Relaxed Homeschooling: Here’s How It’s Done
Take a new approach with your homeschooling this year with a relaxed approach. Interested in relaxed homeschooling? Here’s how it’s done.
Experience is a homeschool mom or dad’s best teacher. Looking at the lives of veteran homeschool parents, one trait is common among most: their methods become more relaxed as the years go on. As parents begin to graduate their children and raise up their younger ones, they are able to look back and assess. They can see what worked and what didn’t. What was important and what wasn’t. What was worth fighting for and what needed to be axed from the schedule. Whether teaching methods, routines, or curriculum, there are hills that parents need to be willing to die on, and there are ones that need to be demolished. What needs to be torn down in your homeschool? Take a look at the three common hinderances to relaxed homeschooling to see if your upcoming school year could be improved by eliminating one or more of them.
1. Fear of Adapting Curriculum to Your Child’s Needs
After spending hours, days, or even months researching, praying about, and finally purchasing the perfect curriculum, you are excited to implement it in your homeschool. The excitement can wear off pretty quickly if you don’t factor in life. The problem with curriculum is, many parents view it the same as public or private school curriculum, but it can never be the same. It never will be the same. Even if you are using curriculum designed for a school setting, your environment lends for different learning opportunities, which is a blessing not a curse like many parents are accustomed to believe. Many first-time homeschooling parents are worried when they are unable to follow the schedule exactly as written in the curriculum because what is written down makes it appear attainable. Yet, life gets in the way, and with homeschool, that is a wonderful problem to have and is attainable, just in a different way. Rather than focusing on the books, focus on the life lessons that are presented throughout the day. If discipline needs to occur, discipline. If a child were in a school setting and discipline needed to happen, he might be sitting in the principal’s office while missing an entire English class. The benefit of homeschooling is, you can pick up where you left off with your child. In a school setting, that would not be the case. The class would have moved on. Although it can be emotionally taxing for the parent, God’s grace is with the homeschooling parent because this is your calling. When a parent finds freedom in teaching the child, not the curriculum, relaxed homeschooling will follow.
2. Doubting Your Own Abilities
Parents are often told that they should have a degree to teach their child. Usually, this is not coming from someone that has a degree and has homeschooled. As a homeschooling parent with a degree, I can tell you that nothing can prepare you for homeschooling except homeschooling. I have worked with children across the globe. I have taught children to write their ABC’s and to learn to read. I have taught English, art, and the Bible, yet none of that prepared me for homeschooling. Homeschooling is more about the “home” than it is about “schooling.” If a parent is truly struggling in their homeschool, I encourage them to reassess their parenting style. Search the Scriptures for how to parent. Seek Biblical council from a trusted leader if needed in the area of parenting, not homeschooling. When this is in order, the rest will follow. When your home is in order, the schooling will happen in a peaceful manner whether you have a degree or not. The content is there; the resources are available. You are simply there to oversee and draw from God’s strength to teach.
3. Concerned About What Others May Think
You might not think that this concern is affecting your homeschool, but it very well may be. Many parents find themselves unable to get in the groove of a relaxed homeschooling approach because they are concerned about what others may think. I am not only talking about the grocery store clerk passive-aggressively asking your child if she had a doctor’s appointment that day to see why they are not in school. I am also speaking of those close to you. Parents, friends, church leaders, and siblings can affect our actions indirectly. When the fear of man becomes greater than the fear of God, it is easy to be motivated by that fear. It affects our daily lives, our children’s lives, and how we homeschool. When we become confident not only in our choice to homeschool but also the method that we have chosen, as relaxed as it may be, we find freedom. We know what is best for our child, and if having a park day trumps worksheets once a while, that is our decision.
Do any of these sound like you? Which one are you willing to remove from your life/homeschool this year?