CM 26: Audioblog- Cheli Guthrie How a Homeschool Crisis Restored My Sanity
CM EP Cheli Guthrie Blog Reading
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Cheli Guthrie -
Hello, my name is Cheli Guthrie and I blog at ThePlantedTrees.com about Charlotte Mason in a practical way.
A couple of years ago, I had a panic attack about homeschooling. A storm of uncertainty and despair rained down on me. Doubts began to take over my thoughts. Fear began to paralyze me. Will my children be prepared for college? What if they don't go to college? Will they be prepared for that possibility? What if I forget to teach them something they needed to know, and it ruins their life? What if we should be studying Chinese, like that other homeschool family is? Should I add five more subjects to our day? It seems like we do way too little. Should I get rid of some subjects? Our day seems too long.
Doubts and fear about our homeschool led me to look for new curriculum imitating other homeschoolers, defaulting to a public-school mindset, and questioning everything as not good enough. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. This line of thinking was driving me insane. Like a dog chasing its tail, or a cork bobbing on the water, I had no direction for our homeschool. I had no clear-cut goals. I had nothing to direct our studies except external curriculum and comparisons to what others were doing.
What do I do now?
I found my answer in my Bible reading one morning. In James chapter 1, verses 6 through 8 it says, For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, for that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
In front of me, in black and white, was exactly the problem with our homeschool. I had doubts about what I was doing, and if I was capable of doing it. I was being driven and tossed about by every new wind of homeschooling that came along. I was double-minded. I was unstable. And because of this, there was no way our homeschool would receive any blessing from the Lord.
The Lord can't work with wishy-washy. He can't work with doubt. The need to restore sanity and peace to my mind and our homeschool forced me to my knees in prayer. And to develop a goal for my children's education. Goal setting has been the single best thing I've ever done for our homeschool. No matter the path we take in our homeschool, I know the treasure that I want waiting at the end.
Making goals allows me to focus everything we do. To test, and see if our routine, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, all support and further the goals I've made for our homeschool. God can work with goals. He can thrive with direction. He can bless that type of homeschool.
When I spent time meditating on the end goal, I developed three main goals that would drive all that we did. If I achieved these three things with my children, I will consider myself a success.
Number one, love God and love others. There's a reason Jesus said this was the Cliff Notes version of the Bible. In all that I do, I try to think about how I can help my children to love God and love other people more and more. Love, kindness, patience, gentleness, are much needed in our world. I want my children to be the next generation to pass that on to others while growing in their own love and relationship with God. I want them to know the Bible, so they can know and love Him. I want them to be exposed and interact with as many different races, cultures, and ideologies as possible, so they can know and love their fellow man, who are made in His image.
Number two, know how to learn. I think a lot of homeschool parents panic about making sure their children know everything they need to know. In all honestly, this is a crazy goal. No one knows everything they need to know at the age of 18 when they graduate high school. In fact, it's laughable, if you think about it. My fears and doubts that my children might not know something they need is completely true. They will absolutely come across things they need to know that they do not. I did. You did. Everyone who has ever lived has done so. The key is make sure they know how to learn, how to find information, how to understand that information, and how to connect the dots to previous information. That is the skill that is much more doable and beneficial.
Number three, be effective communicators. Whatever job, profession, or calling our children have, they will need to be able to communicate with someone about something. All of my kids have vastly different goals for what they want to do with their lives. A firefighter, a mommy, and a preschool teacher. But all of their plans require communication. I want my children to be good, concise writers, as well as someone who can speak well to a group of people. I want them to be able to communicate their feelings and needs to friends and family, seasoned with love and respect.
Those are my big three, as I call them. The three goals that drive all of our homeschool decisions and curriculum choices. I have direction now. I can look at new curriculum, or another homeschool parent's choices, and decide if that will achieve my big three for my children. If the answer is yes, I look a little closer. If the answer is no, I can walk away without feeling anxiety or worry.
I don't feel out of control or like I'm stuck on a roller coaster of insanity anymore. Now, it's your turn. Take some time to really think about what your children would look like and be like if your homeschool is a success. Write those goals down. You may have three, four, five, or just one or two. Use those goals to bring peace and sanity to your thoughts. When doubt or fear creeps in, read your goals and remember the prize that waits at the end. Don't be swayed.
Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in 2020. I will be at all seven Great Homeschool Conventions, speaking as part of the Charlotte Mason track. Go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com to find one near you.
If you want more information on what was shared in today's podcast, go to homeschooling.mom for the show notes. Also, don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or Google Play so you never miss an episode. Until next time.
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