Your Parenting Approach: Homeschooling, the First Year

Your Parenting Approach: Homeschooling, the First Year

When I began homeschooling, I immediately discovered that disciplining my children was central to my homeschooling success. If I couldn’t get them to obey me, I couldn’t teach them. Even though I’m a psychologist, I spent a lot of time reading about how to discipline. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I want to share some principles with you that can save you time as a new homeschooler.

Parenting Approach: Homeschooling, the First Year #homeschooling #Christianparenting

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Three Parenting Approaches

You may have read that there are three basic approaches to parenting. There is the authoritative approach. This is the most balanced, healthy style. You’re the authority in your child’s life, but you extend plenty of grace. You enjoy your children and they love you as well as respect you. There is also the authoritarian approach. This style takes authority and commands very seriously. Swift obedience is valued above relationship. Demands for obedience are often accompanied by anger and harsh punishments for failure to comply. This approach can lead to children who obey outwardly but inwardly burn with resentment. The authoritarian approach puts parental demands above the child’s needs. Finally, there is the passive approach. The passive approach also puts the parent’s needs ahead of the child’s. In this style, the parent does not demand obedience or respect because discipline is too much work. The parent doesn’t provide consequences for misbehavior. The child feels unloved and is ill equipped to function in a society with other authority figures.

I doubt that you would put yourself squarely in either of the latter two categories. Instead, most of us see ourselves as authoritative parents. However, when we are under stress, tired, or overwhelmed, we will tend to revert to one of the less functional parenting approaches or both.

How We Can Use a Functional Parenting Approach Even Under Stress

The key to being a positive parent even when we’re hangry, wiped out, or PMSing is to plan ahead. We need to know our triggers and have a response ready.

Which misbehaviors get to you the most? Is it acting out in a public place? Is it not picking up after you’ve asked? Is it fighting? Make note of these.

Then consider which situations lead you to revert to an authoritarian or passive style. Is it when you’re short on sleep? When you’ve had no time away from the kids? When you’re running late? You’ll also want to make note of these situations.

First, decide with your spouse (if you’re married) what your family rules are. It’s a good idea to have your rules posted and to review them with your children regularly. Next, decide which consequences you will use for violations of these rules. Consider these.

  • Spanking. This is most effective for outright defiance or blatant disrespect in young children. However, avoid physical punishment if you are prone to anger OR if you have a child prone to anger. There are other forms of discipline that are more effective in this case.
  • Scary persona. Giving your child the eagle eye or using a certain tone of voice is enough to correct misbehavior with some children in some situations.
  • Privilege levels. You can keep track of the level of privileges your child is using a cork board and a pin, for example. This system requires an understood and achievable means for a child to return to higher privilege level. Using this approach with multiple children can be challenging.
  • Refuse requests. As described in How to Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman, refuse to comply with your child’s next request after misbehavior. For example, “You may not have a snack.” “Why?” “Because you wouldn’t come inside when I called you.” The advantage of this approach is it requires no pre-planning and can be very effective.
  • Guided obedience. When young children refuse or are slow to pick up toys or go up to bed, guide them with your hands (without anger) until they are complying on their own. Thank them for obeying, even though you are providing the guidance.
  • Time out. Putting a child in a place where there is no opportunity for reinforcement (no access to toys, books, or interaction with others) for one minute for each year of their age is an effective strategy for many children. The same can be done with a toy that isn’t being used properly or is being fought over.
  • Put fighting children in close quarters. Insist that siblings who are fighting stay in a small room (like a bathroom) until they can stop quarreling. Insisting that the squabblers wear a single large shirt, hug, or hold hands until they stop serves the same purpose.
  • Fines. If you give your children an allowance or earnings for chores, you can discipline misbehavior with a fine. Keeping track of your child’s money on an app on your phone makes it easy to fine wherever you are.
  • Confinement. A young child who doesn’t like to be restricted can be seated in your lap with his back to you. Firmly hold his right arm with your left hand and vice versa for a minute for each year of age. Do not speak to your child after explaining what the misbehavior was, but require him to remain in your lap.

Make note of which approach you will be using. The simpler the better.

The final step in avoiding an unhealthy parenting style is to prevent the situations that lead you to adopt them. If you know lack of sleep is a problem, make sleep a priority. If your sleep deficit is unavoidable, avoid other stressors that will put you over the edge. Get a nap. Tell your children that you’re especially tired and need their help and definitely ask another adult to help you. Eliminate activities that contribute to stress and plan ahead so you can be at your best. Lay out shoes the night before and leave earlier than you need to for actiities. Review the rules with your children before you go to public places. For example, “If you beg for something in the store, we will leave immediately.” Then follow through.

