There’s a common adage that says if you lose your why, you lose your way. In other words, if you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re not going to get very far. You’ll be easily sidetracked by distractions, discouragement, and disappointments. If you don’t have a firm grasp on your reason for following your chosen path, you can get derailed. This is part of why I believe in purposeful living, which includes purposeful homeschooling.
Because the same adage is true with homeschooling just as it is with life in general.
If you lose sight of why you started homeschooling in the first place, it can be too easy to want to quit when the going gets tough. And there will be tough times. When the house is a mess and it feels like you can’t get anything done and the kids are fighting, you need to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Kids need reasons, too. Memorizing a bunch of facts they’ll never use about things they don’t really care about and have no investment in isn’t exactly the definition of a successful education. I think this is part of the problem with public school — they rob kids of the reasons for learning, along with the purpose for attaining knowledge to grow in character.
How Do you Stay Purposeful in your Homeschool?
Sometimes it’s easier said than done, I know. When you’re in the midst of what feels like chaos, it’s overly simplistic to just say, “Well, one day it will all work out.” So, here are the practical things I cling to when the going gets tough:
- Don’t get bogged down in the details. Shake off the idea of doing everything in the lesson plan every day. If all you accomplish for the day are the basics of living, that’s okay. Give yourself grace. Sometimes you just need to pick a good book and read aloud together. It works as glue to keep you together on the tough days.
- Focus on what matters. Embrace the relationships you’re forming with your children and the bond they’re forming with each other. Nurture those relationships. That in itself is a great goal and some days, just getting along together and having some quality time is the greatest gift you can give each other.
- Have a homeschool vision. Most homeschool moms have short-term plans by day, week, or semester. But what are your overall, deep down goals for your homeschool? When you get to the end of your homeschooling career, what will success look like to you? This overarching theme will keep you on track. I wrote about three ways to keep that in mind in this post.
- Let go of the arbitrary “standards.” If your goal is to raise a healthy, well-rounded individual of good character, the fact that they can’t quite grasp algebra in one day doesn’t matter in the grand scheme, does it? So what if they learn to read at age 8 instead of age 4? There are no awards for early reading and it’s not even a predictor of reading skill or lifelong love of reading, so let it go. I’ve found that many things I stressed about tend to work themselves out with a little time and patience. Then I wonder why I wasted so much time and energy worrying about them in the first place!
Above all, I want my daughters to know that they aren’t accidents of nature. That God designed them for a purpose and they each have talents to use for Him in life. Big or small, it’s those purposeful choices that make a difference over a lifetime. It’s that vision that steers our purposeful homeschool.
How would you describe your homeschool in one word? What is your vision? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Read more from the iHomeschool Network bloggers: