Even going into my fifth year of homeschooling, I still somehow get a bit of the "start-of-a-new year" jitters.
So, after having a little bit of a meltdown with Lily yesterday, I decided I needed to give myself a little pep talk so as to start this year out right. On a positive note.
Here it goes...
1. Focus. What is one of the biggest reasons we chose to homeschool? To impart the Word of God to my children. To have them at home with me learning Biblical truths and establishing a moral foundation. Of course, academics are important, but helping my children as they grow into the people God designed them to be should be number one priority.
2. Expect and plan for bad days. Then when those horrible, I'm-enrolling-my-kids-in-school-first-thing-tomorrow days come, I can remind myself that I already knew I was going to have bad days. I've prepared myself for their presence. And they certainly aren't grounds for enrolling my kids in school. Praise the Lord that tomorrow is a new day!
3. Remain forgiving. Yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be moments when I get upset and yell at one of the kids because I'm frustrated, or they're not listening, or they're not getting something I had already taught them ten times before. And then I'm pretty sure I'll feel guilty about yelling at said child. So I want to remember to swallow my pride, apologize where apologies are due, and then move on.
4. Plan. But not too far ahead. Last year I started the year out by planning three months worth of work in my homeschool planner. And then as reality presented itself, my to-do list started piling up into each consecutive day until I eventually became so overwhelmed and stressed out that I threw my hands up in frustration and threw my planner to the back of my desk (to be covered with an endless amount of papers for the next four months or so.) This year, I planned the first week, read ahead a couple more, and did everything in pencil.
5. That leads me to the next one. Be realistic in my planning. Don't plan too much. Because when I do and it doesn't get accomplished, I'm going to feel like a failure. Don't do it, Amber.
6. Remind myself that my kids will eventually learn the things they need to learn. Sometimes they will struggle, sometimes the material will need to be presented in a different way to get the point across, sometimes it's just a matter of them not being ready yet, but they will eventually get it. Experience has proven that. Even here in our home.
7. For gosh sakes, quit playing the comparison game. Oh, I love the easy and ready access I have to a boatload of information on the Internet. But, oh, do I also know what that can lead to: a feeling of inadequacy. These are the thoughts: Well, this mom does this. And that mom, wow, she does that. And look how fun of a teacher that mom is. And, boy, I'm pretty much convinced I need to put an addition on my house because I just don't think we can do this homeschool thing without a dedicated room so I can hang my charts, maps, and flag. You know the game. It's the same game we play in other areas of our lives as soon as we start comparing ourselves to other women. God made you the way He made you for a reason. And He gave you those children you have because you are the perfect mommy for them. (For the record, I am sooooo guilty of this. And, quite honestly, it paralyzes me at times.)
8. Have fun and enjoy the kids. This is my opportunity to slow down and really connect with my kids. Take advantage of it.
9. Remember that He is all-sufficient. And His sufficiency fills in all the gaps of my insufficiency. In other words, He's got my back.
10. Remember to plan some fun days. We all need a break sometimes, and a fun field trip is a great way to break up the routine a bit and liven things up. We all feel refreshed after a day off.