SummaryAttitude, Forgiveness, See the Big Picture? What would you change if you could start over? Three moms reflect on their homeschool makeovers.
I Would Change My Attitude…
“Continue doing what you are doing; only change your attitude.” That advice, found in a favorite book, is precisely what I would do differently if I could return to the beginning of this homeschool journey.
Not infrequently, my attitude negatively affected the school day or at least caused unnecessary stress. Specifically, my belief that I needed to get everything done perfectly or risk complete failure led to countless tears, frustration, and outbursts of lost patience.
Or that I’m the only homeschooling parent who thought one bad grade could equate to a complete breakdown in a student’s education. Or who worried that a student’s struggles were all my fault.
Perhaps I’m the only one who shouldered such errors in belief. But I doubt it. With hindsight, now closer to 20/20, my attitude is the number one thing I would change.
I wouldn’t be distracted by the one bad grade or less-than-stellar day. I’d try to remain in the present moments, understanding that something worthwhile is always being accomplished in and for those who have faith in Divine Providence.
Looking back, I would relax and rest in the understanding that homeschooling is about forming the whole person, which means teaching students how to learn and live.
I would adjust my attitude to reflect better the reality that it doesn’t all depend on me or my student. Yes, we are responsible for our actions (following a schedule, completing our lessons), but even failures teach worthwhile lessons.
And ultimately, if we strive to know, love, and serve God in all our endeavors, we can be assured eternal success.
Tara Brelinsky, North Carolina
Our Mistakes Help Us Grow…
It is hard to say what I would do differently as a homeschooling family, for even our mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
I will not give trite advice like “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Let’s be honest. When taking on the responsibility of your child’s education, especially in the faith, nothing feels “small.” So, take all of this as you will: number one, I would have put more art and music in the day. Sometimes, we get so focused on that test or that project I would skip the art and music.
Beautiful art and music lift our hearts and souls to God and remind us of what it is to be human. I wouldn’t force my kids to take up an instrument, but I wish we attended more orchestras and went to view fine art more often.
Number two, I wish I had sought help from the Seton counselors WAY sooner. They are knowledgeable and good and want these kids to succeed.
Number three, I wish I had had my kids evaluated for learning differences sooner. My son wasn’t diagnosed with autism until he was ten or eleven, and he went through hard times because of that.
It is also hard because, not being in the public school system, resources are not always readily available to homeschool students. One of my children is struggling this summer, and we are trying to get her evaluated for any anxiety/ADD. A special needs evaluation is nothing to fear; the sooner we know, the more we can help.
Kristin Brown, Virginia
Thriving on a Schedule…
What I would do differently is a difficult topic because it involves regret, which the devil can use to lead us to despair in our vocation.
So, with a good dose of wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit to answer the question, I would have gotten myself out of my comfort zone more often.
As a person who thrives on a schedule and has many kids to raise, I do things that fit our schedule. I made sure that mealtimes, prayer time, school time, nap time, etc., were kept as closely as possible.
Looking back, this discouraged us from doing things that could have benefited our kids in the long run. If I had gotten out of my comfort zone of schedule and my safe area of not doing things too difficult, I think the kids would have had more adventures and experiences and faced more real-life challenges that they are now getting to do as older kids and young adults.
I cannot change the past, so I look to see what I can still do today to help my kids become the people God intended.
Susan Brock, Virginia