Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why is homeschooling so frustrating?

I love many things about homeschooling, however, I still find myself often drained and frustrated. I was listening to a teaching this week by Jamie Lash and I think he hit on the reason why: Don't have block-able goals! The basic goal of homeschooling seems to be to get your child to learn. Well, that is a block-able since it involves another human! Often my child want to learn (thank you Sonlight), but they don't REALLY want to be stretched and challenged and pushed to reach further. They'd rather play outside, practice their choir, or read a book. Good things--I'm glad they do them. But I believe there comes a point we all need a little discipline in our lives to do more (like one of our favorites--spelling). And honestly, even my younger daughter who loves almost all of her schoolwork, still doesn't like when her "way" of doing a math problem is wrong and she has to be corrected. If I let my children only do whatever they wanted to do, I'm not sure one would ever get out of bed, much less make that bed, or get any exercise for the day. And I don't even want to think about what our house would look like!

So, anyway, since I'm not a radical un-schooler and my children don't want to do everything I think necessary for them, I've got a problem. I've got goals for them to learn/achieve/clean/exercise and they are not goals I can control. Oh, we homeschool moms sure can try, but we end up frustrated. (Should I admit that I'm speaking from experience?) So, I guess I need new goals.

But really, my world is wrapped around my kids--their chores, their meals, their laundry, and their education. Well, ok, I left my husband out and a few other things, but you get the idea. Isn't the goal to sow into my kids to reap a fruit somewhere? Do I really have to be like the farmer who sowed on the path and in the thorns, and all those unfruitful places? Is that the message of that story? Somehow I think not. Maybe the point is to leave the fruit and the timing up to God. But still, then, what is my goal? What am I striving for??? If my goal is not for my daughter to learn to spell, then I'll just go through spelling practices without adjusting to her or fighting to shore up a weak area. I can try to be a good teacher, but I've only got one student in each grade. How can I know if I'm doing a good job? Why is my daughter weak in an area? Is it me? Is it her? (And if I'm responsible for her genes and behavior--maybe it's still me!)

The only goal I can come up with is to please God, but that's so hard to figure out what that means other than some vague idea. I really like having a goal and accomplishing--one besides to get the laundry done. :) (And even then, the laundry is not my highest priority--my children are) So what goal can I have? To please God as a mother. I guess that's it. Woo! No wonder being a homeschool mom is so hard. It's working in blind faith that you are somehow reaching a vague goal of doing your best while trying to give your children freedom to make choices, while encouraging them to make good ones. Guess I need to listen to some more about goal setting.

Those are my tangled thoughts on the subject--maybe slightly clearer for the typing. What are your goals and how to keep from making them dependent on your child's willingness, abilities, and motivations? What is your goal as a parent and as a homeschooler that YOU can control?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Games for homeschool learning fun

Well, it's been a year and a half since my life changed--I was suddenly healed during a church service. SO, while I continue to homeschool, I am no longer chronically ill. I just now feel like I'm getting my life back together. I am looking at starting a new website, but thought I'd go ahead and share here: I have been researching and testing various games with learning potential and am putting together my favorites to sell. Eventually these will be reviewed, but for now let me share my favorites with a link.

And if you are still struggling through illness, I believe games can be a great way for your children to learn and still enjoy your family. If you are struggling with illness and would like prayer, please e-mail me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More on independent work

We have modified some things. First, I made a checklist in a spreadsheet program (so it has boxes to check for every day of the week). I have a basic list and then I add the details for the week (like what passages to read in the Bible daily.) That way, my daughter did not overlook something, and too quickly say "I'm done".

Second, I had her start bringing me the list to check off (this is probably not permanent), so I could inspect her work more. She was needing help on not taking short-cuts. It also gave me a chance to ask if she put the materials up after she finished.

Last, we cut out Lyrical Life sciences. I decided to ask what she wasn't liking or would cut out if she were given the choice. It was science, copywork, and German. So, I put the Science CD in the car to listen to occasionally and decided to just do the handwriting book for now. We are going a bit faster through the German, which we are almost finished with, so we can start a different program soon (Rosetta Stone if I can afford it.) And I decided to make the enrichment drawers optional (but earn points to be used toward movies, etc.) If those simple changes mean she likes school, it's well worth it!

And I do try to suggest about once a week, that she go outside to draw, so that her art journal also functions as a nature journal. So, I add some science back in that way. Hope this helps someone. A lot of good ideas need a bit of modification to really work, so don't be afraid to change what doesn't work.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independent Work works for us!

Well, I've shared about my daughter's list before. And of course every year I redo it slightly, so I thought I would share this year's version. I decided it was too stressful trying to get my older daughter finished with her morning list by a certain time, so I am giving her all her independent work for the day, including the free reading. Then, I schedule myself to teach the girls between 10 and noon. Independent work not finished before then, is finished during room time after lunch. Hope this helps someone. I love to schedule things, though I follow them pretty loosely. Because my daughter has been used to doing her morning work, she is able to do all of this, even though she's just starting 3rd grade. And of course, the independence is a skill itself!

Here's what she's doing this year:

* Quarter Mile Math (computer game that drills math facts)

* Practice piano (she plays her song 3 times through--not alot, but something)

* Exercises (right now this is stretches plus jumping on the mini-tramp)

* Math Workbook

* Read to sister (the science book from her Pre-K)

* Writing (Copywork or Handwriting)

* Art Journal (free drawing in a journal)

* Reader or at least 20 min. Free Reading (when ahead on scheduled readers)

* Bible Reading

* Coop HW (if any, from her elective-type coop classes)

* One Enrichment Drawer (I fill this on the weekend--that way I can get in some extras, like educational games)

CD learning:

* Lyrical Life Science

* MUS skip counting song (some weeks we won't have this)

* German (Powerglide)

* Memory Verse (part of SL curriculum)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Wall: Having Faith in the Little Things

Today's sermon included a short story about running a half marathon. The pastor said he, not being a "runner" hit the wall at mile 10 and how everything was hard and how he was mad at his friend and how everything in his life seemed bad--his freckles and that kid that hurt him in 7th grade, etc. And then his friend (the "runner" who had already finished the race) came back to run the last portion with him and kept telling him he could do it.

