Encouragement - For homeschool teaching worries

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
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Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by MelissaB »

Hi, Grace ~

I'm learning with you... My daughters are 15 and 12. I took my oldest driving yesterday. And yet, I'm still learning how to see if they're really learning, not just check the boxes and look at a grade.

I've read a lot of good bits of wisdom from fellow homeschooling mom, Kelly Crawford. She has a blog with a lot of good advice. You can click on "homeschooling" on her site, "Generation Cedar."

I wish I had good advice; but, again, I'm learning, too. Hopefully, we'll both be quick learners. :-)

In Christ's Abundant Grace & Love ~
melissa b.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Dealing with Fear and fighting with truth?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

allgrace wrote: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:20 am Hello everyone,
I am just wondering if anyone as advice about how they deal with fear when it comes to homeschooling? Some of the fears I deal with or have heard of are...
  • fear that we can't juggle teaching multiple kids and young ones and so my kids won't get the attention they need and be behind in their academics
  • fear that we can't take care of the housework, cook, and teach the kids
  • fear that we aren't good enough at math, science, writing, etc. to teach our children, or that we will miss something because we aren't good at a subject
  • fear that the kids don't get enough social time because we are home more since we have littles and babies
  • fear that we won't understand middle/high school science and math enough to teach them (even with the answer keys)
  • fear that we won't be able to provide enough opportunities to allow our kids to explore their interests, or have enough time because school takes longer than we thought
  • Fear that we can't possibly get through the curriculum in a year because of unexpected circumstances (illnesses, bedrest, pregnancy, moving, etc) and feeling the need to "get it all done"
And now what are the truths that you remind yourselves of to combat these fears? Please feel free to share any other fears and truths you use to fight them that I did not list. I just think that this will encourage many of us!

Thanks for responding,
Good morning Grace,
Ooooh, big questions, I like those! Your post brought back a lot of memories. (I tend to type too much, so I went back and underlined the main points &) )

One thing your list made me appreciate was the position I was in, having spent many years interacting with the public schools. I never had to suffer from a "grass is greener" feeling. Although I have great respect for teachers, I could tell you many stories about teachers who didn't get everything done, who didn't understand all of their subjects, who didn't allow socializing, who squeezed out all possible time for other interests, who weren't happy very often - it is good to remember this truth: The fears you mention could happen in any setting, and sometimes far more consistently.

I also learned about getting everything done from the public schools... This truth is: You can't. No one's work inbox is empty. So my strategy in this busy culture: Set school hours to create balance. Separate school hours from housekeeping and from family/husband time in the evenings (or at some point in your week). I know this is hard with babies, but kids seem to intuitively know the difference between distractions that can't be avoided vs. distractions that could be controlled. It is hard for kids to see that school is a priority if we are always whizzing away to do laundry or answer the phone - in public school one of the benefits is that they see "everybody is doing school right now."

Okay, on to adding my own fears.

I think one of my greatest fears came from having kids who never really wanted to school at home. This wasn't actually rational - none of them liked going to school, almost none of their friendships emerged from classrooms, and they actually had more time for socializing by homeschooling. But I worried about how my kids would look back at homeschooling as adults. Would they grow away from me because of this big, outside-the-norm decision we made for their lives that left a sort of "cultural gap" in their relating to their peers in the workplace etc.?

I feel fortunate about one truth: homeschooling has become much more popular since I first started in 2002, so some of these fears just fizzled out on their own.

But also from the other side now, I have experienced some good truths. While my kids still don't (yet) necessarily view homeschooling the way I do, they definitely get that they have a solid education compared to their peers. Even my oldest, who was an A student in public school, admits he had a memorize-and-forget mentality and enjoys actually learning some tidbits from the rest of us on occasion :) Also, in many ways (not all ways !! ) my homeschooled kids matured faster than their peers because they were comfortable interacting with all people - adults to babies - rather than just being stuck in the mentality of hordes of same-aged peers. My youngest found being a college freshman a bit of a culture shock in terms of how young everyone behaved LOL.

And most of all, there is The Truth. My kids have an incredible jump on not just praying to our amazing God but really knowing Him through His history - they have realized through topics that come up that very few adults they come across have read the entire Bible for themselves as they did in high school.

Interesting conversation. I hope to hear more stories,
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Re: Dealing with Fear and fighting with truth?

