Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Today’s post finishes up the series I’ve been writing over the past month: Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom.
Throughout the past four weeks we’ve talked about school vs. home, curriculum vs. atmosphere, a mom’s education, and burnout. But wouldn’t it be great if we could see our role as homeschooling parents boiled down to one main goal–one idea that would ensure the development of a successful homeschooling foundation?
Well, there is such a tip! It’s magical, it’s natural, and above all it’s simple.
The most important thing you’ll ever do for the success of your homeschool is this:
That’s it! Today and every day when you wake in the morning, your job as a homeschool parent is to nurture and build relationships.
And here’s the reason why: Education thrives when relationships are nurtured.
You’ll see this if you think back to your own school career and history. Many of us who were educated traditionally had at least one or more teachers who took a special interest in us, teachers with whom we had a shared connection.
Often that was the class in which we learned the most and the class we enjoyed the most–the relationship mattered.
In my case I remember my 7th Grade English teacher, Mrs. Sarvis. That was the year I decided that I wanted to be an author. I spent much of my free time writing, at both home and school. My mind can still see that purple spiral notebook as if it was yesterday. One afternoon Mrs. Sarvis offered to take my scribbles home with her to read in the evening.
Looking back I’m certain that my stories weren’t all that remarkable, but her response was. She took the time to encourage me, and her encouragement fanned the flame of my dream.
As both teachers and parents, we have even more power to nurture the relationships of those we love most in ways that will help their learning explode and take off.
A few months ago a comment came in on this post from a seasoned homeschooling mom. I was so moved by Debra’s words and experiences that I asked her if I could share them with you today:
“I have been homeschooling my eight children (currently ages 8 to 29) for over twenty three years and there have been many hard times when I wanted to quit. However, I haven’t because this road has been the best one for my family despite the trials.
Homeschooling has continued through marriage and church problems, health and emotional problems, elder parent issues and deaths, three miscarriages, and one bout of cancer.
And as I continue on I have come to know that the journey was never about how competent I am in any school subject, but is about my relationship with my children, my husband, and my God. Period.
If those are a priority everything else will work out.
My oldest son is one of my favorite examples of how it never was about how good a teacher I could be. Despite my personal trials during his high school years, and in spite of never doing any kind of formal science (because of having so many younger children), my son found his passion for biology in college. He studied hard; he networked with teachers. He was offered full graduate school scholarships to MIT and Harvard. He found his way.
I know this is not a checklist of how to do it, but I hope there is some encouragement in knowing that it can all work out if our priorities are firmly set before our eyes.”
We will have many times when we feel unqualified and in over our heads on this journey, but when everything else falls apart we can go back to basics. We can nurture relationships. That’s what mothers are brilliant at and always have been.
So when doubt or fear try to overtake us, we must make that the priority—it will set the course for the future success of both our homeschool and our entire family.
Have you seen the power of relationships open doors to learning in your family?