Homeschool

What Is Your Homeschool Message?

Each morning we get up and move into our homeschooling days with plans, goals, and visions of what our day is going to look like.  I’ve been doing this now for twenty years, and I can tell you that there have been very few days that have gone as planned.  They are the exception, not the rule.  Some people LOVE that!  They think of it as an adventure… territory that they are courageously exploring.  I am not one of those people.

HHM What Is Your Homeschool Message

I like a plan.  I like PLAN A because I have usually put a lot of time and thought into it, but I rarely get to experience it.  As the day unfolds into plan B….and C….and D, it’s easy to get cranky.   The kids seem oblivious to it all, and I’m not sure whether to admire them or strangle them.  They think this WAS the plan, and they are good with it.  Maybe I could learn something from them.

So here is my question:  What is our homeschool message?  Not the one we think we SHOULD say. Not our homeschool mission statement.  What is the unspoken message we send to our children by our response to life’s curve balls?  Curve balls like emergency room visits, learning issues, attention issues, family crisis, finding out we HATE the curriculum we chose?  How about state test results or home test results?

Our response tells our children exactly what we value. Is our response telling our children that we value THEM?  Or is it showing them that education is more important than anything?  That how we compare to everyone else is what matters?  That we must do everything we can to stay ahead of the curve?  That they MUST perform or all is lost?

There is nothing wrong with having goals and guidelines. But when those become the focus, when we lose sight of who our children are as human beings, as individuals, as souls, we throw away the greatest opportunity we have in homeschooling:  to allow our kids to be the unique people they were created to be.   People with purpose and with passion.

But that requires something from us:  We have to be willing to lay down our own version of what things are “supposed” to look like and embrace the uniqueness of the children and the situation God has given us.  We also have to embrace the kind of moms/teachers that we are.  I don’t teach like a public school teacher.  I teach as the person I am.   For instance,  I need an orderly home, so I can’t do schoolwork with the kids in the middle of a big mess. I can’t think.  Sometimes we will stop doing schoolwork and take a few minutes to bring order to our surroundings.  I don’t do lesson plans, but I write down whatever we have done that day in a journal.  There are many facets to the way I homeschool that are going to be different from someone else.

The point is, we need to listen to our instincts.  That takes time.  It takes a willingness to veer from “the plan” at times and be willing to let our family homeschool take its own shape.  Most importantly, it means we are intentional about the overall message we are sending our kids about what is truly important and what is not.  Because at the end of the day…and at the end of our homeschooling,  that’s what really matters.

About the author

Durenda

Durenda is a mom to eight (ages 13-27), nana to four, and wife to Darryl for 28 years. She has homeschooled from the beginning (22+yrs) and has graduated 5, so far. Her two oldest girls are married and her oldest son graduated from college at 21. She loves encouraging moms through writing, speaking and podcasting. One of her favorite things is helping parents to slow down, think simply and outside the box so they can homeschool confidently and in a lifestyle that is a great fit for their families.
She has her own podcast (Durenda Wilson) and has published a simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling called, "The Unhurried Homeschooler" which encourages parents to take the time to find out what really works for them, let go of self-driven standards and learn to homeschool from a place of peace! She recently published a devotional just for moms. "Unhurried Grace for a Mom's Heart" can be found on Amazon.

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  • I love God’s timing and appointments. I love how I couldn’t sleep and somehow this message was in my inbox this morning and it was the exact reminder I needed for right now. I love how God put it on your heart to think this and then follow through and right it and all that it took to get it out here to me and countless others.

    • Tina, God is so good, isn’t He? I ask Him often if He has something He wants me to say and when He does, He seems to then give me the chance to write it. After that, I always pray that He would cause those to see who need the encouragement because we all know these posts can get lost into cyberworld very quickly! So thank you for sharing. That encourages me!! 🙂

  • THANKS YOU SO MUCH FOR PUTING WORDS TO WHAT I HAVE COME TO KNOW DURING THE 6 YEARS I HAVE BEEN A HOMESCHOOLING GRAMMA… I, ALSO, LOVE ORDER AND PLANS.. HOWEVER, APPARENTLY I AM SUPPOSED TO MOVE PAST THAT IN MY OLD AGE.. BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW HARD I HAVE TRIED HOW MUCH WASTED TIME AND EFFORT I PUT INTO ESTABLISHING A PALN AS TO HOW EACH AND EVERYDAY WAS TO GO, IT JUST PLAIN NEVER EVER HAS GONE THAT WAY.. I FINALLY WENT TO YEAR ROUND SCHOOLING FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT ILLNESS GOT IN THE WAY OF THE PLAN.. JUST AS I WAS EMBRACING THAT TO IT’S FULLEST, THIS SUMMER COMES ALONG AND BLEW THE PLAN RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER.. FUNNY NOW I FIND THAT THE YEAR ROUND PLAN NOT WORKING OUT EITHER..SO BACK TO SCHOOL WE GO. MAYBE WE WILL GO YEAR ROUND THIS YEAR.. AT ANY RATE WE WILL GET THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF DAYS IN.. WE ALWAYS DO.. MAYBE NEXT SUMMER WILL BE LIKE THIS ONE.. CHOCK FULL OF AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY YEAR ROUND PLAN. AS LONG AS SHE IS LEARNING , PROGRESSING ,SOCIALIZING AND LEARNING TO LIVE WELL IN THIS WORLD..AND I AM NOT SO FRAZZLED TRYING TO CONTROL THE UNCONTROLLABLE, I AM PLEASED WITH THAT PLAN…

    • Good words, Nancy! And BLESS YOU for being willing to take on homeschooling a grandchild! Our grandchildren are just arriving on the scene and our youngest is 10. Somedays I wonder how I’m going to make it to the end, but then to go ahead and school GRANDCHILDREN! Wow! I am so impressed! Keep up the good work! You are such a blessing!

  • I have a generic plan – we will do school tomorrow and hopefully cover x, y, & z. Anytime I over plan, God throws a curve ball! I can sometimes end up being too rigid in my plans and thinking and this is His way of telling me to relax. I will get there one day, but my children, I hope, are learning that we need to be flexible and adapt to our always changing environment.

    • Very well put, Jenne! I have that exact same approach and when I try to deviate and over plan, the same thing happens! I’m glad I’m not the only one! 🙂 We should start our own club! The “Under Planners Anonymous”!!

  • I love this! This is our second year homeschooling, and I have really tried to chill out this year (not the easiest thing for a Type-A control freak!) as last year was a struggle. Previously I began each day with what I felt “needed” to be done – the math, the spelling, the reading, etc… and I realized I was missing the point of it all. I had my mind set on what needed to be done, and no matter the tears or fights that ensued, we were going to accomplish it. (Oh, my poor kids!) This year, we begin each day reading a Bible verse or story, discussing it and then praying for our day. What a difference that has made! We have our days when curve balls come, but things are night and day from how they were last year now that I have changed my attitude! Before, I tried so hard to control things, I don’t think I gave God a chance to be in our schooling. Now that I’ve stepped back, I see Him in each day and I am in awe of the things He can do when I stop trying to control everything. I truly believe God is using homeschooling to teach me (about patience, kindness, about what really matters, about letting go) more so than I am teaching my kids. It is such a blessing to be able to homeschool, and I thank you for this article which is a great reminder of what a blessing it is!
    P.S. I love the idea of journaling what you do each day. I don’t do lesson plans either, but I like the thought of jotting down our days.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! It sounds like you have learned quite quickly what takes many of us years to learn! That is awesome! You’ll be so glad years down the road, that you surrendered and let God’s presence rule your days! 🙂

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