Decisions, Homeschooling

Considering Quitting? Relationships Rule

Along the way, I learned that quitting homeschooling was one of the hardest and most emotional decisions families made. Leaving a loved, traditional school in order to homeschool was also hard.

My children’s relationships with God and our family were primary, not educational choices. Our family chose homeschooling because we believed it was our best fit. However, too many times, this choice hindered my husband and me from being the dad and mom our children needed. I watched other families experience the same.

What my sons were taught didn’t matter if they weren’t listening or were too were wounded to listen.

I witnessed marriages struggling because of educational choices. I watched families hesitate to leave extracurricular activities when they needed more space in their lives. And less structure. And more family time, which could never be regained once lost.

In making decisions to quit a course—and perhaps start a new one—I wish I had known how hard it is to repair broken relationships or crushed spirits that resulted from continuing activities beyond an optimal point.

What are your criteria for quitting activities?


Curriculum To Grow Into

The forty-something father held up a Christmas-present turtleneck and asked, “How do I know my mom gave this to me?” He answered his own question with “There’s room for me to grow into it.” We laughed even though clothes to grow into are never funny, not as children nor as adultsespecially when our growth will not be in height.

He then told about childhood clothes that were worn out or ripped or not his interest by the time they fit. He felt like this happened too often until he was old enough to choose or buy his own clothes.

Along the way, I learned that curriculum to grow into was even worse than over-sized clothes.

By the time prematurely bought curriculum became age appropriate, it was forgotten, did not suit our current style, or something better had been published. Occasionally, I was simply tired of looking at it on the shelf and wanted something new. The money saved from snatching a bargain or planning too far ahead was not worth the eventual waste. Freshly purchased curriculum met needs better and boosted learning.

Are you waiting for something to fit? How is that working?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Homeschool Peer Pressure

During decades of homeschooling and observing homeschoolers, I observed a cycle. We start by caring what non-homeschoolers think. Next, we bond with homeschoolers and arrive at a place where we don’t care what outsiders think. However, we care too much what other homeschoolers think—at times to the detriment of our family.

Homeschool peer pressure may keep us—or at least delay us—from taking a needed break from homeschooling, or abandoning a popular curriculum, or pulling out of group classes that do not meet our needs.

While being pressured to take advice from others, I came across a principle I still remember.

Decision-making belongs to the person who carries the responsibility for the consequences of the decision.

I needed that reminder.

During driver training, other drivers honked for our sons to turn right on red and into oncoming traffic. Honking encouraged other reckless driving. We told our sons, “It is your injury, and your regrets, and your court date, and our car, and our insurance premium if you have an accident. Not the person honking.”

Our family bore the serious consequences for our driving behavior, not hurried drivers. Therefore, our family made those decisions.

Anyone honking at you?

Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting, Photos

Clutter? Photos Help

An experienced mom had learned how to fight the clutter battle, and I took her “take a photo” advice to heart.

My boys built Usborne Cut-Out models of a Viking town, Roman villa, Roman amphitheater, multiple castles, knights’ masks and more. They enjoyed their results.

However, you can’t keep that stuff around. When the models had served their purpose and then hung around a bit longer, I took a photo and we moved on.

Crusader Castle 2001

The advice prevented arguments and showed respect for the boy’s efforts. Not only did I have years of clean surface areas, nineteen years later, I have reminders of projects that would have crumbled and been tossed by now.

This system works today. My sentimental family members are more likely to toss something if they take a photo before parting.

Do you have a method for making it easier to part with sentimental items?


Examine Advice

“I can’t tell you everything we’ve learned. You’ll compare my friend’s children to mine, and penalize them. She isn’t teaching as much.”

When I reviewed homeschoolers’ portfolios for the local public school system, I was shocked and saddened to hear this disinformation. The only standard for evaluation was the state homeschool law.

“Why do you believe this?” I asked about this and other erroneous statements.

“The leader of my support group warned me,” or “I read it in a magazine.”

What did I learn along the way?  Respected leaders both knowingly and unknowingly gave bad advice. Most expressed legitimate concerns, but some operated out of fear. Others had agendas: increased membership or profits from their products.

Our public school system did not want conflict. Neither did it have the resources to make homeschoolers’ fears come true.  My supervisor believed in the value of homeschooling.

What did I do? I became wiser in my carefulness. I particularly examined advice that produced fear or advised secrecy. It’s common sense but easy to forget when you are passionate about a cause. Even homeschooling. I did.

Be wise as a serpent, yet innocent as a dove.

Matthew 10:16 ESV

What advice have you questioned?