First Things First

I frequently hear moms sharing how they are frustrated with homeschooling. I totally get it. We have been doing this for 20 years so far (eight kids), and I’m not going to lie. It can be HARD.

Often, you finally find a good groove and before you know it, things are bumpy again. Even downright crazy. I sometimes have visions of waving to my children as they ride away in the yellow school bus leaving me to a quiet home and my own thoughts. Let someone else deal with figuring all this school stuff out!

HHM First Things First

But I know myself. That would last maybe a week, and I would hate not having those days with our kids. Not being part of what they are learning and just BEING together.

I’ve learned that there is an ebb and flow to homeschooling, and it can get hard for a myriad of reasons: sometimes our curriculum isn’t working, or maybe we are in a challenging season of life (pregnancy, death, move, job change, marriage struggles). Sometimes we are expecting too much out of our children too soon. Often we are expecting too much of ourselves.

I have noticed that when we are having a string of bad days, after wading through the mess in my head, there is often one thing that it comes down to: unruly children and unkept boundaries.

If I really stop and think about it, more often than not, I have been distracted for one reason or another, and I have unknowingly slacked off in staying on a routine of checking the kids’ work (chores and book work), giving them too much freedom and not enough responsibility, letting them be disrespectful, not helping them resolve conflicts properly between each other, and so on.

Here’s the deal: kids learn best within boundaries. They are most creative within boundaries. Boundaries are an important part of helping a child feel secure. And those boundaries need to be consistent, or things get thrown off kilter.

As moms….as homeschooling moms, we need to often take an account of how we are doing at providing secure, consistent boundaries in our homes. We can have the smartest kid in town, but if he/she is lacking in discipline and character, we can still raise a fool. So don’t be afraid to let character training and boundary setting trump schoolwork any day.

We want our kids to be well educated, but more importantly we want them to be wise.

Remember to keep first things first.

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  1. Yes, yes, and yes! It’s so encouraging to read your words. There are many days (ok, most days) I doubt myself. I wonder if I would be a better mom and homemaker if my kids were going to public school but it would just break my heart to not be with them. I know for certain that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing by educating them at home. And you’re right, keeping those boundaries and disciplines on track brings so much peace in the home. I think I’m doing myself a favor by giving myself a “break” – hiding out for a minute for some mommy time while the kids work things out on their own. But nope, all it does is bring chaos! Thanks for your encouragement to focus on the most important things!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I totally agree . I want to build character and value while homeschooling. Do you have any recommendations on a book I can follow as points of discussions for this. Normally I would point out character lessons as they come uo. But being that my son is homeschool ed, they don’t come up as much.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      There are many good books out there on character, but my go to is the Bible. Proverbs in particular has great word pictures of foolishness and wisdom and what they look like. I also love a few books directed toward boys. They are Boyhood and Beyond, Created for Work and Practical Happiness, and Everyday Battles all by Bob Schultz It’s great that you bring up character issues as they come up! Sometimes watching other’s mistakes is a great point of discussion as well!
      I hope this is helpful!

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