Our big question # 2 is this: Are you being REALISTIC with your expectations for homeschooling based on your personality, the abilities of your child, the availability of your husband, and the number of hours in the day? In other words, are your expectations appropriate and reasonable?
Hear me first on this, mama: When you homeschool, you are NOT a "stay at home mom". You are a work from home mom. You are a TEACHER who works at home- degree or not. You are wholly responsible for your child's education (which is BOTH terrifying and a huge honor.)
Since that's out of the way, let's take a minute and walk through some questions. But first, if you haven't already downloaded the 18 page workbook to use with this series, you definitely need it (and it's FREE!). Just enter your email below to subscribe and grab it today. I promise, you don't want to go through this process without it!
Let's dig in!
Part 1: Scheduling
Is your schedule reflecting school as your top priority, or are you allowing errands, chores, or other responsibilities to distract you?
And here's the clencher to that question: Is that distractedness making you feel overwhelmed and "behind"?
Anyone who knows me knows I don't pay much homage to charts or schedules from others about my child's progress BUT if you feel "behind" then that can leave you feeling disorganized, ineffective, and constantly questioning whether you are doing the "right thing" by homeschooling your child.
If the answer to this question is that you are putting other responsibilities ahead of your primary role of teacher, let's look for some solutions. You definitely can't "do it all" and be left feeling completely drained and ineffective. Time to prioritize and outsource, Mama!
So let's brainstorm: Could you possibly hire a mom's helper, or use Walmart's new grocery pick-up service or use Instacart for delivery from Publix, Costco, or Whole Foods? Could you hire a virtual assistant if you're a work-at-home mom too? Could you ask your husband to handle one or two more household chores in the evening, so you aren't left holding the full bag? This is a great time to sit down with your husband and children and evaluate priorities for you home. (grab the workbook for more ideas!)
Part 2: Expectations
Given your existing educational philosophy and scheduling, the age and maturity of your child, and your child's learning style and abilities- are your expectations for your child realistic and attainable?
Here are some thoughts to roll around in your mind and pray over: Are you holding him or her to a standard that the school systems has set into place that you aren't educating toward anyway? Are you comparing his weaknesses to your friend's child's strengths? Are you evaluating your child as a whole person rather than a set of skills to be obtained during school hours? And if your child is truly struggling in an area, have you sought out testing or evaluations?
I can promise you one thing, if your child is truly struggling with a learning disability, and is falling behind their peer group (or what you believe that they are capable of), then the last thing that will help your child is to be put into a classroom with 30 other children all sharing the attention of one teacher and an aide. The best IEP in the world can not match a mother's attention and commitment or a one-on-one environment. Ask me how I know.
One last part (stick with it! It's going to be worth it!). Now that we've explored your expectations for your day and your child, let's look at the relationships in your home. (If you didn't print out the workbook, now's the time to do it. This is a ton of information to just keep bottled inside your head!)
Part 3: More Expectations
How have the relationships in your family differed from what you may have expected as a homeschool family?
Were you thinking that everything was going to be really easy-going for the most part? Did your expectations include the fact that everyone has a bad day, and sometimes even a bad week? Did your expectations take into account any existing friction that may have already been in a relationship? Did your expectations include hormones and developmental changes alongside sensory needs (quiet time, anyone!?!).
Spending all day every day with your children can bring out the worst in any of us (hand shoots into the air!). That's not something special- set aside just for us homeschool mamas. I promise! Any seasoned homeschool mom can tell you that nothing is more sanctifying that homeschooling your children. So maybe there are areas that need to be worked on. Maybe you or your child are struggling with a sin issue that needs to be addressed. Praise God for the opportunity to face these things head-on and effect real change for your child's future!
PHEW! You did it! We have ONE MORE QUESTION to work through in part 4! I hope that you are consistently seeking God's will and His Word through your entire experience in contemplating this huge decision. Keep going. We have 2 parts left. The next part is the last question and part 5 may just surprise you!