It's been a hot, dry September so far here in Wisconsin. The heat has got us down, no one feels like doing anything remotely connected with fall. It just doesn't feel right yet. I melt in hot weather. Even the chickens are complaining, refusing to lay a single egg. Nevertheless, our school year has begun.
I did get out to the first home school meeting of the year, despite the heat. We had a room full of Moms, some of us veteran home schoolers, some brand new to home schooling. We had a question and answer session with a panel of very experienced Moms. I found it interesting that no matter how long you have been a home schooler, we all were craving the same things;
Here are some questions and answers that the panel discussed at our meeting.
How have you seen the fruits of your labor of home schooling in your adult children?
Our kids have been well accepted into colleges, universities, the military or running their own businesses. They have good study habits and work ethics even thought they were far from perfect when they were being home schooled. Somewhere along the way, all that parental guidance and coaching sunk in, even if they refused to show it. Who knew? We all wondered why we worried about it so much when our kids were growing up.
Take aim and look toward the future.
What is your relationship like with your adult children? Do they like the fact that they were home schooled, or do they resent it?
All the Moms agreed that they have strong relationships with their adult children. The investment of time you make in cultivating your family will pay off. The kids who had grown up as home schoolers became loving adult children. Not one mother had negative words about her relationship with her children. Not one person had any regrets. You can never spend too much time with your kids.
Interestingly, none of the adult children in question regretted being home schooled. Almost all of them found they had an advantage in the real world of some sort, whether it be education, work ethic, Christian values, or moral obligations. Not all of them had been home schooled forever either. Some came from various combinations of home schooling or public school back grounds. Hang in their Moms, your children will rise up and call you blessed.
Our son came home one day from public high school after seeing the movie Raising Cain in one of his classes and told me that he understood why we made the decision to home school. He was grateful that he had those opportunities for as long as he did. We had the most enlightening conversation, HE UNDERSTOOD. I am blessed as a parent. But, it has taken years to see this fruit develop. Be patient Moms, these things take time.
It is difficult to shoot for a goal, when you can't see the target in front of you.
How did you handle struggles in your home school? Did you ever feel like giving up?
Every Mom goes through times of trial. Children after all are SINNERS. So are we. There is bound to be conflict and lots of it. Expect it, watch for it. Resolve it with prayer, understanding and even professional help if needed. We all experience seasons of difficulty. It's one of the things that makes the good times sooooo good.
At one point or another, every Mom in the room had had thoughts of throwing in the towel. Some had unsupportive families, some learning struggles, financial woes, etc. What ever season you are in you are not alone. Someone else has been there before you. It is helpful to chat with those who have been there before for insight.
With practice, the goals become closer and closer.
When did you know the target was finally in sight?
Many times we don't see the target until the very end. Sometimes you get little glimpses of hope along the way, sometimes you don't. Home schooling is a long journey. It is a faith journey. You have to trust that you are doing the right thing. That you children will not be scarred for life. That they will be SOCIALIZED. That they can read and add and keep a clean house without you looking over their shoulder all the days of their life.
Targets can come in little pieces. There were times when I couldn't see past the end of September, much less to the end of the school year. Be patient.
The target may be there, you just may not be able to see it.
How did you manage your household? Are schedules best, or is it okay to have a relaxed environment?
Everyone had a different answer to this question. Some Moms firmly endorsed rising early and doing chores before school. Some Moms found that their kids were working a in the family business and doing school and work was enough without additional chores. Some Moms wondered what chores even were. Some of us are still learning ourselves about home keeping and managing a household. The answer to this question is as varied as the families are. Do what works best for you. If it doesn't work, try something else. Either way is okay. The kids will turn out all right in the end. Life will go on if your house is a bit dusty now and then.
Trust as you shoot for the goal, do not let distractions bother you.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?
This is the million dollar question. No one regretted their past. Not one Mom in the room had any serious regrets. One person thought perhaps she should have had a more structured environment. But, then as we discussed it, she realized how her children were thriving in college. She then decided that she wouldn't have changed a thing. How can you second guess success?
Before you know it, you will have reached your goal. The bullseye is right there in front of you. It may not be 100 percent perfect, but you may find that you have done far more than you ever thought possible.
Reach for the goal and you will succeed.
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