, science, math, writing, foreign language, you name it—they need to be doing it and and they need to be doing it well.
But God has made each of our children differently. They each excel in their own unique gifts. Maybe your son is very creative and artistic. Or maybe he’s good at fixing things. Maybe your daughter loves music or is good at math. Or maybe she’s tenderhearted and is good at seeing when someone needs help.
Find out what your child excels in, focus on it, nurture it. Let them know that God has given them unique gifts for a special purpose. They need someone to believe in them, and who will if you don’t? They need to know God that loves them and has created them perfectly to fulfill the purpose he has put them here for.
What about Learning Disorders?
If you’re facing an actual learning disorder, I know it can seem like a mountain. But your child is so much more than their disability. In all probability, they have unique gifts and strengths because of their learning disorder. And they need you, more than ever, to be their biggest cheerleader.
I recently came across this quote from Jonathan Moony, an Ivy League graduate who didn’t learn to read until he was twelve.
“The problem is not the person,” he said. “It’s a passive learning environment where kids sit still most of day. The problem is equating normal with good. And the problem is stigma and shame from being told you’re the problem.”
As homeschoolers, we have the privilege of changing all that.
I’ve often wondered how my son would have fared in a typical school setting. What if he had been made to feel like he wasn’t normal or that he was behind because of his speech or motor delays?
What if the teachers had missed his mathematical brilliance because they couldn’t understand him, or because he was afraid to speak out, or because he couldn’t form his numbers when fine motor skills were slow in coming? Or what if he had been forced to “write math” and so destroy his love for it? The writing came, but only after the math became so complicated he had to write it down. I knew it was there all along.
As it was, he’s been surrounded with love from day one. I knew he was special and unique and I couldn’t wait for the world to find out. Don’t all moms feel like that about their children? And they need us to. Who is more capable than you in loving your child, cheering for him, and helping him develop the gifts God has given him?
Moms, you know your children the best.
Don’t be afraid to tailor your child’s education to your child. It’s one of the beauties of homeschooling, yet sometimes we’re afraid to take advantage of it. Find what your child loves to do. Find what they excel in and structure their other classes in a way that takes advantage of this area.
Choosing Joy in Homeschooling’s Flexibility
If something isn’t working, don’t feel stuck into using it. Children are all different with different styles of learning. What worked for one child might not work for another.
A math program that works well for a child who grasps math intuitively might not have enough repetition for a child who doesn’t.
A writing program for someone who is good at creative writing may need to be replaced by one that’s more systematic for a child that struggles organizing their thoughts.
An in-depth literature-heavy history curriculum may need to be scaled back for a child that thrives with hands on learning.
You get the idea. I’ve done all these and more to take advantage of the flexibility homeschooling gives us to not put our children in a one-size-fits-all mold.*
Are you having a difficult day? Put schoolwork aside and play a game with your children. Bundle up and go outside and explore the world around you. We need moments of rest and refreshment and so do our children. You might be surprised to see how much more receptive your children are to learning after taking a break.
Don’t be a slave to homeschooling. Make homeschooling work for you.
What are some things you have done to reset the mood in your home?
What have you found makes your child thrive in their learning?
Did you miss part one of this article? Catch it here: Choosing Joy as a Homeschool Mom (Part 1)