People start homeschooling for any number of reasons. Usually though, they KEEP homeschooling because of relationships. The close-knit relationships that homeschooling nurtures are amazing. Often though, we get bogged down and burnt out when attitudes are bad. When that happens it’s time to step back, stop everything, and refocus.
We need to keep in mind that relationships are the MOST important thing in our families. When all else in the world fails, relationships are what we have to fall back on. If a catastrophe occurs, we need to be able to lean on each other and count on each other through the hard times.
Another thing we struggle with sometimes is having a servant’s heart. Jesus said we should be willing to serve one another as He served His disciples. Serving isn’t becoming a doormat, serving is an act of love. Showing love to one another is serving in some way.
God gave us ten commandments in the Bible. Ten. You’d think we could all follow these ten rules easy enough but no, we all fail. We have all lied, stolen (even if it was just “borrowing” without asking), or coveted someone else's stuff at some point.
Jesus knew of our struggle so He simplified it even more. He gave us TWO commandments. It sounds like two rules would be so much easier than ten, but it is actually harder to do.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 KJV
First, He said Love God first, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. In the ten commandments it was, Don’t worship anyone or anything but Him, don't say His name in vain, don’t make idols, keep His special day holy… Jesus simplified. Love HIM most with all of yourself. This is hard to wrap our brains around and even harder to put into practice consistently. We have so many things to distract us. Once we get there though, this is one of the most rewarding things. A true deep relationship with our LORD where we love HIM with everything we have is so freeing and fulfilling.
When homeschooling gets frustrating it is usually because attitudes are off. We can usually trace the root of the problem to a change in schedule or routine. Something has changed around the home or in the extra activities that has thrown the home routine off. Face it, life happens. Step back, stop, breathe and readjust. Any time we do this, we must give the children time to readjust as well. Every single time our routine changes, children have to check their boundaries. Their comfort and stability depends on knowing exactly where their boundaries are. They need to know #1 they are under protection and #2 what they are allowed to do and #3 what is expected of them. Firm, clear boundaries help them feel safe and grow. It’s not like a cage or jail, it’s more like a terrarium or greenhouse. You create a special environment that nurtures their optimal growth and learning potential.
Some children take longer to test the limits than others. You can set some children down and explain or post a new routine with the rules, but most have to make sure there are no holes in the fence. Take the time you need to work through this until the children are comfortable. Work into the routine.
The hardest part now is staying flexible yet keeping those firm boundaries. Admittedly, this is just a struggle. Sometimes when we go places, we take those with us, but sometimes I will take audio books or a project instead. Nevertheless, we still have breakfast and we still take a bath every single day. That basic routine will not budge. We may eat out for lunch and have a different “school” but our children know we will come home and take a bath and start again the next day. Find that thing in your life that will always be the same for your children to KNOW will happen every day.
I know a lot of families have music lessons or a sports activity they participate in once a week. This is where a weekly routine helps as well. Make up a weekly schedule, keeping it very simple so your children know what to expect. Monday is Music day. Tuesday is cleaning day. Wednesday is shopping day (this would also be the day you would try to make doctors appointments and such). Thursday is arts and crafts day. Friday is laundry day. However this works for you.
If, or I should say WHEN a child has a bad attitude, I make them go back and do it again until they can do it with a smile. It’s best if I can disconnect myself from the bad attitude and see it instead as a training exercise. Then I can make a “game” out of it. “Oops, you didn’t have a very good attitude. Let’s try that again.” This really seamed corny and uncomfortable to me when I first started, but it works. Yes it really, really does work!