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The Home Educator's Challenge

image of a mother teaching her child

As a home school parent, you have dedicated yourself to the task of educating your child. Your sacrifice to ensure that your child gets the best education possible can produce excellent results. A child's enjoyment of learning improves when his parents are involved and interested. Providing individual attention can also enhance the educational progress of the child. Parental participation assures that the child has access to a proper role model for his spiritual and emotional development. The overall education process should be much more stable and effective when enhanced by the leadership of parents.

Indeed, trying to educate a child in the best way possible is a noble and responsible act. Some parents, however, find themselves knee-deep in home education; a few are neck-deep and seeking a way out.

Unfortunately, day-to-day pressures and difficulties often hinder the teaching process or stop it altogether. What happens when everything is not going smoothly, when pressures to get housework done increase, and when the children get more and more rambunctious and patience becomes a forgotten virtue?

The easy answer is to quit teaching your children at home. In some instances that may be the only option. Yet for many home educators the best move is to first sit down and evaluate the situation.

Examine why you are teaching your children at home. Also, examine the pros and cons of homeschooling, reassuring yourself that the benefits outweigh the problems. Be honest with yourself. Both you and your husband should sit down and look at your reasons for homeschooling. Do not think about why your friends are homeschooling. Think about what prompted you to start. You may want to list your reasons so that when things become difficult you can review them and be encouraged. Knowing your purpose should enable you to accomplish your goal.

Perhaps you started homeschooling because of the ineffectiveness of the public schools and their humanistic influences. Or maybe you found that no sound Christian schools existed in your area. A few parents have decided to teach their children out of necessity because they travel during the school year. Many other people are homeschooling because they believe that it is the most effective way to "train up a child the way he should go" (Prov. 22:6). Whatever your reasons, write them down.

Now that your reasons have been firmly established or re-established, consider what makes homeschooling difficult. Parents must struggle with finding time to prepare for each day's lessons and often skimp on the time spent. Then when the children have problems or ask questions, the frustrated homeschool parent must take valuable time to research the answer while the children lose interest. Their disinterest often leads to discipline problems, which changes your role from teacher to disciplinarian. Even though preparation does initially take some time, it will, in fact, save you time later. There is no substitute for being prepared.

Because of busy schedules and often having to teach more than one child, the homeschool teacher must consider grouping activities together. Older children can often help younger children and learn valuable skills and information at the same time.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Call the publisher and talk with someone about how a concept or skill should be taught. Do not suffer in silence.

Many times it is easy to become so involved with your own problems that you forget others have the same kinds of problems. Encourage other home educators. Share ideas and lessons you have learned. It is more difficult to get depressed when you are constantly encouraging others.

When you feel like cutting corners, remember that it is your child's education that will suffer in the long run. The seeds of planning, preparing, organizing, and determining to stick to the purpose will produce blessed benefits.

So the next time you get frustrated and discouraged, not only re-examine your purpose, but also remember I Chronicles 28:20, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. "

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