Even though our commitment and dedication to homeschooling may be just as strong as the next parent’s, it is my observation that homeschooling is much easier for some than others. Because everyone is unique and has different strengths, weaknesses, talents, and gifts, some tend to be natural teachers, while others have to work at it much harder. (I know some of you are relieved to hear that!) Just as some of us are naturally more organized, more playful, or more structured, others are just natural teachers. Does that mean they are better homeschoolers? Of course not. It just means that some aspects of homeschooling will come easier to them.
Just like everything else in life, God has endowed us with different talents, which is why it is paramount that we not compare ourselves to others. Instead, let’s give ourselves a break by recognizing this fundamental truth and focusing on our own strengths as homeschoolers, and even sharing those talents with others.
My hubby is a numbers man; I couldn’t begin to do what he can do with numbers. I appreciate that talent and rely on his abilities at every opportunity. Or maybe you have someone in your family who is a whiz at remembering dates, events, and names? (Every family seems to have one!) I am so thankful for my sister’s gift in this area. She never misses a birthday or anniversary (sadly, I miss them all the time), and I know I can count on her if I ever want to know a date of a (even long-ago) special event.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, or beat ourselves up for not having the same gift as our friend or neighbor. Instead, let’s utilize the variety of gifts of our fellow homeschoolers. It’s really ok to copy that great idea that your creative friend is implementing, or better yet, ask your friend to do it with your kids while offering to share your talent/interest with her kids. And never hesitate to ask for help or ideas from one of those “schooling-seems-to-come-easier” types.
Sadly, I‘ve noticed a “lack-of-confidence” epidemic in the world of moms and have often wondered how we can help one another to be more assured in this often overwhelming, yet vital task before us. Of course, it’s human nature to have some self-doubt when embarking on such a significant adventure as homeschooling. However, I do believe that we would greatly benefit from making bold decisions and, without fear, confidently moving forward through each day – amidst the good and the not-always-so-good. To do this, first and foremost, we need to believe that God has given HIS best choice of parents/teachers to these children AND that God is gracious to give every provision to carry out this task.
So take a minute and ask yourself: What are my strengths? What am I particularly good at in homeschooling? I recently asked these questions at our local support group fellowship meeting. I was surprised and saddened at how difficult this was to answer. I’m not sure if it was just that they were uncomfortable being asked to toot their own horn, but so many of the moms genuinely could not think of a single strength . . . I know and respect these moms, and trust me, they do have strengths!
So search yourself. What part of homeschooling comes easiest to you or do you enjoy the most? Maybe you are good at routine. (Do you realize how hard this is for some moms?) Maybe you are flexible . . . or spontaneous . . . or absolutely love field trips. Maybe you don’t always get every subject done, but you always manage to get in the read-alouds, or maybe writing comes easy to you. Maybe you laugh with your kids a lot or love to use music to enhance learning. Let’s identify our God-given talents, celebrate them, and even share them with others, rather than worry or be embarrassed that our homeschool doesn’t look like someone else’s.
Gratefulness is transformative
In her recent Homeschool Heartbeat interview, Ann Voskamp made a pretty strong case for why mom and kids alike will benefit from gratefulness. According to Ann: “there’s five reasons why to teach kids to be grateful. Research says, number one, children who practice grateful thinking have better attitudes. Number two, they have better relationships. Number three, they have better grades. Number four, they have better attentiveness. Daily gratitude intervention with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of states of alertness and attentiveness. And number five, they’re better [at] sensitivity. Children who kept gratitude journals were more sensitive to situations where they could be helpful.”
In her book One Thousand Gifts, Voskamp shares that deliberate gratitude, by writing a running list of blessings, will transform our lives. As she explained in her HSHB interview: “Research actually indicates that if you write down what you’re grateful for, it increases your happiness by 25 percent. And who doesn’t want that?” Furthermore, a study through her blog also found that practicing gratefulness significantly reduces stress.
So let’s rejoice and be grateful for this amazing opportunity to spend time with and speak into our children’s lives through homeschooling. I feel sure that God will use our gratefulness to build our confidence and help us identify our strengths so that we can enthusiastically breathe life and wisdom into these treasures we call our children. And mama, while you are practicing gratefulness, don’t forget to teach and pass that on to your kids along the way.
So what about you? What is your strength? I would love to hear from you!
Check out these gratitude journals: “A Thankful Heart Is a Happy Heart” (journal for kids) and “Choose Gratitude” journal
You can purchase Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts here through HSLDA’s affiliate program on Amazon.com.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Psalm 127:3