Hannah & I

As the final installment of this little Top 10 list of mine, here are the final top three things I’ve learned homeschooling my 16-year old daughter the past three years:

#3. I am more patient than I realized. Three years ago, the idea that I was a patient person was almost comical. I’m okay with admitting it wasn’t a personality trait high on my list. But then I started homeschooling and I discovered how much capacity for patience I really had. Or perhaps more accurately put, God was so kind to give me many opportunities to exercise and grow patience within me. So don’t think that you could never do something, it just might be the exact opportunity God desires for you to do, so he can grow a specific characteristic in you!

#2. God’s plans are far bigger and far reaching than mine. When we decided to homeschool, it was to serve a few purposes and with the understanding it was for a season – a minimum of two years, possibly three and we would reassess. Little did we know, God had planned all along to use our choice to homeschool to prepare our daughter to move 2,000 miles away three years later. Not one who liked change, our daughter nervously ventured into a whole new realm and group of people in the homeschool community. Very soon, she began to see that change wasn’t the enemy. She tried new things. She made new friends. God even used her to be the first to bring to light His future desires for us to move cross country. Rather than be fearful to leave the only place she knew, she was energized. Fast forward two years now that we’ve just moved cross country–we are blown away by how she’s freely stepped out without hesitation into unknown territories that we never dreamed she would. God knew what was needed three years ago in preparation for what He had in store for her this year. Never underestimate God’s purposes when he nudges you to do something!

#1. Time is limited and I need to make the most of every moment. I have been blessed to have a close relationship with my daughter, but I had no idea how much closer we would become through the homeschooling process. Due to our extra time together, I had even more opportunities to speak into her life to help her grow and learn through some difficult situations and challenges. What a blessing it has been to have the opportunity to closely watch her grow tremendously these past three years. I continually thought about how soon the day she leaves for college will come. I kept in the forefront of my mind daily that my window of time to speak into her life and help her soar in the safety net of our home was dwindling. I strive to make every day count!

Whatever your day entails with your children, make every moment matter. Our job as parents is critical — don’t let a day go by without speaking into your child’s life!

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Continuing with my Top 10 List of “What I’ve Learned Homeschooling” my 16-year old daughter the past three years, we pick up with #6:

#6. My daily quiet time before school began was crucial in keeping me fueled and grounded for the day. Prior to homeschooling, I had the privacy and quietness of our home for nice long quiet times after my daughter left for school and hubby went to work. When I began homeschooling, solitude obviously went by the wayside. It took some adjustment, but I forced myself to get up early, even though I’m not a morning person, to get my quiet time done before she awoke. If I didn’t, it showed up in how I handled and managed the day of teaching in addition to everything else. I learned even more how desperately I needed God’s grounding every day!

#5. God truly does help me accomplish what I didn’t think I could. I went into homeschooling with little preconceived expectations and found out quickly the massive undertaking ahead of me. As high school hit, the responsibility increased. I never wanted to be a hindrance to her education holding her back from achieving her long-term goals. The weight of that responsibility overwhelmed me. Many days I cried out to God feeling incredibly inadequate as a teacher. Continually, God came through! At times He gave me just the right words to say to explain a problem, other times He directed me to a resource that could help or led me to a person who could direct me further, and all the time I felt His strength carrying me along as He and I accomplished each day together!

#4. I learned further what truly mattered. The dynamic of my daily routine turned upside down. Freelance writer mom became principal and teacher mom. Interruptions replaced inspiration. Teaching replaced tranquility. School preparation replaced planned writing. I had to re-evaluate my priorities. I’m a mom first. Although hard to accept, God desired me to set aside things I was passionate about for a season, to be available for this journey with my daughter that carried far more importance!

Stay tuned …

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With my homeschooling career coming to a close, I thought it only fitting to do a Top 10 List of “What I’ve Learned Homeschooling” my 16-year old daughter the past three years. Today will be part one.

#10. Learning about my daughter’s learning style is invaluable whether I homeschool or not. The summer before we started homeschooling, I read what to do and not to do manuals, gave my daughter learning style assessments, took a few myself to discover my teaching style, and analyzed curriculum to see what fit with her learning and my teaching styles. It was an eye opening experience as I realized more about both our personalities than I didn’t already know. It improved our communication and relationship just having those tools to work from, let alone helped make our homeschooling experience more successful. I remember wishing I had known that information sooner as it would have helped in daily parenting decisions.

#9. Expanding my communication skills is critical to effectively teach. I’ve always thought I was a great communicator … that was until I started homeschooling. I would explain how to do an algebraic equation, but she didn’t get it. It made sense to me, so I explained it again the same way. She still didn’t get it. I learned that communicating information is far more than repeating the same thing over and over. How my mind processes information is different from hers. So I had to take time to dig deeper to discover how I could explain it in such a way that it would make sense to her and the way she thinks.

#8. Research is my friend. There were many times where I didn’t know how to breathe more life into a historical fact, how to push through a learning hurdle, or know whether I was doing it right. My response was to research, research, RESEARCH! I found countless articles, resources, and encouragement on the internet that provided me exactly what information I needed. I was amazed at how much I learned, on many levels, through the process of teaching my daughter.

#7. Being a teacher and parent is a tough line to find. When difficult situations arose with assignments or projects, I found it to be a hard line to tow between teacher/principal and parent. At times I had to stand firm as the teacher and other times I let the parent in me rule. In looking back, I would say I’ve learned that in homeschooling, you are a parent first, then a teacher. Being their teacher is very important, but not to the detriment of your relationship with your child. Some days were a struggle to keep a good balance!

Stay tuned  …

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