Years from now, what will our kids remember about their homeschool experience?
Chances are that instead of remembering every book, fact, and project, our children will keenly remember how we made them feel during the homeschool day.
To remind myself of this truth, I’ve posted an index card by my kitchen sink that says, “They’ll remember how you made them feel.”
Although this card reminds me to embrace the big, beautiful things about homeschooling— to smile, to snuggle, and to slow down for the joy of learning, it also reminds me to keep my head on straight when I’m stressed about clutter, schedules, and disorganization. It reminds me not to be such a tyrant when it comes to books being misplaced, pencils being dropped, erasers being eaten, and life not going the way I want it to go.
No homeschooling parent hopes to leave a legacy of stress, aggravation, and tension, and yet I find myself sometimes fixating on orderliness, schedule, and control at the expense of joy, learning, and creativity.
How can you and I run an orderly homeschool without becoming tyrants?
Here are three helpful things to keep in mind:
1. Keep the Truth Before You
In my experience, things get out of control when I wrongly believe that my self-worth or my child’s future depends on my plans and organization.
If you can relate, join me in daily remembering that God Himself has plans beyond ours. He oversees our work, and He will lavish grace on us and our children. Let’s do what it takes to live in the light of God’s promises, provision, and peace.
When we remember that God is God and we are His people, the sheep of His pasture, we are more likely to breathe, rest, and trust Him with the outcome of our unpredictable days.
2. Keep Things Simple
Focus on One Organizational Aspect at a Time
Each week, choose one aspect of homeschool life that you’d like everyone in your family to focus on. You may ask everyone to focus on reshelving books, returning scissors to their proper location, or tidying the bathroom, but choose one thing. Through the week, praise each person’s attempts to stay organized in this area and be ready to let other things slide. This will keep us from exploding when, “EVERYTHING’S A DISASTER!!”
Talk Through Your Schedule and Organizational Plans with a Friend
Before a new school year, sit down with a friend and talk through your plans. By talking through your curriculum, organization, and schedule, you’ll notice the areas where you may be overbearing, too complex, or demanding. Her feedback will help you to see where you may need to relax, extend grace, and return to the basics.
Make it Easy For You and Your Child to Succeed
You won’t turn into a tyrant if you make sure your child is able to meet your expectations. For example, if your child cannot physically return a book to a crowded bookshelf, consider using baskets or book bins, creating more space, or creating bookshelves with outward-facing books.
Ask your child, “What would make this easier for you?” Work together to bring order to your homeschool day. Often remind yourselves why you are keeping an organized home: to create peace, beauty, and order. Label things clearly.
3. Keep Things Kind
Instead of focusing on not being tyrannical, focus on being kind. It’s never too late to grow in the fruit of the Spirit—to seek God’s help in being loving, patient, kind, and gentle. Thank your child for every positive step and celebrate the life God has given you together!