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?