Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dealing with focus issues in homeschooling

So this post is probably going to be quite different than what you were thinking.  The focus issues I'm talking about here are ahem....mine! Not the students, the teacher. 

Let me explain.   I can honestly say that since we decided to educate our children at home, we haven't looked back.  I have no desire to send them to school nor do they want to go. We all love it. We truly love being home together and learning together. You can ask my kids anytime, I'm not speaking for them ;)

To say that everyone "doesn't look back" or have doubts, would not be correct.  If you are considering homeschooling and have occasional doubts or if you are currently homeschooling and wonder if you are doing the right thing, that is totally normal. I have had several of my fellow homeschool mommies have seasons where they question their decision.  In fact, I think it is quite healthy to take it a year at a time, heck  - a day at a time and reevaluate things.  

All that to say, we are in this for the long run. However, let's not confuse our steadfast desire to homeschool with saying that it's easy or that I always know what I am doing or that I am always the most patient person on the planet.  This is not the case, but we are committed.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Focus.  Throughout the day, I hear myself reminding the girls to focus and get back on task at whatever they are working on, reading, etc.  But, even MORE often, do I find myself having to refocus and remember what my purpose is during those moments.  I'm their teacher.  I'm the one responsible for creating an environment for learning as well as a love and passion for learning. If I'm continually "checking out", that effects them more than I probably know.

The computer at my desk and the phone within reach ever tempt me. My mind goes on and on: "Maybe I could just send one quick email or check my FB messages.  I really should get a couple loads of laundry done. Oh man, this house is a mess, I need to get cleaning. I haven't talked to so and so forever, maybe I should call."  On and on my mind wanders. Distraction after distraction.

I constantly have to pull myself back together and FOCUS. Yes, the beauty of homeschooling is flexibility and I'm not saying I should be glued to their side, but truly being where I am for those moments is crucial.

Erica, at Confessions of a Homeschooler said it best:

"...the reality of it is that homeschooling is your job.  It's your obligation.  It's your calling.  You would't show up to work late, unprepared, and procrastinating the whole day.  Well, you might, but you'd be fired.  
If you're reading this and you are a homeschooling parent, then homeschooling is your job.  Treat it as such.  Plan your schoool year, get ready for your day, show up on time, and be ready to go.  From 8am-3pm (or whatever your hours are) you are a teacher.  You're not a Facebooking-friend calling-email checking-tweeting-errand runner...
...I've committed to homeschooling our children.  And so even when I don't feel like it.  I do it.  I'm in charge of our children's education and discipleship and that's not something that can be pushed aside because I'm feeling lazy or unmotivated.
Homeschooling is your ministry, your family is your ministry.  Fulfill the calling God has gien you.  Be committed.  Be diligent.  Even when it's hard.  Even when you don't feel like it.    

Thank you Erica! That was SO the kick in the pants that I needed.

I would be kidding myself (and you) if I said my kids didn't notice my occasional  wandering mind and body.  MY focus (or lack of) truly sets the tone of our school day.

I can tell an immense difference on the days that I am focused and committed to helping them and being available for them.  They literally thrive and the day goes much more smoothly. 

Although the laundry, dishes, emails and phone calls to tend to will ALWAYS be there, the years that I am blessed to be called not only mother, but teacher, by my children will not.  

Now, excuse me as I refocus!

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