Are We Doing This Again Next Year? How Not to Quit Homeschooling!

Arrows3BoysThis seems to be the time of year when the questions begin. Are we homeschooling again next year? Should we switch some things we’re doing? Or all the things we’re doing? Am I doing enough as their teacher? How much did they really learn this year?

Let me ask you a question that should quiet the rest. Why are you homeschooling? Don’t know why? Start there! If the reasons you’re considering quitting don’t excuse you from the reasons you’re homeschooling, it doesn’t work!

My husband and I strongly believe God has called us to homeschool. He’s using it to reveal Himself to us and to make all of us more like Him. I believe He has fully equipped us as my littles’ parents to be the best teachers for them. It is knowing these very things that keep me motivated and hopeful when we have bad days, when it feels like nothing gets done or I lose my patience. Because my faith and purpose is bigger than us. So guess what? A terribly messy house might frustrate me, but it doesn’t make me want to quit homeschooling. A day of whiny kids might make me want to climb back into bed, but it doesn’t make me want to give up teaching them. A tough day of learning math doesn’t make me feel inadequate, but reminds me I have lots to learn. Why? Because none of those things change why I’ve been called to homeschool. God called us to homeschool. He is using it in our lives.

Maybe you’re homeschooling because you believe your son needs more attention than the schools can provide or because you want to provide a biblical worldview to his education. Perhaps your daughter’s heart was turning away from the family or God, so you wanted more time to disciple her. Have those reasons changed? If not, stay the course.  

If you know why you’re homeschooling, you’ll know if you should keep going or not. Once you are holding the reason(s) firmly in place, create a game plan that makes sense for your family. Don’t just jump in. Don’t try to replicate someone else’s homeschool experience or copy the schools. 

Here’s how I recommend developing a plan: 

1) Understand how education works.

2) Understand how your family works.

3) Create goals.

4) Take it one step at a time.  

As I’ve shared before, I earned my degrees in Social Work and Bible, not education. When we decided to homeschool I needed to start at the beginning. I researched philosophies of education before exploring curriculum. If you don’t understand the philosophies of education, then the different methods curriculums employ won’t make sense. Or at the least, you’ll be confused as to which ones to select. Understand the philosophies and see which appeals most to your family and your understanding of how you and your children learn. As I’ve made the case before, I think classical education is truly the way all people learn, so it makes the most sense. But, our family’s methods are also influenced by Charlotte Mason and Thomas Jefferson/ leadership education. Side note – I think they’re pretty closely related philosophies myself!

Begin by thinking and praying through your goals. Start generally — What’s the “target” for your arrows? (Psalm 127) What kind of men and women are you hoping to turn out to the world? After that, develop more specific goals for what you’d like them to experience and learn. These can even be tailored for each child, depending on their interests and giftedness. While it is good to write these goals down, especially for those moments when you need to be reminded, you can just think, talk, and pray them through with your spouse. This is a good thing to do each summer.

Finally, take it one step at a time. Develop a plan for each year as you approach it. You can tweak it as you go and you most certainly will as each year passes. But knowing why you are homeschooling and having your philosophies and goals firmly in place will help keep your footing steady when the days are slippery.  

How do you answer the questions that develop in your mind, your spouse’s mind, or the minds of your fellow homeschooling parents? I’d love to hear what keeps your feet steady. For me, knowing why we homeschool is all it takes. Since I know that, I can figure the rest out.  



Comments

  1. says

    I feel God has called me to home school and obeying him is my biggest reason for doing it, however, I also love being in my children’s lives longer than if I were working. It is a blessing to be at home and to teach my children. Thank you, thank you for your encouraging words.

  2. Cecilia says

    Hi Beth! I received information on your blog because we are a CC family and I saw in the the newsletter. I decided to click on the article and……boy was I elated to see what fun stuff you had to say! After much thought (but not because of anything I read in your blog: this decision was made before I stumbled into you) we decided to take this cycle “off”. I’m certainly not quitting on homeschooling, but I’m burned out and so are my kiddos (ages 7 and 9). I’m sure it’s me, not them. You see, I do a completely whole other curriculum at home with them; including science, history and all the things that CC focuses on. CC is also a bit expensive for us at this time in addition to the amount of money I spend on the “other” curriculum I do at home. My oldest would also be staring Essentials this year…another reason I am just over the top. My question (s) to you are: Did you have any backround in the teaching field? I ask because I’m impressed with your organization. I spend so much time trying to be fun and creative while searching for other curricula that I actually feel like I’m taking time away from my kids. I know there are endless amounts of resources and sometimes I feel as if I’m just making this all more complicated than it is. I just really want to do right by them and since this is essentially my one and only job (other than being a good wife and serving the Lord) I want to do it right. I know your kids are younger than mine but any feedback you have would be a huge help along with encouragement. Thank you!

    • Beth Watson says

      Cecilia, I hope you’ll excuse my delayed response. Summer has been keeping us quite busy! I’m a pretty organized person to begin with, but I also have done a lot of reading over the years. When we first felt called to homeschool, I started reading books on education. I wanted to learn all about different philosophies of education prior to picking a curriculum. Then I really just try to keep things simple, so I can execute them and keep some free time for my crew to learn/explore on their own. Does this help? Wouldn’t it be more fun if we could just sit down and talk all this fun stuff over coffee? :)

    • Beth Watson says

      Cecilia, such a big job! A friend recently said, “Homeschooling is a full-time job.” And I realized she’s absolutely right! The first thing I did once we decided to homeschool was read a lot. I read all about educational philosophies before choosing a method. We settled on classical education with a Charlotte Mason twist. So our days consist of reviewing memory work, reading lots of good books, practicing basics (handwriting, spelling), and being outside. And, of course, household/habit training.Besides adding math and reading curriculums to CC, reading really good books is the most important thing. We use Ambleside Online for reading lists, but there are so many good choices. This year I’m trying to remind myself to keep it simple for as long as I can. Mine are young also, and I know the high school years will be full to overflowing. I want to keep our young years more relaxed. I hope your year is off to a great start! Taking a year off CC might be just what you need to find your family rhythm again. :)

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