Staying the Course - Part 1
- Friday, August 01, 2003
Here we are "smack-dab" in the middle of the "dog days of summer." We wonder where some of these idioms come from sometimes, don't we? It must have been some homeschooler sitting around with nothing to do "smack-dab" in the middle of "the dog days of summer," don't you think?
Seriously, this is a time when people tend to be more laid-back, relaxed, under less stress and pressure, and drinking lemonade out on the front porch under the shade of a 70-year-old maple tree.
We know what you're thinking. "Not in our house! It sounds great, but it isn't happening here."
In reality, most of us are always too busy. But we tend to make summer a time to be a bit more relaxed. At least our mindset is that way. As far as homeschooling goes, we cut back on the formal schoolwork, give the kids a break, take a vacation, go to the beach or swimming pool, and generally try to hold back on rigorous learning.
This is also a time when decisions are being made about the coming year. For some of us, this homeschooling thing is fairly new, maybe the first or second year. We're still not feeling like we've got a handle on all of it like the veterans do. (Don't kid yourself. If you think the veterans have it figured out, it is just because they know how to fake it better.) Figuring out what has been done right so you can continue doing that, and fixing what wasn't so good is probably an important part of your thinking during these summer days.
For those who are a bit more settled in the homeschooling mode, other issues may be at the top of your list. You might be concerned about whether they really learned as much as they should have this year. Did you overdo it on the bookwork? Were you too demanding on your kids, or not demanding enough? All kinds of questions will need to be asked. Concepts considered. Thoughts reworked. The purpose-to figure out how things need to change.
Some of you might even be thinking that this isn't for you. Let's face it. Homeschooling is hard work. It is a tremendous burden of responsibility. You are fashioning the life of another person. And you love this person very, very much. You don't want to be responsible for wrecking a life. Or lives. Maybe, you think, I'm just not cut out for this homeschooling thing. Or maybe it was just for a season. Face it. You might have thought it in the back of your mind, but were too afraid to say it beyond that, for fear you might actually stop!
Well, if you haven't done this, then you are truly one of the committed. But others have. And the question really is this: Why am I homeschooling? What is the true reason to make this commitment and sacrifice? Is it because Johnny or Mary wants me to do it? Or because the Smiths are doing it and I am feeling pressured to do it, too? Or is there a higher calling? Is it because it is the right thing to do? Or maybe because God wants me to do it?"
You see, this is the real issue that we need to evaluate-first and foremost. We need to ask the ultimate "why?" as it relates to our homeschooling commitment.
Why are you homeschooling? If it is out of some kind of convenience, you will vacillate with the changing pressures. But if you are doing so because of a firmly embedded conviction that you know was determined at a specific moment, it's another story. If your decision was founded in an event where you grappled with the question and received the answer that it was the right thing to do, then you can be settled in your mind and heart to stay the course!
You see, for all of us, summer is a great time for re-evaluating. Perhaps your decision was a year-to-year, or even a day-to-day one. Only you know.
As you prepare for the soon-to-be-coming days of fall, and the increased activity of a new homeschooling year, take the time right now to evaluate, reflect, and think. As you do, pray for wisdom from God, so that when things take off again, you know without a doubt that your homeschooling decision is the right one. So set aside time this week to get alone and think it through all over again.
It will be one of the best things you will do to teach your children all year! Ironically, it will happen when we think that homeschooling is on hold. Imagine that.
David and Laurie Callihan are authors of The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career, and the brand new Christian Homeschool Daily Planner (with their Grand Plan built right in). Learn more at www.davidandlaurie.com. They are regular columnists on Crosswalk's High School page.
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