For many homeschooling moms, the beginning of a new school year is just ahead! In this Mom’s Corner, I would like to share with you three suggestions for making the coming school year the success that you want it to be.
As I approached the first day of school last year, I was dreading it! I wasn’t ready for the changes full-time school would bring. I knew that if my spirit wasn’t right, my children’s wouldn’t be either. I cried out to the Lord concerning the state of my heart, and He answered me.
The Lord encouraged me to set aside the Saturday night before our first day of school as a time to dedicate the school year to Him. I worked on Friday and Saturday to complete all the practical, weekend tasks I had to do so that my Saturday evening would be free. I shared with my family what I was planning and received my husband’s blessing. As I waited for my evening with the Lord, I jotted down areas that I wanted to pray about.
After dinner that evening, I gathered up school books, schedules, assignments—anything that had to do with our school. I carried them into my bedroom and stacked them in piles. I pulled out my prayer notes and started praying for our school, for Steve, and for myself.
Then, child by child, I placed their school materials in front of me. I thumbed through them and made notes as to what I thought might be difficult areas for the child. I noted that on my prayer list. Then I prayed for each child and their school year. If the Lord brought ideas to mind during the prayer time, I paused, made a note, and then continued on.
I had such a sweet, sweet time with the Lord that it completely transformed my heart toward beginning school again. I would counsel any homeschooling mom, whether she is excited about her school year or dreading it, to set aside a special time to pray about and dedicate her school to the Lord. This might even be something a husband and wife could do together in addition to Mom praying alone.
Psalms 37:5 says, “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” I certainly saw the fruit of this as I purposed, in a different way than I ever had in the past, to commit my school year to Him. I am planning to do this every year!
The second area I would like to encourage you in is chore assignments. This would include making a list of each child’s chores, scheduling a time for them to accomplish the chores, setting aside time for you to check their chores, and agreeing upon consequences when the chores aren’t done properly. I have found that one of the most draining aspects of homeschooling is not the schooling itself, but getting children to fulfill their household responsibilities before and after school. For more information about chores, see our book, Managers of Their Chores: A Practical Guide to Children's Chores.
What do you do if the child assigned to wash breakfast dishes doesn’t do them or takes five times longer than he should? You need to have thought through the possibilities and have consequences in place so that you aren’t frustrated when this occurs. We can handle failure in our children calmly when the consequences have been planned out for future use.
When assigning chores and consequences, try to keep personalities in mind. Don’t give your dawdler a mission-critical chore that must be accomplished before school can start. If he is the only choice for the job, try giving him a “first school activity” that can easily be made up in his free time later in the day, since some days he might have to spend that slot of school time doing his chore.
The last area I would like address has to do with curriculum. Having prayed about what to use for school this year, be wary of any dissatisfaction you might experience toward your curriculum. The Lord may have a different purpose for those materials that don’t seem to be working out as you expected.
When something isn’t going well, we are very quick to desire a curriculum change. I know, because I have “been there” many times during the past sixteen years of homeschooling! Perhaps your six-year-old’s phonics program isn’t working out the way you envisioned. It may be that you should lead your child through at a much, much slower pace while he matures and gradually grasps the material. Could it be your child needs to learn, even at six, to push himself beyond his comfort zone? Maybe you are to learn an extra measure of patience. We can rob our children, and ourselves, of these valuable lessons by “jumping” curriculum too quickly.
I pray that as we enter a new homeschooling year we will seek the Lord on our knees before we ever start the first day of school. May we look for His solutions in helping our children learn responsibility. May we also rest in His purposes for the curriculum choices He has led us to make.
If you would like to view our current school schedule, you can do so.