10 Things Homeschooling Has Taught Me … About Myself
I remember rubbing my belly fondly when I was pregnant with my first child and confidently telling someone that I was well prepared for parenthood because I had babysat so much. Then once the 24/7 care of a little person for whom I would give my very life arrived, the enormity of the responsibility hit and I realized how little I really did know about this whole parenthood thing.
Well, I’ve found the same to be true with homeschooling. Since I’ve been involved with the homeschool community for 27 years now—Yikes, that makes me feel old!—I’ve come to realize that while I knew a lot about homeschooling and was an expert on what it was like from the student end of things, there was still so much to learn as I transitioned into the parenting end of the homeschool spectrum. Here are ten things that I’ve learned about myself so far:
1. I’m not as patient as I thought I would be
Before I had kids, I thought I was VERY patient. I remember thinking about my mom’s lack of patience from time to time and vowing that I would be different. And then reality set in. After my third child was born I really came face to face with the fact that children have a way of revealing lurking impatience. I’m not as perfectly patient as I first thought. Thankfully, homeschooling has given me ample opportunity to grow in this area.
2. Homeschooling provides character lessons for me too
Parenting in and of itself is character building. Homeschooling merely amplifies this and provides daily—no, hourly—opportunity to practice what I teach. The Holy Spirit is always quick to convict me as I carefully train my children and work on their character development. Lessons for them become lessons for me. My children recognize my character flaws and sometimes point them out, which gives further opportunity to practice humility. Growth isn’t always comfortable, but it sure is good.
3. I’ve found it to be easier than I thought
My parents always delighted in learning alongside us. The power of dialogue and pursuing topics together has become a natural, everyday occurrence around here. As we’ve encouraged and cultivated curiosity it is amazing to see how easily we’ve slipped into real-life learning as a family. It’s as simple as asking/encouraging questions, pursuing answers, and sharing our discoveries with each other.
4. I’ve found it to be harder than I thought
When you are on the child end of things, you never recognize the amount of work and dedication that mothers put into raising and educating their children. I was no exception. I learned that homeschooling isn’t always effortless and easy. It takes discipline and a lot of hard work. Once again, I imagined myself far more disciplined than reality revealed. I’ve had to focus, close down distractions, and set about the time-consuming work of prayerfully considering how to best teach my children, and then actually do it.
5. I’m still “cookie-cutter” prone
One of the perks of homeschooling is that you get to escape the one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter mold that traditional school most often provide. I’ve waxed eloquent on this for years. But through parenting in general and homeschooling in particular, I’ve discovered that I’m still tempted to lump all of my children into the same mold. Sometimes I hold tightly to something because it worked for me growing up. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that while the first two may have had a similar developmental trajectory, the third boy is altogether different. I’m thankful for the daily reminders that each of my children are unique.
6. I need to set goals
I’ve confirmed two things in recent years: One, I’m easily distracted, and two, I need to set goals to keep me on track. I use my semester goal-setting sheet to write down academic, character building, spiritual, and physical goals that I have for each of my children. I can’t major on everything at one time, so it has been helpful for me to focus on a few things for each child each semester, and use that as a benchmark to stay on track.
7. I desperately need to rely on the Holy Spirit
Speaking of unique personalities and learning styles, patience, personal character growth needs, distraction, and the need for discipline, I’ve learned how necessary it is to seek the Holy Spirit for specific direction in everything I do in life and specifically when it relates to how we raise and educate our children. God cares about the nitty-gritty details of our lives and wants to provide direction and provision. I simply need to ask and listen.
8. I’m stronger than I imagined
While homeschooling has revealed many of my flaws, it has also showcased how the Holy Spirit is at work. I’ve discovered that I am far stronger than I imagined. You’ll regularly find me muttering under my breath, “If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again. Lord, please help!” and then tackling the challenge at hand.
9. I’ve learned more than I imagined.
I’ve heard many a homeschool mom talk about how much they learned during their homeschool years. I can now testify to how true this is personally and tell you that it is exhilarating. True education never ends, and for the homeschool mom it goes into hyper-drive!
10. I’m amazed by the rewards.
While I always knew I wanted to homeschool, I’m continually amazed at how rewarding it can be. I love to take middle-of-the-day bike rides with the kids and watch the string of bikes ahead of me while listening to the giggling girl right behind me. I marvel that I get to spend each day with them, learning along side them, training them, and preparing to launch them into all that God has for them. I rejoice at the glimpses of fruit in our lives as we travel the challenging paths of learning and living together 24/7. I’m amazed and excited to see what else God has in store for us.
Heather Haupt delights in the adventure of learning alongside her husband and four children! Heather flourished being taught at home herself and, from an early age, advocated for homeschooling in radio, TV, and newspapers. She graduated summa cum laude from ASU in 2001, a year after marrying Rich, the love of her life. Drawing on her unique perspectives in biology and as a homeschool graduate who is now in the trenches educating her four children, Heather inspires parents to pursue a loving, holistic, and developmentally appropriate approach to education. Her heart is to encourage and equip parents toward intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. Rich and Heather joined the Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE) board in 2012 and are now serving as the AFHE Support Group Liaisons.
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