Conclusion

Improving your parenting approach is a lifetime activity. Give yourself lots of grace for making mistakes! Pray, read Scripture, and talk to other parents about their struggles. You’ll find you’re in good company. But any effort you make to improve your parenting approach will pay off in improving your homeschool.

Which parenting approach do you revert to when you’re stressed? What misbehaviors are most likely to lead to that? What discipline strategy would you like to try going forward? Comment and let me know.

 

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Scheduling: Homeschooling, the First Year

Scheduling: Homeschooling, the First Year

A schedule or homeschool routine is a must for a new homeschooler. But it’s easy to take the wrong approach when it comes to scheduling. I chatted with our new homeschoolers on the podcast and Jolene shared her schedule with me for the blog.

Scheduling for First Year Homeschoolers #homeschooling #scheduling #newhomeschoolers

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New homeschoolers tend to make one of two mistakes when it comes to scheduling their homeschools.

Overscheduling

The first mistake and the most typical for new homeschoolers is to overschedule. They plan to read piles of books, tackle lots of curriculum-prescribed activities, and participate in lots of extracurriculars too. Mom may have a new baby, a toddler, and may even be working in or outside of the home. She has read numerous books on homeschooling philosophy and her picture of homeschooling becomes idealized. She wants to do it all. If she is wise enough to realize that she needs a schedule, she will begin to plan all of the things she needs and wants to do, quickly discovering that there either isn’t enough time for it all or that the schedule makes her dread homeschooling altogether.

“Homeschooling should give us more freedom and margin than the traditional educational route. If it doesn’t, something is wrong!”

The number of things that could be wrong with your homeschooling schedule are beyond the scope of this blog post. But I can say that you are most likely taking on too much or are trying to be perfect in your application of your choices.

No Schedule

The second mistake new homeschoolers make is to have no schedule at all. This type of homeschooler revels in the fact that her time is her own. She and the kids can stay up as late as they like and sleep in as late as they like. No day has to look like any other. This is especially true if you are enamored with the unschooling philosophy. Dislike for schedules may be one reason you decided to homeschool in the first place. While the overscheduled homeschooler feels burdened and stressed, the under-scheduled homeschooler feels lost. Eventually the freewheeling atmosphere of the unscheduled homeschooler will lead to discontent, unruly behavior, and a sense of failure.

As I describe both the overscheduled and under-scheduled homeschooler, I write from experience. I began my homeschooling adventure without any schedule at all. Rarely did I do any actual teaching. Neither did I accomplish anything of note in my home. I felt distracted and wasn’t happy with my freelance writing progress. When I discovered Managers of Their Homes, I moved to the opposite extreme. I scheduled absolutely everything, including time for sewing – a hobby that I wasn’t fully committed to. I had my babies on a schedule too, even though I have always been a nurse-on-demand mom. It was no wonder that my “new activity every 15 minutes” schedule failed miserably. I did not understand that there was a middle ground between being over- and under-scheduled. 

Jolene has a made a good start as a new homeschooler. She writes:

Since I haven’t started homeschooling yet, I don’t have a routine yet. My plan is to get the older kids off to school, breakfast, my morning clean up (unload dishwasher, wipe down counters, sweep kitchen floor, fold a load of laundry), then I’ll do our school. I honestly haven’t laid out that part yet, but am planning on Bible, read alouds, math and letter review/word building. 

How to Schedule as a New Homeschooler

New homeschoolers and those with little ones are most likely to succeed with a school routine, rather than a detailed schedule. A routine means that you do the same activities in order on most days. That means that you get up, have breakfast, do chores, do Bible time, do read alouds, and so on without concern for how long you spend on each of those activities. You can definitely have a general idea in mind for how much time you want to spend, but you will not be concerned if you spend more time reading out loud or if you need to spend a little bit more time cleaning to give you peace of mind. A routine allows you to keep order in your homeschool even if someone is sick, you overslept, or if you have an ornery student. As you gain experience in your homeschooling or as your children mature, you can schedule more and more of your homeschooling activities. Even when you are using a formal schedule, however, you want to include lots of margin and free time. How easily we forget that school students have time between classes, PE time, and recess. Teachers are able to take a break for the most part during these transition or free times. The more rigid the schedule, the more resistance you will get from not only your students but yourself.

How can you begin to create a homeschooling routine that works for you? First, record what you are already doing. Every hour, write down what you have generally spent your time doing. You will, of course, record planned activities and appointments throughout the week. Once you know your starting point, you are in a much better position to make small changes. For example, perhaps you are not doing chores before you begin your study time and this routine causes you anxiety later in the day. Begin to do a basic clean up after breakfast and take some time to assess whether or not that small change is an improvement. If so, you are ready to add another small change to your routine. If not, try, try again!

You will never have a perfect routine or schedule. Your children will grow, your circumstances will change, and what worked last month may not work this month. The goal is to adapt to your students, circumstances, and your own needs to make homeschooling something you look forward to, rather than dread. The older your children are, the more you can get them involved in suggesting changes to your routine. I’ve mentioned before that my teenagers asked me to start school an hour later in the morning. I acquiesced to that request and I think it works for us. They’re happy because they like to sleep later and I’m happy because I can get more work done before they are awake.

There is No One-Size-Fits-All Schedule

There is no one-size-fits-all schedule. If a homeschooling family you know gets all their schooling done before noon and that doesn’t work for you, go through your routine with pride. If you love having a detailed schedule and your friends only use a routine, enjoy what works for you without worrying. However, if your schedule or routine causes you anxiety, stress, or has you considering putting the kids in school, it’s time for one small change. You can do this!

Are you happy with your homeschool routine or schedule? If not, what small change will you implement this week?

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Gaps in Your Homeschool Education: Should You Be Worried?

Gaps in Your Homeschool Education: Should You Be Worried?

You started off with one math curriculum and switched. You taught history using unit studies and then switched to a chronoligical approach. You’ve been studying some science topics in depth and others you haven’t touched on. Should you be worried?

Gaps in your homeschool: should you be concerned?

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That is the subject of my podcast interview with Charlene Notgrass this week. She convinced me that you and I don’t need to worry about gaps. Here’s why:

Every education has gaps.

It isn’t possible to learn every aspect of every subject, regardless of how your child is being educated. Public school students have gaps, private school students have gaps, and homeschool students have gaps.

There is some information you won’t teach your child even if you use the best curriculum you can find. It just isn’t possible. Because that’s true, we have to decide what we will teach our children and what we won’t.

[Read Curriculum Paralysis: How to Decide What to Use This Year]

Gaps mean studying some subjects in depth.

Charlene discusses an amazing example of how her daughter invested enormous amounts of hours into a passion of hers. That passion continues to be an important part of her daughter’s life today. Had Charlene insisted on studying everything with a light touch, her daughter would have missed the life-changing opportunity that homeschooling allowed her.

That in-depth study should be directed to our children’s natural talent or bent. That means if our child is crazy about computers, we can spend an inordinate amount of time on this subject and less on reading classic books this child doesn’t enjoy.

[Read Teaching to Your Child’s Talent]

God fills the gaps.

Our children’s learning won’t end when they graduate from high school. They have time to keep learning. If we use our homeschooling years to instill a love of learning and teach our kids how to teach themselves, God will fill the gaps that He chooses to fill.

That doesn’t mean we want to send our children to college or a trade or even to homemaking without the skills they need. We must do our best to teach our kids to read, write, and calculate. If they struggle, we must get help for them, just as we would get help if they had a physical impairment.

[Read How to Work with Professionals as a Homeschooler]

Christian homeschoolers also need to be taught the faith. I believe an education in Bible (including memorization), theology, and apologetics are essential.

The responsibility for educating a child is daunting. That’s why we depend on God to fill the gaps. Throughout history, we see examples of men and women who didn’t have the education to be world changers and yet they were. After all, God used uneducated fisherman to change the world.

I have seen Him fill the gaps in my life as well. I hadn’t taken a course in world history in all my educational years. It was a gap that God filled gloriously with homeschooling. I have so loved learning history with my children. I didn’t take any courses in teaching, yet I have taught preschool through the college level in the past 21 years.  I don’t have a degree in English, yet I’ve worked as a freelance writer and have written language arts curriculum.

In the same way, God is faithful to fill the gaps in your child’s education, too. Cover your educational choices in prayer. Be diligent. Then trust God to do the rest.

What gaps in your own education has God filled in your life? Let me know in the comments.

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Curriculum Paralysis: Deciding Which Curriculum to Use This Year

Curriculum Paralysis: Deciding Which Curriculum to Use This Year

Do you have so many curriculum options that you don’t know what to use? That was the problem one of my readers had. I could relate. After all, the longer you homeschool, the more books you purchase, and the tougher the decisions can be. Here is how I’ve overcome this decision paralysis.

Curriculum paralysis

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If your main struggle is curriculum addiction, you’ll want to listen to the podcast I did on the topic. Sometimes we have a problem saying no to buying one more option. The more options we have, the more difficult it will be to decide what to do this year. I also did an episode on the questions you should ask when choosing curriculum. However, when you’ve already spent the money and your bookshelves are full, how do you decide? That’s what I want to address today.

Homeschoolers Who Love Options

As I considered this problem, I realized I have confronted it in many areas of my life. I am someone who wants to do it all. I want to write books in multiple genres. Truth be told, I’d love to be a Christian podcaster and speaker and not just a homeschool one. I’d love to write and speak about a variety of topics. I’d also like to teach in a co-op and maybe at the university again. I’d like to get more involved in homeschool activities and leadership.

There is a term for people like me. We have so many interests and we get depressed when we are told we have to choose one to focus on. We are called scanners, multipotentialites, Renaissance women, and polymaths. I think of myself as a Holly Hobby. In the past I felt bad about my habit of trying to do it all. It felt immature. It’s true that in trying to do it all, you rarely finish anything. That was discouraging and hurt my self-esteem. Then I read the book Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. She has dealt with many people like me and has some solutions for us. I am going to pull from one of her solutions to address the problem of curriculum paralysis. You can use it to deal with paralysis in other areas of your life as well.

What I am not going to say to my reader with curriculum paralysis is just as important as what I am going to say. I am not going to tell her she has to decide on one option and get rid of the rest. This is terribly depressing and discouraging to a Holly Hobby. It’s like telling her that she can choose one ride to go on at Disney World. No, she won’t be able to go on every ride and see every show, but she has to believe that she can when she enters the park in order to be happy. We know there’s no way she can do My Father’s World, Classical Conversations, and Tapesty of Grace at the same time. But telling her to choose just one for all time isn’t the right response.

Decide Which Curriculum to Use This Year

So here is the right response: schedule your curriculum. To begin, that means to decide which curricula you absolutely want to use this year. If you can tell yourself that you will use some of them next year, you’ll reduce some of the options for this school year.
How can you put something great off an entire year? By choosing curricula that really can wait without your children becoming too old for it. If it’s a history curriculum or something that isn’t strictly age-dependent, wait on it. For each, ask what’s the worst that can happen if you wait a year to use it.
Another way to decide which curriculum to use this year is to consider what’s most exciting to you. Take a look at your bookshelves and move the options you are most eager to use to the front. If you do this every year and there are books that are always at the back of the shelf, you’ve made a decision about what not to use, but in a less painful way. I have books that I have never used because of this process. While I regret that I haven’t used them, I know I made the right choice. I’ve been able to pass them along to homeschoolers who will want to use them.
Another way to limit your options for this year is to decide how many different curricula you think is reasonable to use for one subject (that includes all-in-one curricula that also covers the subject at hand). If your friend was using three math curricula this year for the same student, does that seem like too much? If it does, settle on a number that makes sense to you.
Next, ask yourself if using multiple curricula at once will make any of them less effective. For example, if you are doing poetry tea time with Brave Writer and poetry memorization with IEW and the Grammar of Poetry, your kids may not enjoy the relaxing and fun aspect of poetry tea time. They may end up hating poetry! This is the same issue with using a curriculum that is great because of short lessons. Stacking many curricula for the same subject will erase its advantage in motivating your children.
If you still can’t decide how many curriculum options to use for the same subject, ask your veteran homeschool friends — and not the ones who are always trying to impress. If you presented using My Father’s World, Classical Conversations, and Tapestry of Grace this year to your experienced homeschool friends, they would laugh. You can also ask your kids. Show them how much work they would be expected to complete each week for each subject and if they seem alarmed and not just reluctant, you’ll know you’re trying to teach too much at once.
Once you have decided on a number for each subject or for an all-in-one curriculum, go to your shelf that you’ve arranged according to excitement. For example, if you think using two Bible curricula this year is reasonable for you, go to your shelf and choose the two you’ve moved to the front as the most exciting options. Then, and this is very important, move the books you will not be using this year out of sight. I have a storage area in my basement for books I’m not using. It helps me to feel confident and to be less distracted when I don’t see those other options tempting me.

Schedule Curriculum for This Year

Once you know the materials you will teach this school year, decide how you’re going to schedule those options. I see three good choices.
First, choose the day or days of the week that you will use each. For example, some of my customers use a different language arts curriculum Monday through Thursday and then do Grammar Galaxy on Fridays. For some curriculum options, this means you will not finish it this year. Is that acceptable to you? It may be if it is a supplement, a fun curriculum, or something you plan to continue the following year. Create a schedule for which curriculum you will use on which days that your whole family can see. A schedule will help hold you accountable so you aren’t dragging something else out of storage.

Video web course with 5 lessons and worksheets, loop schedule templates, and exclusive FB group access!

A second option is to use a loop schedule for your curriculum. When I have explained loop scheduling at conferences, some people are confused. I’m going to try to make it clear, but if it isn’t, Proverbial Homemaker has a Loop Scheduling workshop. So maybe you have Fix It Grammar and Grammar Galaxy in the loop for 11:00 in your homeschool day. If you used Fit It Grammar the last time you did language arts at 11:00, you’d use Grammar Galaxy today at 11. Or, if last Friday you used Fix It Grammar, you’d use Grammar Galaxy this Friday. A loop schedule works well when your schedule is unpredictable and it allows you to fit in a number of options. You can loop more than one option, too. So maybe you want to loop your Kids Cook Real Food course, an art course, and a music appreciation course for a block on Fridays. You can use a schedule that hangs on the wall with pockets for activities. You would move the card for each activity back as you use it when looping. Alternatively, you can write your loop options on an index card and move a paper clip to mark which option is up next.

A final schedule option is to use one curriculum for part of the year — a quarter or semester. We tend to do this when we think a curriculum isn’t working, but this would be a planned change. The advantage of this is you keep things simple by just using one option at a time and you change about the time you and the kids are getting bored. The thing to keep in mind with this option is the need for continuity of subject matter. If you’re going to change math curriculum at the semester, you wouldn’t want to start at the beginning of the new book if the material has already been covered. On the other hand, the kids may not understand how to do the problems in the middle of the book if they haven’t seen how the material is handled at the beginning. For this reason, I don’t recommend changing certain curricula mid-year. If your kids are struggling with the material, changing mid-year is fine. It’s no problem to change Bible or history curriculum mid-year, for example. Even language arts can be changed mid-year, depending on the scope and sequence.
If you’re still feeling paralyzed, ask a verteran homeschooling friend to come over and go through this process with you. Verbalize why you want to use each curricula, and most likely you’ll know what to do, even if your friend says nothing.
One final thought. You are the teacher. People were homeschooling successfully before there was curriculum written specifically for homeschoolers. Your decision is not going to make or ruin your kids. If you are a reasonably consistent teacher and pour love into your homeschooling, your kids will do well.
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Goals and Devotions: Homeschooling, the First Year

Goals and Devotions: Homeschooling, the First Year

New homeschoolers often struggle to articulate their goals. They’re in there somewhere, but if they aren’t made clear, these new home educators are likely to be disappointed and discouraged.

Goals First Year HomeschoolingListen to the podcast

When I started homeschooling, I honestly wanted to feel like a superior mom. Isn’t that awful? I wanted to have obedient, eager-to-learn kids who would make me look good. My kids took care of that goal rather quickly. Instead, I learned I was an impatient, ineffective, disorganized mom who wasn’t cut out for homeschooling.

The good news about my failure is that I learned I needed God to homeschool. Growing closer to God also changed my goals. At first, one of my goals was to raise children who loved the Lord. I have since learned that I don’t have control over my children’s faith. My new goal is to share my faith with my children and pray for God to grow the seeds I’ve planted. Other goals for our homeschooling include developing close family relationships, inspiring a love of learning, and helping to prepare my children to do their best on college entrance exams. It’s a wonderful feeling that I feel I have met those goals at this point in my homeschooling.

Had I chosen goals of finishing a curriculum, having my kids love a certain curriculum or activity, or achieving a certain ACT score, I know I would have been disappointed.

Goals guide our homeschooling

My goals help me to make decisions when I anticipate obstacles. For example, I have been able to decide against certain curricula that includes busywork I know my children would hate. My goals help me decide to replace our regular Bible curriculum with discussion and prayer over sibling conflict. And my goals help me prioritize my kids’ study time for the ACT.

I review these goals with my kids. I want them to know what the priorities are, so God willing, they will share them. I would like to make the goals more visible this year by creating a sign for our school room. Having a copy in my planner will also help me keep them top of mind.

