I could sense the tear stains in her email.
This young mama talked about all the normal homeschooling things
- Where to begin
- How to set schedules
- How to help her child succeed
- Choosing the right teaching style to match her son
But her real fear jumped out from between the lines.
She is terrified.
She’s so concerned about all the little details about teaching and what society believes that she’s paralyzing herself from the inside out.
I think our fears about messing up surface when we put our noses too close to the picture. We need to back up and get a better view.
I remember bawling my eyes out with a friend.
My son was fast approaching a surgery to work on a tumor near his eye socket and all I could see was the HUGE uphill battle ahead of him.
Although his tumor wasn’t cancerous, It had stretched his eye socket in a way that made sure that everyone noticed something wasn’t “ordinary”. Through sobs, I shared my fears that he’d
- never get past people’s first impressions
- never land a job
- and never have a girl fall in love with him.
My friend almost shook me as she laughed with compassion.
“Bekki, he’s THREE. You don’t need to worry about any of that. God’s got his back. Wait and see. He’ll be fine.”
Homeschooling can cause our world to unravel.
Our sons and daughters are so close we can smell that they forgot to use soap and hear that they didn’t learn the lyrics to their favorite song quite right (but their version makes us laugh so we let them keep singing).
We can get so tangled up in curriculum, standards, and college entrance exams that we fall flat on our faces.
Out of fear of messing their future, we pack in more and more and more.
More math, more reading, more experiments, more tests.
Our children gaze longingly out the window at the beautiful day, waiting for that moment that their frazzled mama decides that the perfect number of boxes are checked off on her homeschooling checklist for today.
Of course, You can educate your kids.
You know what makes them tick, how their body reacts to being up late at night and the fit that is just around the corner because you didn’t have them do their chores for a few weeks and “today’s the day” everything is going to go the way you expect it to go.
Mama, It’s my turn to shake you a little and laugh with compassion.
Your kids, like mine, need more than an education.
Yes, homeschooling should include some master goals, but there’s more than teaching to do here.
We need to train, equip and encourage our kids.
Training is different than punishment, training is controlled failure.
It’s modeling a skill and then giving our kids opportunities to practice when the sun is shining and everyone is smiling.
I was talking to a mama yesterday who confessed she’s never changed a tire.
“’It’s time to set up a tire changing camp’ for your kids!” I encouraged. “just make sure you serve snacks.”
Training our kids isn’t hard, it’s just time-consuming.
But this is where the homeschooling magic happens.
As we look for real-life opportunities to use as backdrops, our kids buy front row tickets to their futures.
Training and equipping activities include things like:
- Changing tires
- Folding laundry
- Coaxing things from seeds
- Raising animals
- Washing cars
- Sewing on zippers and buttons
- Creating pots from clay
- Turning a fingerprint into a piece of art
- Bring a meal to a new mom
- Sharpening knives
Kids become enraptured by these kinds of activities because they taste, see, hear, and feel their value.
The cool thing?
As homeschoolers, we can
- slip in math as we measure twice cut once
- reading and we discover instructions
- science and we try to understand what failed
- history as we dig for who did this first, better, or worse.
Encouragement is the secret sauce to training.
When we have the mindset of training, we naturally encourage, praise, and dish out real compliments.
- “Wow! I couldn’t have fixed this without your hands!”
- “You worked so hard to get that done!”
- “I love how you dug for a solution when we hit that challenge”
- “Many hands make light work”
Setting our kids up for success
Too many parents neglect positioning their kids in environments that foster success and confidence. My husband and I chose a different tactic for our son.
From the time he was born, we surrounded our son with
- people who knew us well
- understood why his eye looked the way it did
- treated him just like every other kid: with love.
Our plan: Surround him with people who love and encourage him long enough that his confidence will fill his soul completely from the inside out. Give him the safety net of knowing that who he is on the inside is precious, wonderful, and worthy.
You can set your kids up for success and “stage the field” for their success, not in an effort to rig the game but to allow space for their confidence to grow unchallenged until their inner voice is strong enough to be heard.
Surround yourself, your kids, your family with people, events, and activities that support your vision for your family. It’s kind of like a playpen.
When our babies are just learning to crawl, we pull out that pack and play and set it in the yard while we enjoy the sunshine. Our babies laugh, explore, and play right in their little world while they learn that there is much more to be explored.
As they develop in both skill and confidence, we expand their boundaries while keeping a watchful eye.
Our kids need a playpen of sorts as they grow.
As mom and dad, you get to determine how big their space will be and what toys they will get to touch. Just as you would handpick a babysitter, you can handpick the people you allow in your child’s life as well.
Premeditative Parenting and homeschooling is Necessary for Success
You know your kids.
You know what they need.
Surround them with people who love them, mentors who can teach them skills, and tools to get their “job” done.
Our plan to structure our son’s environment to set him up for success worked better than we could have expected.
My friend was correct.
It was FINE.
He grew up surrounded by people who loved him.
His eye never holds him back. It’s still “there”, but because of premeditative staging:
- He delights in beauty excels in all things art. He paints, he draws, he sculpts.
- He performed in musical theater and delighted in being on stage.
- On a whim, I signed him up late in an oral language class. The goal: memorize 3-5 minutes of a piece of literature and then dramatically recite it in front of an audience and panel of judges. He was 3 weeks behind everyone else, but a star was born. In that class he discovered his love for being on stage and captivating an audience. He went on to win almost every speaking competition he entered.
- Friends? He was and continues to be friends with the world. “There are no strangers, just friends who I haven’t met yet”.
- Girls? Yeah. They all love him. Maybe it was the years of surgeries and pain that caused him to be irresistible, maybe it was the broccoli I made him eat… Regardless of where it came from, that man is a chick magnet.
- Jobs? He’s been working since he was 12. First as a lawn boy, then as an apprentice to a jack of all trades, and now at a local store.
- School? He is an overachiever. He earned his Associates Degree a year early and is now perusing his Bachelor’s degree.
- He’s also an author, screenplay writer, goof-ball, self-appointed nerd, Lego creator, and over-all amazing guy.
Micah is now on the Production Crew for an upcoming short film called The Arcave
Educate your kids.
Train them in areas that have daily value.
Equip them with skills that they can embrace
Encourage their growth, development, and attitude
Stage their lives so they are set up for success
Back up and get a better view.