We have come a long way since making the decision to homeschool 5 years ago. It was the spring of 2006, and my oldest two children were finishing up their school year at a local private school. My older son had completed 3rd grade, and my daughter, 1st grade. The decision had been a long time in the making, and we walked out of those school doors for the last time with great confidence. We took a few months off for summer break, then jumped in feet first that August with one in 4th, one in 2nd, and one in diapers.
5 years of unit studies, worksheets, and science experiments later, and here I am scratching my head and wondering, “Where did the time go?” My daughter (the middle child) went through her 6th grade graduation with our homeschool group a few weeks ago, and my youngest, who celebrated his 8th birthday yesterday, has long since graduated from diapers. The oldest child…. is driving now, and if he needs help styling his hair, he has to sit down so that I can reach his head.
It is mind-boggling when I think about it because it literally seems like it was *just yesterday* that we set up our little schoolroom and set sail into the world of homeschooling. And what is even stranger to me is knowing that the next 5 years will also pass in a flash. I have friends in our homeschool group that now have high school graduates and even some in college, and they are finding out for themselves whether or not they have adequately prepared their children for life-after-homeschool. And as my oldest is moving on to 9th grade this year and I know it’s time to start keeping an official transcript and all, I am having to face the reality that I only have 4 short years left to get it right with him.
It is intimidating, is it not? Knowing that much of the responsibility of whether your child will succeed or fail rests squarely on your shoulders? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be the mom whose son calls home from college saying, “I just wasn’t prepared for this.”
I heard a speaker recently at a church conference who said that in order to insure that you get to where you want to be at the end of your journey, you should envision yourself at the end of that journey and ask yourself these questions:
- The biggest reason that I did not succeed was because: __________________________________________________.
- Another reason that I did not succeed was because: __________________________________________________.
- The last reason that I did not succeed was because: __________________________________________________.
- The biggest reason that I was successful was because: __________________________________________________.
- Another reason that I was successful was because: __________________________________________________.
- The last reason that I was successful was because: __________________________________________________.
- I was not diligent enough in making my children do their school work each day.
- I neglected to get help for my child when he had difficulty with a subject that I didn’t understand well enough to help him with.
- I allowed my child to pursue other interests which took too much time away from his studies.
- I set up a schedule that worked for my family and I stuck to it.
- I set reasonable expectations for my kids and followed through with them.
- I spent many hours praying for my kids and their education.
Of course, there are thousands of possible answers that we could give, but those are a few obvious ones off the top of my head. I think this could be helpful because it can identify some of our problem areas that we know are present right now, but we might not have realized could cause such obstacles for the future. For example, my first one on the “didn’t succeed” list is an actual problem that we face in our homeschool, and I know that if I do not get it under control, it will come back to bite us later on. And that could be the case with any number of problem areas.
On the other hand, identifying the good things that you are doing right and doing well, or just the things that you are striving to do better each day, is a very good idea. You have to know what is worth repeating so you can keep it up, right? And maybe you’re a mom or dad with little ones and are just hoping to homeschool someday, or you’ve got very young school-age children – let me encourage you to answer these questions as well. It will not only get you to thinking about the long-term future, but it will also help you to plan for those first years, as well. Good habits start early, and it’s never too soon to start!
I would love to hear your answers to these questions. Would you take the time to leave me a note? Or even blog about it yourself and leave us a link? Thank you so much!