Mistake #10.They strive for the approval of men. Many homeschool moms make the mistake of comparing their school or kids with the public or private school down the street or their homeschool friends’ kids. God created each of your children for a specific purpose in his generation. Your job is to help each of your children find his specific calling, discover what he lacks to pursue it, and then equip him with what he needs to fulfill that calling. Don’t be so concerned with obtaining “approval” that you miss hearing from God what He wants your children to do.
For most of our homeschooling years, we did not have the luxury of spending large amounts of time meeting up with other homeschoolers. In the first three years of homeschooling 2 daughters, 2 more children were added to our home. As soon as these latter ones were ready to begin school (another four years), a 5th addition arrived. Now, another 4 years later, youngest is ready to begin school formally while the middle ones have taken on grade school work and the second child recently joined the oldest as a high schooler. This situation hardly left us time for frequent support group meetings. For obvious reasons, socializing was hardly something we had to seek out. The number of our children as well as the immediate community we found ourselves in (church setting or neighbourhood) presented much opportunities for outside contact. Support for me was definitely something that could have been welcomed. And the Lord lovingly provided these in the seasons they were needed.
Thus, we were not as in touch with other homeschoolers or schooled kids so as to end up comparing our education (or extra-curricular activities) with theirs. We had a basic plan and we just plodded along. Besides, I always knew that as homeschoolers, I had, at least, eight years prior to high school to teach the kids what they had to learn.
The one angle from which I could pay attention to the “mistake” quoted above is from the point of view of comparison within our not so small circle itself. With a path marked out by the older ones, I could easily fall prey to evaluating the younger ones based on the standard the former has established. Or, I could worry that the real mistakes I’ve committed as an inexperienced homeschooling mom/parent could no longer be undone with the earlier kids.
Then, I have to remember that the Lord assigned me my number of children and they came at His designated time. Surely He allowed them to come at whatever season of my life they came. And each of them are special and unique to Him. Indeed, as steward of these HIS children, my job is to ensure that even as I am made aware of their heart’s orientation or their God-given disposition and potential skills, that I am here to guide and come alongside them as the Lord Himself continues the work He has begun in all of us.
Seeking approval has to do with measurement using certain man made standards. And our world is thus oriented. We compete, we take tests, we even break our own record. Each of my children was given an Apgar score prior to being laid into my arms! Certainly there is a place for this. Evaluation is necessary to ensure everything is normal, to measure progress, and in order for there to be improvement. But it need not be the thing to drive us, especially not in our homeschool. Otherwise, we would be always be second guessing our choice to educate at home or even our choice of curricula.
I recall when my son joined his first aquathlon (swim then run). As the starter’s pistol went off, it created a havoc that made the participants look like koi fish in a pond scrambling to catch the most bite. When the race was over, I asked my son why it seemed as if he was taking his time when everybody else was fighting to get ahead. He was swimming his “left, breathe, right, breath” stroke while some of the boys hardly went up for air. “I just wanted to let everybody go on so I can enjoy swimming. It was so relaxing that way,” he replied sheepishly. And it didn’t really matter. To me, he had won. He put his heart in weeks of training. He’s now swimming so well with great form. He finished the race. He did his best. And this son had this God-given nature. He was just being himself. The self that I’m supposed to spur on instead of try to change just so he measures up.