Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Depending on what part of the country you live in, next week is July, which means it’s time to gear up for school starting in August. As a home educator, I hear way too many comments from parents who fear being a home educator. They want so desperately to be the “perfect” homeschool parent.
Well, I am here to help you!
Here are a few tips to help you become the “perfect” homeschool parent.
Stop Putting Your Children in Every Activity You Find…
I cannot tell you how much time and money we wasted early in our homeschool journey because we bounced our children around doing any and everything their friends were doing. We joined every activity, co-op, or tutorial their friends joined. We did not pray to God to ensure it was the best option for our family or for our children. We did not trust God for their education. Instead, we simply trusted that whatever their friends were doing that’s what our children would do. Needless to say, we found out quickly in almost every instance that we made a bad decision. It either wasn’t the right fit for our family or wasn’t the right fit for our children. Don’t make the same mistake.
Psalm 84:11 ” Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
I know how much we want to make sure our children have friends but it’s very important to remember that your life will change on a regular basis, (God might move you to a new location) so their education has to come first. God will always provide them with connections (if you pray and ask Him) so simply putting your children in activities that might not be right for them serves no long-term purpose. Seek God for their education and He will lead you down the right path – and thus – He will lead your children to connections.
Allow Them To Make Mistakes…
As a longtime home educator I have heard it said way too many times that “I’m afraid I’m going to mess my kid up!” It’s natural to feel the pressure of ensuring your child is well equipped, because it falls solely on you. That’s why you’re a parent, right? You didn’t become a parent just to have a cute kid you could stare at all day. You became a parent so you could love, nurture, care and guide your child into adulthood and to leave a God fearing legacy for generations to come! Well, unfortunately that responsibility comes with bumps and bruises; with hits and misses, which includes your home education with them. They are going to have many MANY bad days where they simply don’t get it. They are going to have many MANY days where they make mistakes. When that happens, it is not the time for you to throw up your hands and put them in traditional school and give the burden to someone else. No, instead, it’s time for you to seek God, pray and ask Him for His continued wisdom and guidance. It’s during this time you lean not on your own understanding but on His understanding for your life and your child’s life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I went to traditional school my entire life. My parents “didn’t mess me up.” I did not get help in traditional school so traditional school is not necessarily the easy way out. I was spelling at a fourth grade level in my early 20’s. I had to teach myself how to spell and write properly. And to be very honest, I am still not a great speller and my punctuation is mediocre at best. I did not go to college until I was 33 years old. Yet despite that, I have a master’s degree in Theology. I had to write 20-30 page research papers in seminary. I was a writer for Christianity Today for several years. No, I am not suggesting you let your children just do whatever they want and offer no structure or guidance because they’ll be okay in the end. But what I am saying is let your children make mistakes on this journey. Don’t worry about messing them up. You can always get back on track with God’s help. Have fun and trust God on this journey.
Embrace Who They Are…
My middle older children are of the age where all of their friends are driving and in the process of ACT testing. But I do not see the push from my children to start driving and neither of them is certain of what they’d like to do after they graduate high school. There are times they mention driving (and we have started teaching them) but for a split second I almost pushed the idea of them driving just because everyone around them either has a license or has been driving for a while. There are some children who are ready and it’s fine to embrace that. And then there are some children who are not. I actually know a local homeschooler who is the oldest of her siblings yet she did not start driving at all until her early twenties. She had absolutely no interest in it even though her younger siblings were driving. Her parents did not push her. She started driving when she was ready. She is a lovely young woman who is now married and about to have her first child.
Ecclesiastes 3:5 “a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,”
Also, my older two are not sure of their plans after high school therefore, me and my husband continue to pray and ask God for wisdom for them. But they are very active young people.
My son has a job at Chick-fil-A, and is an honor roll student who knows Chinese and French. He goes to the gym three-four times a week and volunteers at church. He younger sister just got a job. She is a basketball player for our homeschool organization. She bakes goodies for us several times a week, she loves to paint and draw and goes to the gym three-four times a week and volunteers at our church.
Allow your children to be who God created them to be. Don’t push them into situations they are not ready for. Continue to pray and seek God for their lives. Continue to allow God to give you wisdom for them. Continue to talk with your children and help them become independent but let them come into themselves with God’s help.
So…back to the first question…
If you’ve caught on to this post you realize that being perfect is not being perfect at all. It’s allowing yourself the freedom to be who God created you to be as a home educator and allowing your children to be who He created them to be. Being perfect means to let go of the idea of being perfect and trust God’s plan for your children. To be perfect means to know that you will never be perfect. Your homeschool journey cannot be perfect. God does amazing things through imperfect people, so allow Him to do extraordinary things through your life this homeschool year. Live in freedom with Jesus Christ at the center of your homeschool year! He is PERFECT so let Him shine through YOU and YOUR children!
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS