Stress, finances, fatigue and every day life are tough enough to deal with. Add in homeschooling, mix it all around and it can be the perfect quitter’s recipe. Look at my article, What I Gave Up to Homeschool (and what I got in return).
Though I didn’t appreciate when it was happening, (hard to do that when stressed) my first time of stress was also the first test of my homeschool values.
Homeschool Quitters, Dropouts and Wimps
So today, I want to come from a delicate spot and that is my heart.
And you know I try to steer clear from too much over the top drama here when I share with you.
But tears, emotion and drama are the very things needed when you face a homeschool crisis. Look at my article, Go Ahead and Make a Mistake: Homeschool Without Fear.
Before you decide to quit homeschooling, look at two things I learned when several times throughout my homeschooling, I have felt like dropping out.
1. Time to dig deep NOW for your values.
Each family begins homeschooling for various reasons. You have them too.
Whether your reasons are faith based, not schooling for religious reasons at all or schooling for a mix of both Biblical values and academic excellence, they are still dear to you.
At the beginning of homeschooling the reasons are vibrant and so in-your-face. The longer you homeschool, the more grit it calls for because the reasons seem to fade away.
That is the point. They seem to fade away, when in fact probably nothing much has changed.
My first test I remember clearly because I quit. I felt like I wasn’t teaching Mr. Senior 2013 how to read well, I felt weak and caved.
How to Go from Fantasy to Reality?
I sent him to public school for part of Kindergarten.
Half a year later and some standardized testing (because I didn’t trust myself), I learned that he was far ahead of the other kids.
I didn’t value the reasons that brought me to homeschooling. Instead of standing solid at the first test of my values, I dropped out.
However, dropping out is not necessarily permanent in homeschool. I brought Mr. Senior 2013 back home after a short time in public school and he never returned.
Did you notice the mistake? I can clearly articulate it now.
Instead of viewing my family values and reasons for homeschooling as priceless and a treasure, I skipped over the need to cement them in my heart.
I dismissed them every so slightly (okay maybe more liked dropped like a bad habit) and focused only on the academic part of homeschooling. (important for sure)
Instead of understanding that academics is only one reason I was homeschooling, I got off balance.
Nothing really had changed.
I still wanted to be the one there for my sons first time to walk, to read, to learn to write, to share in his love for learning all the way until he graduated.
The Mr. and I wanted to be the ones to influence the spiritual man in each son. That’s not going to happen when they are away from us.
2. Where do you spend your time? Do you have public school or homeschool friends?
The next stressful time in my life was when my sweet sister had to spend a good amount of time in ICU after a huge scare from her not breathing. How would I continue to homeschool?
She not only needed me, but she had two kids also that needed care.
Was this the time to send my kids to public school so that I could take care of her long term?
You know, looking back some things you think about just don’t make sense. Of course, at the time with a tremendous amount of stress, any reasoning seems justified.
And no, life was not done with me yet.
Next, came my husband’s heart attack where he almost lost his life. And it’s easy to think we’re too young to have this happen and especially while I have three kids at home, but then this life is not about being fair.
Was this the time, now that Mr. Senior 2013 was in high school that I should send him to public school and quit homeschooling and focus on my husband in ICU?
From trials comes life lessons.
By this time, I was part of an active homeschool community and had many homeschool friends.
Beyond the Basics of Homeschooling?
How did this affect my determination to homeschool through trials?
It made ALL the difference between quitting and successfully meeting these challenges.
Looked at what I learned.
- Because I embraced a homeschooling lifestyle, I was no longer looking for ways to quit, but for ways to stick to our homeschooling life style through trials.
- Instead of using the circumstance of taking care of my sister and her family as an excuse to give up, I used it as a way to teach my sons about how to care for other people. We made many trips to the long term care facility, many meals and many trips to see her. Look at what I wrote: All of our children met the challenge of being more independent and helping each other out. They ARE LIVING in the real world and dealing with life as it comes along. My niece who is just 16, same age as my son, ran their family owned business. She answered the phone, dealt with customers and filled orders. She has gone to “work” each day for 26 days in a row, not missing one day of being there from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mmmm, do you think she has a good grasp of being out on her own now? We are so proud of her and my son. My son ran my house and homeschooled my youngest son, cooked their lunch, cleaned the house and washed clothes. He bought groceries and went right on with the household. All of the children went right on with their routine they learned while homeschooling as I have spent many long days in the hospital by my sister’s side. My homeschooling friends, like family now were valuable in their love, support and suggestions.
- When my husband had his heart attack, Mr. Senior 2013 (though still in high school) had to work for a month in our business. This too didn’t involve behind the scenes work, but he went with an installation crew to customer’s homes to install products. He didn’t want to give up our homeschooling lifestyle. And the flexibility in our schedule to slow down and care for my husband would not have been an option if he was in public school. My homeschool friends were the ones that reminded me to take care of what was important now and that homeschooling would wait.
See, I tried in the beginning to keep “friends” from public school, but it gets tough the longer you homeschool because of differences.
We don’t spend much time with public school friends now. Not because we are being snobbish, but because we are looking for ways to stick to our goals.
Friends can make you falter or give you fortitude when life happens.
Homeschooling in real life looks very different from whats planned on paper.
From this I want to encourage each of you to take hold of the homeschooling lifestyle.
Don’t be so easily swayed to let go of something that is precious.
Through struggle comes change and conviction and a fortitude that this IS the best education we can give our children.
We empower our kids to move along with their lives when we are not around to be there prodding them and that cannot be taught in public school or through curriculum.
Hugs and love ya,
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