This was brewing in my fingertips like a hot cup of coffee today.
There are so many things we homeschoolers try to figure out. We compare, we read voraciously, we study, we ‘stay ahead’, we worry, we ask, we see, we change, we know… But here’s a list of 10 things you just shouldn’t do!
- Don’t compare your kids’ progress to your friends’ kids. Compare your kids’ progress to your own wisdom in who God made them, and their capabilities and trajectory. You know them best. Trust your instincts – they are there for a reason.
- Don’t try to be like someone else’s family. Be yourself. Embrace who you are as a family unit. Each child God adds to your family, forever changes your family’s quilt, so to speak. Love your quilt and the thread that holds it together. “Life-ing” any other way violates God’s design for you.
- Don’t try to fit your kids into the kids you read about in books. No author holds a perfect mirror up to your family. Every writer, writes from his or her own unique experience. As you read, treat those books as a la carte. Take what you like, eat what you like. Politely discard what you don’t like. Not everything that looks good, tastes good!
- Don’t get bogged down by curriculum or process. Focus on progress. Curriculum is wonderful, but it’s also a source of stress. Do the things that work for your child. If your child isn’t progressing with one method, or book, switch. Experiment. Ask your child what he or she likes. Observe. Use your better judgment.
- Don’t take the quick or easy way out. There are times removing yourself is right. Ask God for that discernment. But for some things -like reading, like math, like chores at home, like teaching discipline and consequences – you just can’t take the easy way out. Your children are watching you. God is watching you. You are watching you. If it’s a core piece of your task (given by God), do it to the best of your ability. In fact, if it’s a core piece of your task, then shave of other things until you can do this well.
- Don’t let your kids escape. It’s easier to do things for our kids, like make their beds, do the dishes, even wipe their tushes… in the short term. Don’t do it. As soon as your kids are able, start training them towards independence and sharing in the work that it takes to maintain your home and their lives. And there’s certainly a time for grace, but in general, please let them face the consequence of their actions. They will thank you for this once they are adults, though they gripe and complain now. If you want me to write about kids and chores, let me know.
- Don’t be lazy. Making excuses comes naturally. But please don’t be lazy. Find the resources and energy to stay the course. There’s a difference between laziness and rightfully letting things go that don’t belong. Ask God to know the difference. Your kids see the difference. God sees the difference. Most things we are lazy about don’t take much time. And much of life is determined by our small habits. Make it a habit to do the small things that add up. Bless your husband this way too, by the small diligent efforts you make all day, that add up to the monumental woman you are, and the world-changers you are turning out.
- Don’t ignore your season. We all have seasons in life, like when we experience a death, a newborn, a job change, a move… please acknowledge and make room for whatever season God has for you. See it, process it, discuss it with your family, and accommodate it. Then take advantage of the times of ‘rain’ so you can better weather times of ‘drought’. God promises us times of hardship, so while we don’t live in fear, we carefully plan our days, right? This is true for your children too, by the way. Your children have seasons in their maturity and development. Please pay attention.
- Don’t do too much. Do less, but do it exceptionally well. And please train your children to do the same. Teach yourself and your children the discipline of mastery. Don’t stay busy. Get focused. Petition God until He answers you about how to spend your time, and in whom to invest, and in what you should put your money. Take care of your physical self. Feed your family quality food. Good stewardship is not about spreading butter everywhere. Instead of peanut butter slapped on white bread, I’d rather have a tiny flaky and decadent raspberry and chocolate stuffed pastry that someone labored over (though I suppose your tastebuds may differ, but you know what I’m saying, right?).
- Don’t do things out of order. This is a statement as much about energy management as it is about honoring God. Put God first in all you do – this includes your day. This includes how you start your day for your children. Remember that you set the tone in your home. How much would you rather have a day of peace, than a day of disarray? How much would you rather do the three mission-critical things today, than the 25 non-urgent and less important things today? When you get “this” backwards, you’re far more likely to leave the mission-critical things to (A) slip through the cracks, (B) become an end-of-day monster that keeps you up past your bedtime, or (C) become something you’ve only done with half-hearted effort. One way you can figure out what’s mission-critical is to ‘start with the end in mind’. This takes you figuring out what the end should be. Ask God. Ask your husband. Ask yourself. Ask your children as they become old enough to give you realistic input. If you want me to write a post about prioritizing, I’d be happy to do that, just say the word.
I hope this has blessed you today, and helped you think about what you can let go of in your life while maintaining or gaining some more peace!