Homeschooling Tips For Your Heart
by Susan Kemmerer
-Start your homeschool close to the same time each
day. Your kids will get used to the routine and know what to expect.
-Don’t make any phone calls before school starts. Phone calls are, for me, the
biggest derailer of my day. I get caught up too easily in the conversation!
-Have your kids do their work in a “public” room (kitchen, living room) rather
than a bedroom. Even though they say they need the peace and quiet, often it’s
an excuse to do sub-standard work. Kids need our oversight and training. God
made them that way. And you are the teacher.
-Dole out lots of physical affection, even with your big, goofy teens. They need
to know that you’re on their side, and that you’re rooting for them. Hugs,
kisses, smiles, or a pat on the back go far in creating a pleasant environment
-Make sure your homeschool is a safe place to make mistakes. Never belittle a
child for wrong answers, academic struggles, or shoddy work. Even if the child
has willfully chosen to mess up, don’t belittle him. It accomplishes nothing.
Instead, apply patience to true academic struggles, and apply gentle wisdom and
correction to sins of laziness and willful disobedience. Remember, with sin
issues you are trying to reach their hearts, and you’ll never reach their hearts
if your homeschool isn’t a safe place to make mistakes.
-Exhibit lots of patience. Yes, I know Bobby should be able to handle this
without you constantly cracking the whip. But the reality is that you are the
mom, and your job is to train your children. If he isn’t trained yet (even at
age 16 or 18), don’t throw up your hands and say, “I shouldn’t have to tell
you...” This may be the ten-thousandth time you told him, but if he needs to be
told again, then do so with patience and grace. I even asked one of my sons if
he wanted to assume a particular responsibility himself, or if he wanted me to
continue to “nag” him. I explained to him that I really didn’t want to be a nag,
but if it helped him to be reminded of his responsibility, I would be glad to do
so. He was grateful for my thoughful question and asked me to continue to remind
him. I don’t resent that I’m still training this child. After all, he still
lives under my roof, and is still under our authority. Praise God we still have
the opportunity to train! It is a privilege
to train our children and to equip them for life.
-Recognize growth in character, no matter how small. Often growth in character
feels like a 2-steps-forward, one-step-back affair. Learn not to to focus on how
far they have to grow. Instead focus on God’s gace in how far they’ve come. My
own life is like that. There are certain areas that I’ve struggled in all my
life - and I’m 43! How slow my progress must seem in my Father’s eyes. But He
just patiently continues to whittle away at those areas, and I am growing
ever-so-slowly. I must extend the same grace to my kids.
-Don’t be afraid to switch curriculum if something isn’t working for you. Though
I’ll often try to finish out a year before switching to save money, there have
been occasions when we’ve switched mid-year. A poorly written or poorly planned
curriculum can make both you and your kids miserable. There’s always someone out
there who thinks the curriculum you hate is the best one on the market, and
would be willing to buy yours at yard sale prices.
-Don’t resent your husband’s lack of participation in your homeschool. The
reality is that he works a full time job already, and can’t be involved much.
Accept the fact that as a mother, your God-ordained calling is that of teacher
as well. You can’t biblically separate the two. Your relationship with your
husband also teaches your children eternal lessons. Do you respect his
authority? Do you honor him with your words and actions? Do you love him
passionately? If you don’t, you’ll be teaching your students that respecting
authority, honoring your spouse, and loving others are optional. My husband pays
my homeschool bills, attends homeschool conferences with me sometimes, and
listens to my homeschool woes. He takes me out on a “date night” about once a
month to support and encourage me. He intervenes in our homeschool only if I’m
unable to handle a situation. My role is to handle the homeschool. Dale has
clearly delegated the role to me, and I embrace it with all my heart.
My kids know that even though it looks like homeschool is 99% mine, it’s
because Dad “ordained” it. My delegated job (being under Dale’s authority) is to
make our homeschool a success. No whining allowed.
-Educate yourself constantly. Never assume you know everything there is to know
about homeschooling and parenting. Be teachable yourself. Attend conferences
with an open, teachable spirit, and allow the Holy Spirit to continually
strengthen and equip you. Read books on the subjects of parenting and
homeschooling. Get plugged in to a solid church and make yourself accountable to
-Be humble. Ask forgiveness from your children when you’re impatient. Listen
with an open heart to their struggles. Don’t condemn them.
-Pray. God is more than willing to meet us with His grace!
Used with permission.
By Susan Kemmerer
(c) Schoolhouse Publishing