Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom
Inevitably it’s what leads us to this crazy homeschooling lifestyle. Without love, we wouldn’t care to take on this enormous responsibility–we’d make our lives as easy as possible. Without love, we wouldn’t stand much chance of persevering through the challenges that arise either.
I’ve always found comfort in the words of John Holt, homeschooling pioneer and bestselling author. When asked what parents need to homeschool well, here was his response:
“We can sum up very quickly what people need to teach their own children. First of all, they have to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness and passion.
They have to enjoy all their talk and questions and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions. They have to think of their children as friends, indeed very close friends, have to feel happier when they are near and miss them when they are away.
They have to trust them as people, respect their fragile dignity, treat them with courtesy, take them seriously. They have to feel in their own hearts some of their children’s wonder, curiosity and excitement about the world.
And they have to have enough confidence in themselves, skepticism about experts, and willingness to be different from most people, to take on themselves the responsibility for their children’s learning.
But that is about all the parents need.”
John Holt, Teach Your Own
By these standards most of us look pretty well-qualified to homeschool. (Note for any frazzled parents reading this today: You don’t have to like your children all. the. time. to homeschool! Remember John Holt was not a father. )
And yet what our hearts lead us into, our minds soon take over.
We analyze, stress, worry, fret. We make plenty of plans, and fail at many plans. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we make our children cry.
Here’s what I believe it takes to homeschool with heart–for the long haul:
1. Love of Learning–Ours
Homeschooling isn’t just about our kids’ love of learning–it’s also about ours! Are you trudging through the homeschool to-do list bored to tears? If so, something is very wrong.
Of course we will have challenges to overcome within our days, but we shouldn’t be sacrificing our love of learning–or that of our kids–in the name of school.
I like what my friend Renee Tougas has to say about this in her audio recording called Homeschooling from the Heart:
“You don’t have to instill a love of learning (in your kids), you just have to let it blossom and not squash it.”
2. Keeping in Mind The Whole Picture
Sometimes we get sidetracked by the immediate needs and issues in front of us. We forget about our long-term goals. But a long-term vision for our homeschool is vital if we want to be successful.
Speaking of success, we must define what that means. Many young adults today graduate from college with high GPA’s, but without anything else to accompany their degree.
When our young people lack vision, compassion, or faith, they are not set up for success–no matter what their academic record reports. We need to dare to want more than that for our children.
I recently read Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar. I love her approach to relaxed learning and her focus on what really matters. Kelly expresses the need for heart in our homeschool when she writes that “no academic goal is worth losing the priceless relationships with our children.”
Amen to that! Homeschooling with heart sets our kids up, not only for success in college, but for success in life.
And when you really think about it, isn’t that what we all hope for?