God helps us achieve our homeschool goals

My favorite false god has been my own strength. If I can succeed in my homeschooling goals myself, then I will get all the credit. The problem with this, of course, is that I carry all the responsibility for achieving the goals too. I have felt like my children’s faith, education, and relationship skills are all up to me. No wonder I’ve had periods of stress and burnout!

The good news is that it isn’t all up to me and it isn’t all up to you, either. Having time with the Lord when I can pray, read the Bible, and write out my thoughts has been critical to my ability to persevere in homeschooling. That time has never been 365 days a year consistent. It has varied in duration, time of day, and focus. But it has been a habit, nonetheless.

If I could change one thing about my homeschooling, it would be that I would have trusted the Lord more. I would have laid every burden, worry, and concern at the Lord’s feet, knowing that He heard me and would work everything together for our good. Because He has! Part of that trust for me would have been believing that God wanted to answer my prayers through the help of others. I often refused help or didn’t ask for it. I suffered frustration and defeat too often because of my self-determination.

New homeschoolers on the podcast

On the podcast this week, I got to catch up with Mai Lynn, Courtney, Erica, and Jolene about chores and meal planning. Jeannette caught up with me via email.

Chores went pretty well. Instead of going ahead and doing it because it was bothering me, I assigned jobs and they accomplished a lot most days. lol I didnt really get a hold of laundry yet. Meal planning did get a little better. knowing what I was going to make made dinner less stressful. I started cutting things and freezing it to prepare for meals.

We also chatted about their goals and faith life. Jeannette shared:

Some goals are to relax more and remember they are still young. We will focus on reading and character.

My faith goes up and down daily. One day I’m sure God will provide and I remind myself of all He’s done so far. Then other days I see no way and I wonder how it will all happen. But this journey so far definitely has given me more faith-filled days.

If you’d like to follow along with the homework I gave our new homeschoolers, grab your copy of The Organized Homeschool Life and do the devotions and goal challenges. Set achievable goals and schedule a time for you to spend with God, even if it doesn’t happen every day.

What are your goals for this homeschool year?

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Trust But Verify: My Homeschool Mom Guilt

Trust But Verify: My Homeschool Mom Guilt

If you have homeschool mom guilt, you’re in good company. We all do. Today I want to help you feel better by sharing just one example of my guilt. And it’s a good one.

Trust But Verify: My Homeschool Mom Guilt

You may have heard about my Quarterly Planner printable. I developed it at the end of one school year to motivate my kids to finish the year well. It worked so brilliantly that I decided to use it every quarter of every year. To provide extra motivation, I promised my kids that we would go out to eat when everyone had finished their work for the quarter.

The kids finished all their work right on schedule. I silently cheered for myself. This little motivational tool was all my idea, after all. Their planners had every box checked off. We had a wonderful time celebrating their achievement at a favorite restaurant.

There was just one little problem:

I hadn’t verified that they had done their work.

I think encouraging my kids to work independently is really important. I allow them to do their math and check their own answers, for example. They are also responsible for some of their own language arts, some Bible, and science. Science, literature/writing have built-in accountability because we do these subjects in our home-based co-op. I have honestly not had to remind them to do their work on these subjects. It’s always done.

[READ: CO-OP MOTIVATION]

So imagine my shock when I discovered that not one, but two of my kids hadn’t been doing their math. I was very, very unhappy with them. They had lied to me. They were disciplined for that. They had to complete the extra work in addition to their current workload and, of course, were not allowed to celebrate with us after the following quarter. We also had many Bible-based discussions about lying.

I was so unhappy about my kids’ behavior, but I was also very, very unhappy with me. I felt incredibly guilty that I had trusted their self-report and hadn’t verified it. I learned that I needed to always oversee their work and check it. I also learned in discussion with my kids why they hadn’t completed their math. Neither of them were understanding their curriculum. If I had talked to them about it sooner, I would have discovered the problem and addressed it. I changed curriculum for both of them and they have been on track ever since. I’ve verified that. 🙂

The moral of this story isn’t just trust, but verify. It’s also that every homeschool mom like every homeschooled child makes mistakes. Our mistakes are never the end of the world. In fact, they’re a good way of experiencing God’s grace anew. They keep us humble. They can draw us closer to others who can relate to our failings. They can even make us laugh.

If you’re feeling guilty, talk to God about it. Talk to your family about it. Talk to your friends about it. My friends at iHomeschool Network are admitting their homeschool mom guilt. My guess is you’ll feel a lot better after reading. Read their stories by clicking here or on the image below. If you’re really feeling brave, tell me your homeschool mom guilt story on Facebook.

Homeschool Mom guilt

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