Homeschool Wisdom Homeschooling

Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees

One thing I encourage all new homeschoolers to do is to write a paragraph stating your reasons for homeschooling. You likely have given this a good amount of thought at some point, and may have a “list” in your head. It is important to write it down and keep it someplace where you can refer to it from time to time…. because you will forget!!
 ~in the midst of winter when you are snowed in and everyone is sick,
~in the midst of struggles with learning to read or figuring out fractions or convincing your son that punctuation is necessary, 
~in the midst of trying to manage laundry and sports practices and grocery shopping and lesson plans,
~ in the midst of frustrating days and sleepless nights, 
you will hear yourself saying “Why did I think this was a good idea?” and YOU WILL NEED TO REMIND YOURSELF. 

Many years ago a speaker at the NCHE Homeschool Conference told this story, and it has stuck with me. This woman was head of a support organization in CA, and they required all their families to submit a statement of their reasons for homeschooling. One day a homeschool mom came to her, very discouraged, saying that after getting back her children’s standardized test scores, she and her husband had decided the children were not doing as well as they’d hoped and that the kids would probably be better off in school. The leader pulled out the written statement that this family had submitted when they started homeschooling, and read it over for a minute.

“You say you are disappointed with your children’s test scores and think they should be back in school. But I don’t see high test scores anywhere on this list of reasons you gave for wanting to homeschool in the first place. This is what you wrote.”

And she handed the paper to the mom to read. The statement included things like growing up in a safe environment, building strong family relationships, having freedom to teach from a Christian worldview and include God in their daily lessons, protecting their children’s innocence and allowing them to learn at their own pace and to develop their talents and abilities using materials that fit their individual learning styles.

“Have these things changed? Are your children still benefiting from the things you wrote here?”

The mother admitted that she had lost sight of those reasons, and perhaps the standardized tests were not the most important part of this whole picture. She left much encouraged, with a copy of her written statement to show her husband.

There is an old adage, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.”
In homeschooling and also the rest of life, keep the big picture in mind, and don’t let one small detail or struggle derail you.

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