Unread post by allgrace »

Thanks for your reply Julie. Your thoughts are helpful. It is a good reminder that those "fears" can happen in any setting. I used to be a public school teacher, so I know it's true, but it just feels so different if I don't finish the book, etc. with my own kids. Reading your truths and hearing a little about your children's experience is helpful. I always learn from your posts :)
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
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Ds. 2: preschool
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Re: Dealing with Fear and fighting with truth?

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Grace! Yes! This is a great discussion! After 10 years of home educating our children and tutoring and leading others, I still have times of self-doubt! I was a music teacher and taught for 5 years before we had kids. I worked at a school that was unusual in that we were expected to create our own curriculum and were not allowed to use textbooks (for elementary aged kids). That was something that God used to prepare me for home education before I even became a mother - and I still struggle at times with worry or fear or doubt. When I was teaching, I had to figure out what I was doing and what to teach my students. It was much harder than having textbooks and a team of teachers who were working together, I had to figure out how to teach music to several different classes of multiple grade levels by myself. It was challenging! I made plenty of mistakes and tried to learn from them and continue to improve, but every great teacher is learning as they go and continues to be a "life-long learner", so teachers struggle with doubt and fear, too.

As a home educator, in our early years, I feared telling people that we were homeschooling because of their reactions and questions - that made the fears and doubts resurge! I feared that the kids would miss out on so many fun things about school or friendships. I feared that I would not know how to teach them, especially when one of our children was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. I have feared certain subjects that I don't know as much about. However, I knew in my heart that this was the path we were called to follow for our family. One of the main scriptures that I cling to is this passage from Deuteronomy 6: 5-8 "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Home education allows us the freedom to teach our children about God like this scripture passage, naturally, throughout the whole day in our daily living.

One of the reasons I love MFW is because they give so many great resources and materials, many of these books have good questions and answers in them, so we don't have to know all of the facts or details. This helps me to be a better teacher and to feel more confident. There are also wonderful teaching parents online and I have called the office multiple times with questions and talked to people who want to help. I was in a local classical homeschooling group for the past 5 years and one of the things I learned through that experience is to "ask good questions". We don't always have to know all the answers, but one of our most important jobs is to give our kids a Biblical worldview and lead them to truth, goodness, and beauty in life. We are modeling for them how to ask questions and then go find the answers! Sometimes, we have to go look for those answers together and that's okay because it is showing them how to be a lifelong learner.

I also keep a journal, not every day but an ongoing journal, where I write down thoughts, prayers, and Bible verses that I feel God wants me to remember. When I struggle with fear and doubt, I pull out my journal and look back at what I struggled with a few months ago and I see answered prayers or verses that God used in my life. One of the verses He placed on my heart for that last couple of years is this: Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do." This verse reminds me that God made me to be able to do this job that He has given to me to disciple and educate my children! He prepared me way in advance (like my story above) and He will continue to lead and guide me, as well as my children. He knows their future and will also prepare them for what He will call them to do in the future, as well. I feel it is my job to put in the time to study, ask for help, read, and do my best, but He will also cover my gaps and deficiencies.

I am going through the Bible Study Experiencing God right now and I have been learning that God is already at work around us, He invites us to be a part of His work, and we first have to obey Him to truly experience Him and what He is doing. Homeschooling is a journey for our family that God continues to lead. When I doubt, I remind myself of the job that God has given me and try to list all of the good things and blessings that we are experiencing as we follow this path. Now that my kids are older, I can list so many wonderful things that we have experienced that may have been different if we had not taken this path. I also look to other homeschoolers who encourage me.

Some other homeschoolers that have websites and blogs who encourage me are Lee Binz (The Homescholar) who has tons of information about homeschooling through high school, Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom), Marianne at Homeschooling With Dyslexia, and Sarah Mackenzie (Teaching from a State of Rest and The Read Aloud Revival). Leigh Bortins, the founder of Classical Conversations, also wrote some great books about each stage of learning with practical advice on how to educate children classically. These books are "The Core" (grammar/elementary stage), "The Question" (dialectic/logic/middle school stage), and "The Conversation" (rhetoric stage/high school). They would be a great help to parents even if they are not doing CC, in teaching you how to ask questions that make the student think and how to lead discussions. Your library may even have them.

Thanks for sharing and posting this topic. It's good to reflect on our experiences and to learn from each other!
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

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