As the new school year begins, it is tempting for home educators to rely too much on lesson plans, curriculum, and music lessons, sports, and other extra curricula activities. It is easy to forget that the strength of home education lies in the one-on-one interaction between a parent and child. Schedules and deadlines are a necessary aspect of good organization, but should never take the place of the necessary life lessons that spring up on a daily (if not hourly) basis.
As someone who has been there and back for twenty-seven seasons, I assure you that running on automatic can have negative consequences for teacher and student alike. Parents need to be flexible with their plans and curriculum because problems can arise if one is not willing to change course and amend it as needed. Sticking with something that is not working just because you began with it is counterproductive. Besides, being inflexible can cause you to miss teaching moments. That is why I counsel new homeschool teachers not to fall in love with their own plans – be prepared to alter and adjust them as circumstances change. In addition, it is a great idea to find someone who has travelled the road before to act as a sounding board for problems or issues that arise.
Learning should generate excitement and enthusiasm. If it does not, try to find out what the problem is. Do not assume that “all kids hate school” and that “you just have to tough it out.” That produces burnout and frustration. After all, the goal of a Christian education is not primarily a diploma, college entry, or even a good job. The goal is an individual trained in making the Kingdom of God a number one priority and providing the knowledge and understanding that will make the student an effective servant in that Kingdom.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].