I admit it: I’m a wimp.
At least I used to be… “Homeschool will be a breeze!” I thought. “I have my degree in Early Childhood Education. This is right up my ally. And getting to have my girls all day? What a blessing!”
Yes. It’s a blessing. But little did I consider, it could also be the end to my sanity. (Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending coming. Just bear with me.)
Homeschooling my oldest child has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in my motherhood experience thus far. But because of the challenge I almost gave up.
Remember my words for 2017? Follow through… so quitting right now isn’t an option.
I’ve learned so much about my Bel. What motivates her, what makes her shut down, her interests and abilities, etc. This child is NOT self motivated. She is easily flustered and distracted. She is quite smart and catches on to things quickly, but can only handle a small amount of new information every day before turning her brain off and checking out.
Let me just say, that if I didn’t have dear friends who also homeschooled their children, I would have given up a long time ago. But this most recent battle between me and Bel had me questioning this entire choice Justin and I made.
“I hate conflict, Justin!” I said one afternoon on the brink of tears. “I can handle discipline in regards to being her Mother, but I HATE having to push her and force her to do her school. It puts us at odds all the time. This is NOT what I imagined it would be…” And in his wisdom and gentleness, my husband said, “Let’s talk with Pamela and see if she can offer any advice. Then let’s look into a different curriculum that might meet Bel’s needs more. But if you are really done, we can look into other schooling options as well.”
Wow. I love my husband. He’s so kind and patient with me when I’m a tightly wound canon ball of emotions.
So we talked to Pamela and her advice made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!
“Do you have a rewards system in place?” She asked. “um… not really.” I replied. But I was really thinking: I just feel like she should do it because I say to do it!
So my sweet friend enlightened me to the wisdom of REWARDS. I knew this. I’d like to say I knew this… I mean that’s such a DUH thing, right? Even adults will work harder when you dangle a reward in front of them. How much more would a child?
Well folks, our new system has changed the tone of school around this house..for the better! For each assignment the girls complete, they get a sticker. Five stickers = 1 prize from the bin. When they reach 100 stickers, we will go out and celebrate as a family (something super fun–trampoline park, six flags, water park, dinner and a movie, etc.). And part of the beauty is, I decide the length of the assignments and the value of the sticker. So as she progresses, earning a sticker may be harder (but we haven’t gotten to that point yet).
All that being said, homeschooling is not for wimps. And with the help of my patient husband, my wise friends, and the strength of Christ, I am slowly working my way out of wimpyville. But pray for me, I know this is just the beginning…