Finding the Door in the Wall

It’s the time in the school year when many homeschoolers, new, veteran, and in-between, hit a wall. A wall of fear, doubt, impatience. You wonder why homeschool isn’t working as you planned. Why was it going so well the first three weeks and now it seems like it’s falling apart? You wonder if you’re really cut out for this. Many homeschool moms have asked me what I do when this happens. I hope my answer helps all of you facing a wall.

GET TO THE ROOT–Why did you choose to homeschool? Now ask yourself if you’ve designed your homeschool around that reason. If you wanted more family time or a more flexible schedule, it might not be working if you’ve set a rigid schedule. If you wanted an organic approach to learning, but then got caught up in homeschool sales, those workbooks you bought could have killed the passion. If you wanted more time as a family, but bickering is at an all time high, maybe choose quality over quantity; make those moments really valuable, but then allow lots of space.

FIND YOUR PHILOSOPHY–what do you believe about education? How do children learn? What is the role of a homeschool educator? Maybe you’ve never really thought about it. Now is the time. And feel free to research various philosophies in order to create your own. You can’t reach a goal if you don’t know what or where it is. You can’t follow a trail if you don’t have a map. Your philosophy will guide your decisions. And, it will change over time.

KNOW THEIR LEARNING STYLES–how do your children learn best? There’s a trap we all fall into: teaching the way we were taught. But, guess what? We may not have been taught the best way for us, as individuals. We have the opportunity to teach to our children’s specific needs and learning styles. Homeschoolers automatically get IEPs–it’s built in! Teach the way your child learns, rather than how you were taught. Does your child write his/her spelling words ten times, and write ten sentences, but still bomb the test? Maybe he/she needs to form letters with play dough to string into words, or maybe a song would do the trick. Your child won’t sit through read aloud time? What if you sat on swings together to read, or he/she colored pictures while listening? Maybe he/she just needs a copy of the book to follow along while you read.

Any time I’ve hit a wall in our homeschool, I’ve gone back to these three things. Sometimes it’s resulted in throwing out a specific curriculum, or adding in more art time. Other times it’s made me reevaluate our schedules to free up time and reduce stress. It will look different for every family. I hope that if you’ve hit a wall in homeschooling, following these three suggestions will help you find the door to greater learning opportunities.

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