Well, his story sounded so familiar to me. No, I don't run. In fact I really can't--not more than a few steps when I think one of my kids is in danger or something. But I honestly know that feeling of hitting a wall where I just "can't" keep going. Yep, it comes as I try to get thru the day and suddenly everything in my life seems bad and can't perceive I can make it. So, I'm trying to figure out how to look at each day as a marathon and push thru the wall--but not overexert myself. The one comfort God gave me is that his mercies are new every morning. I think I'll make a New Year's resolution this year--to look only to the day ahead. I can't handle more than that. When we were missionaries, it seemed easier somehow to look at the big things and have faith for them (not that it wasn't a challenge!) But now it's like my miracles are getting the house clean and watching all the different people that pull together to help me get through the basics of caring for my house. We are making it and that seems like a miracle in itself.

I hope that these little miracles and chances to have faith are just a training for the future God has for me. After all he says those who are faithful with little will be given much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Easy Yoke?

When I look at my daily life, I struggle with where the "easy yoke" Jesus promises come in. I was praying about it and wait came to mind was that Jesus also says take up your cross. Ouch! And then I thought no one will carry your cross for you until you fall down. I think God is teaching me to be weak. Oh it's hard! But when I'm weak He is strong.

Another verse I was encouraged (or maybe I should say reprimanded with ) was

Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

Truth is I don't want to let endurance have it's full play--I want it to have a quick death and end! But I know that's not for my best. So, I'm enduring and trying to think outside the box to see how carrying a cross CAN be an easy yoke.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Celebrating the small stuff...

Last I posted I mentioned about my "children being taught of the Lord". Well, I want to celebrate an little ex. of that by sharing a cute story. We've just started reading a family devotional on grace at night. So, my 3 y.o. must have been trying to process it all b/c out of the blue she says something like, " I did grace one time when I gave Elizabeth 2 people (toys) when she didn't deserve it." So neat that she got the basic idea--I really didn't expect her to get much out of it. But to give you the background, when she was playing with Elizabeth a few weeks ago they had a disagreement b/c my little sweetie wanted to have all the people in the house set and give Elizabeth only one. So, after I explained that she could share them equally or not play at all she decided to share. :) It cracked me up that she deemed Elizabeth unworthy of having an equal share of the toys, but hey, at least she's learning something.

It's especially encouraging b/c I'm struggling to keep up with the devotional, so it's a good motivator to see someone is listening. And especially b/c I'm way over my limit of stress and pressures and ability to keep up right now. But God's got my children covered.

If you have a small celebration, please share it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm retiring--someone else will be teaching my kids this year...

Someone was praying for me today--and even though they didn't know I homeschooled, they encouraged me with the verse, "Your children shall be taught of the Lord".

Cool--maybe I'll become an unschooler after all...I've been really wondering how much I can take on this year and how much I should just let go. My dd is really into chess right now and since she's only a 2nd grader, I am pretty excited. SO, I think that will be a big part of our school day. At least to start out. And as for the rest, I'll let the Master teacher worry about that. :) That is until He tells me what else I need to be teaching.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'm an ACHIEVER again!

You know, I have some trials--especially in my physical body. It makes it hard to get things done. But I was encouraged by this verse today:

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

In comparison to heaven, this affliction of mine is light and it's momentary (my life is but a blink of an eye!). BUT it's achieving for me. I can't seem achieve much right now. But this burden is doing it FOR me. I don't see this, but I do believe it. I am achieving just b/c of my afflicition. I've always been one to work hard and achieve. I've been struggle and getting no where, but I realized that I'm getting somewhere in the unseen realm. I don't get it--but it's in the Bible in black in white in 2 Cor. 4:15-18. I AM achieving! Not a functionally clean house; Not a job; not even in my homeschooling am I acheiving anything right now (I can't seem to get started, though I planned to). BUT I am achieving in the unseen realm.

Oh, and did you notice the "passing" part--this too shall pass. Repeat after me "This is temporary". Don't think of how long it is--just focus on that it's temporary. People say "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." That's right--you can only handle such huge things b/c they are temporary. "This is only temporary." I can endure a little while longer in the mess--but I can't wait to get to heaven and the joy that's waiting there.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My boat won't float

I thought it was time to "publish" my latest way to describe Lyme disease.

It's like being in a boat with termites. That is a wooden boat...

The most immediate need is the water leaking into the boat which you must bail out. That would be dealing with the practicals of life that I get behind on b/c of the illness. The to do list that multiplies unmercifully even when I can hardly get off the couch.

So, to prevent the water from getting worse, I need to patch the holes in the boat--that is the symptoms of the disease (something like 400 different ones to choose from). I actually am pretty good at patching holes/fighting off symptoms. It takes time--but my health blog is full of ideas on everything from insomnia to general health boosters--learned from years of patching holes.

But the root of the problem is the termites--eating the boat apart--the Lyme bacteria (Borrelia) wrecking havoc inside my body. I can kill off some of it--but so far not all. And so I keep having to bail, patch, and kill--over and over and over and over.

My boat won't float--unless I keep working. I want a vacation, but there are plenty of others who don't get a vacation from their hardships either. God help me keep up the good fight.