Written by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment.
I love hiking. I love the feeling of the fresh breeze on my skin, the sights of green trees, flowers and wildlife in its natural habitat.
But most of all, I love the view from the top – it makes all my hard effort worthwhile.
Maybe you love hiking, too. Or maybe you prefer to ride in a car to the top of the mountain. I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t love a beautiful, scenic view.
Homeschooling our kids can be kind of like hiking. There are beautiful discoveries along the way for sure. But there can also be blisters, insect bites, and poison ivy.
The struggles and challenges we may encounter as we teach our children can leave us discouraged and frustrated – you know, camped out on a bench in the middle of the trail, eating all the M&Ms out of the trail mix bag.
Trust me. I know. I’ve been there. Like – yesterday.
My daughter spent over an hour doing her chores, which, when observed, were nowhere near completed.
Then she didn’t want to do school. You know, throwing in the towel before the first word was written, before the first book was opened. Not a great way to start our day.
I must confess that I got angry. Actually, I pretty much snapped on her. It was bad news.
Because anger doesn’t motivate kids to learn. Ever. Neither do threats or bribes. I know this in my head, of course, but my emotions overcame me in that moment. It was a kind of “out of body Mommy experience.”
I was deeply pained because I knew that I had hurt my daughter. I took a time out to calm down and ask God for forgiveness for my actions. Then I apologized to my daughter.
I realized later after more prayer and some thought that what I needed in that moment was not merely more patience but a greater perspective.
Because I will never be able to properly motivate or encourage my kids in their learning challenges if I can’t rightly see to deal with my own barriers and frustrations in our homeschooling experience.
I needed perspective – to think about the view from the top.
Because when you are stuck in between a rock and a hard place, you need to remember why you started hiking in the first place.
Gaining perspective can only come when we slow down. Take a time out. Sit still and calm ourselves from our own frenzy of activity (which we have determined is all absolutely imperative) to do the one thing that we really need to do:
Remember why we started homeschooling in the first place.
And I’ve decided a few things, priority wise:
- Relationships are more important than productivity. If we only get through 1/2 of a math lesson today, I’m going to be okay with that.
- Learning need never be rushed. That’s one of the reasons I started homeschooling in the first place – so that my kids’ education wouldn’t be bound to a mandated time schedule.
- As long as we are learning, growing, and being challenged, we are succeeding. We don’t have to get seven lessons from seven subjects done every day to be successful in our studies. We don’t even have to fully complete one.
This will likely always rub slightly against my personality that is driven to see clear and measurable results. But that is part of my learning journey – my re-education of what learning can look like.
It’s messy stuff – learning with our little people. It’s sticky–like marshmallows at a campfire–but just as satisfying.
So the next time you want to scream because your child is doodling in their math book instead of solving equations, take a deep breath. Remember the greater purpose of all this.
Think of what really matters in the big scheme of things and be encouraged as you consider the view from the top.
Trust me, it will make the journey much more enjoyable for both you and your child!
How do you regain perspective when homeschool frustrations come up?