The other day I had a conversation with another homeschool mom. The conversation drifted to homeschooling high school. We talked about getting into college, scholarships, and a variety of other things. I hope that when we were done talking, she was encouraged.
I find that many moms of high school students have put a lot of pressure on themselves to have high achieving students. They want their kids to get full ride scholarships because they have read that colleges are looking for homeschoolers. They want them to get into the military academies because they have heard that the academies accept homeschoolers (they do). They want their kids to magically find their passion, and even though they have put their kids into all kinds of activities, their kids still flounder.
All of those goals are well and good. They are even possible. We have all read the stories on the internet about the students who attend college for free with multiple scholarships. We want this for our children.
I want to ask you a question. Do your children want this for themselves?
I think if I had been asked this question 7 years ago I would have answered that of course they want it. They just don’t know that they want it. I am here to make sure that they get it and they like it.
I had set the goals for my children based upon what I wanted for them. There is a big difference between I want my child to go to the Naval Academy and my child wants to go to the Naval Academy. On a smaller scale, there is a big difference between I want my child to major in math and my child wants to major in math. (Ask me how that turned out.)
I think this is easy to do and an easy trap to fall into. We homeschooling mothers have a lot invested in our children. We face a lot of a challenges and many times I think, if we are honest with ourselves, we wrap our self worth around the successes of our children. If our children are amazing our friends and neighbors, it is because of all that we have done for them.
The trouble starts when our kids aren’t amazing our friends and neighbors. What then? What haven’t we done correctly? Homeschooled children are supposed to be many steps ahead of their peers. That is what we tell ourselves, right?
I think this comes back to my question. What do your children want?
Some children seem to have it all together. They are driven. They find their gifts and talents early. One of the lessons that I have learned over the years is that these kids would have still done well if they had been in public school. As homeschoolers we don’t want to believe that. We want to believe that it is the homeschooling that made them this way. That is why we homeschool, right? Because it gives our children the opportunity to be amazing. And it does. But what we don’t see in the magazines are the children who aren’t winning the big scholarships. The children who haven’t found their passion. The teens who aren’t sure what they want to do. Some children take longer. What do we do then? Are we failures at homeschooling?
No. We are not. I think many times we have set goals for our children that are our goals not theirs. This is going to cause nothing but frustration as our children fight against the tide because our goal is not what they want for themselves.
I encourage you to set attainable goals for your homeschool. Make the goals for yourself. I set a goal for myself this past year to focus more on history. I would make sure it was done, and I would discuss it with them at least once a week. This was a challenging goal for me because history is my least favorite subject. The goal was mine. Yes, the kids had to do their work, but that is their job. I didn’t make a goal that they would love history. I didn’t make a goal that they would become history buffs and amaze their neighbors with their knowledge of the Civil War. It would have been nice if that happened. For the record, it didn’t. However, I do think we did a good job this year with history. No one hated it which in my book is a win.
I am sure you have heard that saying about eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same goes for homeschooling. Remember that homeschooling is a long journey. Set small goals for yourself along the way and reward yourself when you achieve them.
I hope that you have had a rewarding school year!