Overview: I love being a homeschooling mom! But as I look back, there is one thing which has often crept in and stolen my joy. Learn my biggest homeschool regret.
We’ve been a homeschooling family for a long time. Before my oldest son turned 2 years old, my husband and I both felt called to check out this homeschooling lifestyle and see if there was any way we could make it work for our family. I have to say that we’ve absolutely fallen in love with it over the years. Being able to spend so much time with my boys and being able to watch them learn and mature has been an amazing blessing!
As I look back, however, there is one thing which has often crept in and stolen some of the joy out of our experience. If I could go back and change one thing, it would be to worry less and to trust God more.
Comparing My Boys To Each Other
There have been several specific times over the years which have caused me to worry. My older son caught onto reading very quickly, however, my younger son took longer to become a fluent reader. During the years that he was struggling to learn and I was struggling to teach him, we both suffered more than we had to. I was harder on him than I should have been and I’m sure that didn’t help.
I pushed him when I should have stayed relaxed and trusted the process. And even though I tried to stay outwardly patient, I’m sure he picked up on the tension I was feeling. Kids always do.
This son spent a lot more time reading Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby, and Amelia Bedelia out loud to me than did my older son. Rather than enjoying all of this extra time that we spent reading together, I kept entertaining that nagging feeling that I was doing something wrong. I wish I could go back and relive those days knowing what I know now – that this son would become a successful reader on his own timetable.
Comparing My Boys to Myself
Another thing which threw me for a loop and caused me to worry was seeing how differently my boys behaved than I had as a child. When I was a little girl, I loved to read. I could sit quietly in my bedroom with a book for hours. In fact, I usually had stacks of books that I was reading at the same time. I would read a chapter or two from one book and then switch to another.
I looked forward to going to school. I enjoyed trying to please my teachers and doing the best work that I possibly could – at least during my elementary and middle school years. High school was a different story… LOL
When my boys were Pre-K age, they enjoyed “schoolwork” as well because it was fun, it was hands-on, and it allowed them to move and jump and be very active. Once more written work came into play, however, they started to rebel. They didn’t enjoy sitting still for long periods of time. They didn’t look forward to doing their schoolwork anymore.
Rather than stepping back and taking a look to try to figure out why their attitude had changed, I tried to push them harder. I was worried that they would fall behind or that they wouldn’t learn if they didn’t learn a certain way.
If I could go back, I would have started researching boys and how they learn best a lot earlier than I did. I think I could have saved us all a lot of grief if I had known then what I know now. Boys and girls do not learn best in exactly the same way! Boys learn best when they are allowed to move. Boys love hands-on activities.
Having Too High of Expectations
My boys have always been big for their ages. They look a lot older than they really are. At age 15, one son was pushing 6’5″ and at 14, the other was 6’3″. Because of their height, my husband and I have often forgotten how young they really were and have pushed them to behave at a level of maturity that they weren’t capable of achieving. This often caused us to worry about their behavior.
Then, when we would see other children who were the ages of our boys, we would look at each other in surprise realizing what good boys we actually had.
I wish I could go back and stop being quite so hard on my boys.
Our kids tend to rise or fall to the level of expectations that we have for them. So, it isn’t all bad to set high expectations. However, I wish I hadn’t set them quite as high as I did. I’m sure I caused them to feel frustrated, at times, trying to live up to what I wanted for them. And I experienced anxiety thinking that my boys had behavior issues when they were actually just being little boys.
Trying to Prove Homeschooling Works to Others
When we choose to homeschool our children, we are taking the road less traveled. That means that quite often, we will feel a tremendous amount of pressure to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to give our kids a good education. We want to make sure they succeed in life and that can cause us to doubt what we’re doing and to worry. “Am I doing enough?” “Am I giving my boys a rigorous enough education?” “Am I pushing them too hard?”
After all these years, I’m still in the process of learning this one. Once my boys have graduated from our homeschool, are living their lives for Christ, and have become gainfully employed, then I’ll be able to sit back and rest confidently in my curriculum decisions. In the meantime, there is still that little voice in the back of my head which gives me an inkling of doubt.
I can’t go back and relive our early homeschooling years. But I can try to learn from my mistakes. Worry doesn’t help anyone. One of my favorite verses is Luke 12:25-26, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
My husband and I are confident that God has called us to homeschool our boys. We have felt His leading through the years when we needed to make changes in how we were teaching them. We’ve had convictions about helping our boys get more educational experiences outside of the home. We’ve seen Him guide us toward competitive sports opportunities. And we’ve had times when we’ve known that He wanted us to pull back from something we had been involved with in order to regroup.
God has a unique purpose for all of our kids. They all benefit from receiving an individualized education which is just right for them.
I need to relax in the fact that if God has led us to homeschool, He will guide us through the adventure and will make sure that my boys come out on the other side equipt for whatever He has for them in this life. I may not be able to go back – but I can go forward with a renewed sense of peace.
And be sure to check out the other great posts about Homeschool Regrets from other iHN bloggers at iHomeschool Network.