by Vicki Bentley
What does all that have to do with your homeschooling?
I specified those homemaking items first--meals, routines and bedtimes (including yours), and basic housekeeping–because if your house isn't functioning, then "school" won't either. If we feel that something has to give, it will be the homeschooling that gets the boot.
Make a plan, starting from where you are now. Sit down (with your spouse, preferably) and re-group. Where are you right now? Where do you want to be at the end of the year? Don't look at grade level, look at what is reasonable to expect to accomplish between now and June. The tests will most likely be fine, regardless of where the children are in “The Books.”
And speaking of “The Books:” This may be a great time to prayerfully evaluate what you are utilizing to meet your academic goals. Are you attempting to re-create school at home, or are you creating an environment for a learning lifestyle? Maybe you are overwhelmed because you are expecting too much of yourself or your children; there are many ways to multi-level teach, saving wear and tear on your lesson planning, your schedule, your emotions, and your budget.
If you need help feeling accountable and staying on target, a planner or a notebook with calendar pages on which you can jot your plan can be helpful. The lesson plan book we used(3) not only had lesson planning sheets, field trip logs, reading logs, and more, but it also included a chart and guidelines to set a few goals for each child, so I could then focus my attention on materials or activities that would help us to achieve those goals. Anything that isn't helping you achieve your goals is extra and should be included only if it doesn’t impede your forward progress.
In most cases, your children have been learning just through the natural processes of life. You may be very surprised at the cognitive progress they have made, even if you’re not where you want to be academically. Children whose parents have had to slow down on the textbook studies because of family crises often do remarkably well on standardized achievement tests. Not only do they usually do acceptably on the tests, but also they have learned valuable lessons in how to live through crisis, how to serve one another under stress, and how to trust in God for each moment. I am not recommending that you never expect excellence and diligence in formal studies; I am saying don’t let a temporary setback make you quit or panic–you can all learn and grow through it.
God is the Author of new beginnings
The following is a very big “if,” so please do not allow the enemy to condemn you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but there can be conviction to make new choices. If you happen to be in your academic situation because of a shortcoming on your own part, remember that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. I was not always as diligent as I wished I were, or as patient, or as discerning, or ….
But if they learned nothing else, I wanted my children to see a mother who was humble and repentant and teachable before the Lord and in front of her family. I needed to model a Christ-like attitude and I often failed miserably. They needed to see a woman who could admit those failings, humble herself to ask forgiveness, and try her best to rely on God to honor her Lord and her family in the future. I needed to stay on my knees and in the Word. I prayed for my children, just as Jesus did for his disciples (John 17).
You can't change what you have or haven't already done the last year. Just start where you are, ask the Lord to make you a “joyful mother of children,” pray for grace and wisdom (and strength and patience), and move forward.
3 I found My Homeschool Planner to be a great tool to keep all my school life together and pre-planned so I could just open the page and start my day, or hand it to the kids and let them get started.
Copyright 2008 by Valerie Bentley. Used by permission of author.
Vicki Bentley is happily married to her high school sweetheart Jim and is the blessed mother of eight daughters, foster mom of over fifty since 1985, and grandma to fifteen wonderful grandbabies (so far). She is the author of Home Education 101: A Mentoring Program for New Homeschoolers, My Homeschool Planner, The Everyday Family Chore System, Everyday Cooking, and various articles. Vicki has a heart for moms, and offers strong practical wisdom and encouraging words. www.everydayhomemaking.com.
Vicki will be speaking at the following AHEAD Conventions
|April 19-21||CAPE - New Mexico||Albuquerque, NM|
|May 11-12||CHAP - Pennsylvania||Harrisburg, PA|