Hey homeschoolers! Today's show title is Homeschool Motivation on Demand. This is an episode you'll want to save on your phone for difficult days.
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Teaching Tip of the Week
Going along with our discussion of motivation and the change of seasons, I recommend the book A Gracious Space by Julie Bogart. She has books for fall and winter. The subtitle is Daily Reflections to Sustain Your Homeschooling Commitment. Julie shared one of these reflections on Periscope and I was very impressed. Many homeschool leaders will tell us that we need to take time for ourselves. But Julie makes specific suggestions for how we can renew ourselves and maintain our homeschool sanity. I know you'll enjoy the books and if you're on Periscope, be sure to follow her handle @BraveWriter.
I am now including the show transcript in the notes for those of you who prefer to read rather than listen.
I listened to Chalene Johnson's podcast in which she provided motivation on demand, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners. She said she was really speaking to herself, but it worked for her listeners too. I loved it! But I thought, how great would it be if there were an audio my listeners and I could play any time we were struggling in our homeschooling. We could play it on the days we didn't even feel like getting out of bed much less getting the math book out. Just one disclaimer. This audio isn't for you if you're not sure you want to keep homeschooling. But if you know you want to homeschool and you're dragging, here's my version of homeschool motivation on demand.
Nearly 3% of American students are being homeschooled and that number keeps growing. Why? Because you, like many other homeschooling parents want to provide a Christian education to your children. You want to make your faith a part of your kids' lives as Deuteronomy 6 implores us: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
You don't want a watered-down compromised faith, but a sold-out-to-God kind of faith passed on to your children. Instead of an extracurricular, you want the Bible and character and faith to be a core curriculum–an uncommon core curriculum. Because it's what matters most to you. Homeschooling gives you the time to teach and model the faith all day every day.
You want to keep your kids safe. You don't want them to be in schools that require metal detectors and a police presence. You don't want them to be bullied. You want them to feel good about who they are in Christ instead of worrying about not having the right clothes or the right skin color. You want to homeschool because homeschoolers have the highest self-esteem of any group. You don't want your child subjected to the kind of verbal and physical abuse that no adult would tolerate in a workplace. You want them to spend most of their childhood in a loving, supportive environment where they can explore their interests and learn and not fear what the crowd will say.
You want your children to love learning. You want them to relish reading, math, science, and history because learning is an exciting privilege, not a boring chore. You want the freedom to teach to your child's strengths, learning style, and personality like no classroom teacher has the time to do. You want them to be able to stand up, lie down, fidget, and even walk around when they learn. You want to see how far your child's natural curiosity and passions and God-given talent can take them, regardless of schedule. You want your child to learn when his alertness and energy are greatest and to be able to rest when they're the lowest. You don't want your child to be a GPA or a test score, but a multifaceted child full of possibilities. You don't want your child to be labeled or pigeon-holed or restricted in their learning by a teacher or a program or a test. When your children have freedom, we know that they excel. Homeschooled students score 15-30% higher on standardized tests. They score above average on college entrance exams, get higher GPAs in college and graduate at a higher rate. Colleges and universities are seeking them out. Homeschooling works regardless of your race or income. The same cannot be said of a public school education.
The remarkable thing about homeschoolers' success is that it isn't dependent on your education. Whether you're a teacher by training, a Ph.D. or a high school graduate, you CAN teach your child. While you do, you can discover the joy of learning–possibly for the first time. You can find materials that can finally explain those subjects that just didn't make sense to you. You may be inspired to continue your own education because learning becomes an adventure. Not only do you learn about every subject you study, but you learn about your kids. You learn how to motivate them, how to encourage them, how to love them. You become a better parent. And you learn about yourself. You learn that you have a problem with organization and diligence and patience and you let your kids see God teach you in those areas. You learn humility for the things you don't know and for all the ways you fall short. You learn to give yourself and others grace. You learn that above all, you need God. Your self-reliant living falls flat and you learn that you must go to Him every single day for the strength you need.
You homeschool your child because you want a close family. You don't want your children to ignore one another because they aren't the same age. You want them to learn to get along with one another so they can get along with others as adults. You want them to talk with you and because they do, to be able to talk with any adult. You want your family to be more important to your child than any peers she would seek to impress. You want them to see everything that is required to build a family: the chores, the cooking, the problem-solving, the finances, the childcare. You want them to want to have children because they've learned to value your family so much. And when all is said and done, you want them to rise up and call you blessed because of how much you've invested in them. Today they may be squabbling and complaining and dawdling over their work, but one day they will know what a tremendous sacrifice you've made for them. They will know what a gift they've received.
You can do this, homeschooling mom, because you don't have to do it alone. You can lean on a supportive spouse, get advice from local and online friends, share teaching responsibilities with others, take advantage of a variety of outside classes, get special services, and get help with your other responsibilities. You can do this because many other women have done it before you — women who didn't have half the resources you have. Women who were willing to go to jail to fight for the right to homeschool you enjoy. You can do this because if God called you to it, He will get you through it.
Are you having a tough day? Think about your very best homeschool memories. What made them so great? Did you put down the books and go on a field trip? Did you watch a wonderful film? Did you paint, make music, play a game, or have a pillow fight? Did you relax and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing? Did you stop thinking about the right way to homeschool and just enjoyed learning? Did you celebrate the little victory? Did you learn with friends? What can you do today to make today one of your best homeschool memories? Do it. Be silly. Surprise your kids. Make today Backwards Day and wear your clothes in reverse. Say the alphabet and your memory verses backwards. Have dinner for breakfast. Read bedtime stories to start the day. Have FUN.
Stop right now, homeschool mom, and pray a prayer of Thanksgiving for every way He has equipped you to teach your children. Thank Him for every blessing you've enjoyed because of it. Then turn over every burden you feel in the process to the ultimate teacher. You can do this with Him. You can homeschool another day.
If you know a homeschool mom who could use a little encouragement, share this with her. When I get discouraged, share it with me!
See you next week when we'll talk about why you don't necessarily need to do more.