I think the single most important thing one can cultivate in homeschooling (and in parenting) is a calm and quiet heart. It is easy as a parent new to homeschooling to have a vision of rosy-cheeked children running to your side to love learning, but the reality is that some days will be fantastic and some days will be less than stellar. Some days your children will love homeschooling, and some days all the children will be crying that they don’t want to do school, that they hate school (which is very easy to take personally when you are the teacher and have slaved away all summer in order to create lessons!) or your child will be crying about the math, drawing, reading or knitting that is “just too hard.”
If you have a strong conviction that this is the right path and you can be calm and quiet, then you will feel peaceful even in the midst of the worst days. Your calm and your peacefulness will carry your children during these days and will enable you to be the wall your child needs to bounce off of when something is hard and they need to persist in finishing a task.
You may asking how one maintains a calm and quiet heart; I have some suggestions.
- Do your own inner work as to why you think homeschooling is right for your family and surround yourself with positive people who will support you.
- One of my best suggestions is to start your day with prayer, meditation and inner work. Bless the beginning of your school day together. Ask your Beloved Creator to bless you and guide you as you work to parent and educate your children.
- Talk less. If your child is melting down over reading or math, or your children are yelling about not wanting to do school, one of the worst things you can do is start a back and forth dialogue with your child or children whilst they are completely screaming and upset. Be calm, be quiet, be the authority and wait a few minutes.
- By the same token, though, part of experience in homeschooling means you know when to take a break, when to take the day off and go hiking, and also know when to push through and buckle down. Children do have to rise up and cultivate their will and finish tasks, but the manner and timing in which we approach this is part of our own development as a teacher.
- Cultivate a strong rhythm. Children in the grades may very well be resistant to doing school if your rhythm is changing every day. Sometimes life necessitates this due to pregnancy, illness or other circumstances, but if you are in a stable place and all over just because you are lacking in will in developing rhythm, then this should be a priority for your coming school year. And part of cultivating rhythm and getting things done is to be home. Schedule things in the afternoon when school is done. Put in time to have the family work together to do the things that will keep the house running smoothly.
- Plan ahead; get organized. If your home runs relatively smoothly and your school year is planned out and you have the resources you need then you be in a place to bring things to your children out of a position of preparedness.