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Develop a Strategy for Successful Home Schooling

  • Zan Tyler Editor of the HomeSchool Channel
  • 2002 6 Oct
Develop a Strategy for Successful Home Schooling

"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out not knowing where he was going." Hebrews 11:8

God often calls those whom He loves to leave the comfort of the familiar to enter the discomfiting place of the unfamiliar. After warning him of things not yet seen, God called Noah to an unfamiliar task—building an ark. He called Abraham to an unfamiliar place—the land of his inheritance. He called David, a shepherd, to an unfamiliar profession—kingship.

All of these are reminiscent of the call to home school—an unfamiliar task, an unfamiliar place, an unfamiliar profession. As home schooling parents, we can easily become overwhelmed by the unfamiliar. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of home schooling—living life in the realm of the unfamiliar, outside of our comfort zones. As human beings we are creatures of habit, and that can be a good thing. We like routine; we like the familiar; we like feeling comfortable. Probably 99.9% of us went to traditional schools growing up. We know what school "feels" like; that aspect of the familiar makes sending our kids to school feel comfortable.

In many senses, when we start home schooling, we leave the world of the familiar behind. Everything is new. That can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming and intimidating. We know how to send kids to school—we've had experience with that; after all, we all went to school. We don't know exactly how to home school—how could we? We've never been there.

In a real sense our ability to cope with life in the realm of the unfamiliar will determine our success as home schooling parents. There are many things we can do to help.

1. Give yourself time to adjust.

Be patient with yourself. Recognize that for the first year or two of home schooling, you will be faced with unfamiliar circumstances, which can be unsettling at times. It's a little like traveling to a foreign country for the first time—you don't know much of the language or the culture; but the longer you stay there, the more at home you begin to feel.

Also, as you begin a new phase of home schooling, such as teaching middle school, high school, or a special needs student, these feelings of being overwhelmed by the unfamiliar can quickly return. Just as soon as you get one area of home schooling "down pat," you enter a new phase where everything changes. Sometimes just knowing to expect this makes the coping easier.

2. Give your children time to adjust.

Home schooling is not only new to you, it is also new to your children—especially if they have been in a traditional school setting heretofore.

3. Persevere.

Or in the words of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up."

4. Allow yourself the freedom to really enjoy being with your children.

The intrinsic reward of home schooling is the relationship that is possible with your children because of the investment you are making in each other's lives. Play this string for all it is worth. Refuse to let constant worrying choke out your joy in living, loving, and growing together.

5. Don't lose your vision.

The goal of home schooling is to educate and inspire the minds and hearts of your children, preparing them to take their God-ordained places in this world. Equipping children with knowledge, faith, and character is a high calling and a noble adventure. It is easy to forget this in the course of day-to-day living. Focusing on the long-term will help you overcome obstacles in the short-term.

Zan Tyler is editor of the HomeSchool Channel for and the co-author of the book Anyone Can Homeschool. She and her husband Joe have been homeschooling for 17 years.