5 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Homeschool Teacher
It’s amazing to think that I’ve been a homeschool teacher now for over 25 years. That’s right–John and I made the decision to homeschool when our son Cory was ready to start kindergarten. We’ve stayed true to that choice through all the ups and downs. And with ten kids (yes, I said ten!) there have been some trying times and long days. However, through it all, we thank God that we’ve been able to see the kids grow and thrive as we’ve educated them at home.
But there are days…
That’s why, if you’re a homeschool teacher, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. I know it can be difficult and that’s why I hope these 5 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Homeschool Teacher can help you find some inspiration and peace for those days when you feel discouraged or off track.
On hard days, this is what I do:
1. Think of my kids as adults and look back on our homeschooling with fondness.
My adult children are some of my best friends. Quite often, you’ll find us sitting around the dinner table playing board games on a Friday night. My oldest son, Cory is a children’s pastor at our church, my daughter Leslie is a missionary in the Czech Republic, and my son Nathan is a Christian author just starting his career.
I’m immensely proud of them. And I know that one of the reasons they are all successful, happy and living lives dedicated to the Lord is because of our choice to homeschool. All the years we invested in the one-on-one teaching times, reading as a family, and sharing our daily lives and faith with them has paid off. That is something that never fails to inspire me.
2. Read a book together that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.
One of the best things about the homeschool curriculum that we use from Sonlight is that it includes so many wonderful books. There isn’t a day that goes by without reading in our homeschool. Sometimes we are reading as a family, sometimes individually, and sometimes the children are reading to each other. Not only are we all learning together but we are building family bonds that will last a lifetime.
But don’t feel limited to just reading homeschool books. Read the classics like Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Read age-appropriate magazines and newspapers. Teach your children to read and understand food labels so they can make healthy choices as adults.
Teenagers especially can gain great insights from reading about current events online and being taught how to look at the reporting of those events critically. They can also find where to look for the truth in the various different sources. This can help them form strong defenses as they enter into a world that is quickly slipping into more and more ambiguity.
3. During dinner have your kids share what they’ve learned with their dad or another family member.
For part of our homeschool years, my husband John has worked from home. While that has been a huge blessing, he is still working during that time and often in another area of the house. Being able to share what they’re learning with him is something they have always looked forward to.
As a working author (who also speaks and travels through-out the year) there are times when I’ve been away and get the joy of having the kids share with me what they’ve learned. Being able to teach someone what you’ve learned also reinforces that subject. It’s a win-win and a great way to build your child’s self-confidence.
4. Help a new homeschool mom. It inspires me and makes me realize how far I’ve come.
I love helping others. It gives me joy and a sense of purpose. So many others have fed into me through-out the years and I remember how much it has meant to me. When I meet a new homeschool mom at a conference now I recognize that look in her eyes–the look that says “Help!” That’s why I try to share as much as I can about how I’ve made homeschooling work for our family.
But the truth is, I can’t help everyone individually. I’m only one person. Luckily, I found a way to reproduce myself–through writing. Through my books, I can reach so many more people. My friend Kristy Clover and I joined together and wrote Homeschool Basics. We dish out practical help on getting started and staying the course. Homeschool Basics will remind you that the best homeschooling starts with the heart. It’s packed with ideas to help you push aside your fears and raise kids who will grow to be life-long learners.
Kristi and I believe that homeschooling can transform your life, your home, and your family. Mostly, we believe homeschool can truly prepare your children for the life God’s called them to live.
5. Take your homeschool outside the house: serve in the community, join a Bible Study together.
I started a local Teen MOPS group when my three oldest children were still young. At times, I worried that I wasn’t doing enough teaching. That maybe I wasn’t the best homeschool mom when I brought them on errands with me to serve in our community. But what I learned as I’ve gotten older (and so have my kids) is that they were learning–they were learning what it means to serve God and surrender your life to His call.
We are still serving teen moms and their families. But now, we all help. Every week we get the opportunity to love on teen mothers and their children at our church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Seeing my children serving together and finding joy and purpose in that has taught me homeschooling works. We have made loving and serving others part of our education. And of all the things we hope to teach our children, knowing and loving God–and others–should be our number one goal. If we have done that, we have taught them well.