A Plan for the Long Term

Wendy L Miller Tuesday October 18 2022


Do you ever feel like you are experimenting on your children? You add this and that to your mad science mixture and hope that when the green fog clears you end up with an educated child. You’re not alone. Homeschooling your children can feel like that. In the early years of homeschooling, it’s good to remember that teaching your children is a learning process for them and you. While in that learning process, remind yourself that homeschooling is different from public school.

One of the ways it’s different is that you are in charge. Maybe that doesn’t sound like rocket science, but it’s a monumental idea. You decide what your children need to learn. You decide when they need to learn it. You have all the freedom and all the responsibility. Often the responsibility weighs heavy on us. Here are some tips to help you see that your responsibility can mesh with your freedom into one glorious mad science mixture that bubbles into success.

  • Start at the level where your children are. Make it your goal to help them to learn what they can. There is so much focus on all that your child should already know, what’s on grade level, and on and on. It’s counterproductive to try teaching a child something they are not ready for. Start where they are, go where they can.
  • If your child is good at something, allow time to excel at it. It’s tempting to always focus on areas that are a struggle, feeling like they are behind and need to catch up. It’s understandable to want them to have the skills necessary to advance, but don’t let this turn into the only thing they ever do. On the flip side, don’t completely neglect the subjects they struggle with. Find a balance to start where they are and go where they can.
  • Set realistic goals. Realistic goals will have to be adjustable when you are starting because you are learning what can be accomplished in a day. You are learning what your child struggles with, and how to help him or her. Make a plan that keeps you on track, but leaves room for living, room for wonder, and room for the inevitable getting behind. In the elementary years of homeschooling, set one or two goals for each child for the year, one big idea that when it’s accomplished you can count as success.
  • Part of setting realistic goals is recognizing that life is educational. Homeschool, by its very nature, makes life all one piece. Instead of fitting nicely into categories of school, family, church, and chores, it all gets mushed up together. School happens when you are just doing life together as much as when you are doing what is called school. Embrace those moments when life is the teacher. Write them down, because keeping track helps you to see how much learning is happening. I call this planning backward, and it’s a great tool for the early years when there is so much wonder and learning that happens naturally.