07. June 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: God, Uncategorized · Tags: ,

God has a way of speaking to me each year through the workshops and speakers at the Virginia Homeschool Convention. The message I heard repeatedly this year centered on expectations:

  • my expectations of my children and myself;
  • expectations for how our homeschool day should run;
  • the impact of unmet expectations;
  • redefining expectations.

Author and keynote speaker Gary Thomas used an analogy with cars to highlight the way our expectations may impact our attitude: a Geo Prism vs. a Mercedes-Benz. For someone who has been walking for miles, a Geo Prism is going to look pretty appealing. But someone else may be very disappointed, if they were expecting a Mercedes-Benz. In another instance, he was surprised to find a rental car agent had upgraded him to another (much cooler) vehicle at no additional charge. The agent had asked him if he wanted to upgrade. He reluctantly declined because of the extra charge it would place on the organization paying for his trip. When he went out to pick up his car, he found the agent had upgraded him anyway and it made his day. His expectations affected his attitude.

In another session, the speaker spoke of cultivating an environment that sets the tone for learning: starting the day by reading Proverbs 2 or calling on God to open our minds to learn, enjoying beautiful classical music at the start of our day, or lighting a candle to signify God’s presence with us as we learn. I know I often feel like I am already behind before we even start our school work and put more emphasis on getting through the next chapter or unit.

WIth homeschooling, things don’t always run according to plan: the kids don’t learn as quickly; my house is messy; our day gets off schedule; we hit a wall with a particular subject; mom (aka the teacher) gets sick or doesn’t feel well, etc. This has been one of my most frustrating years of homeschooling and I will tell you there have been moments when I have been ready to give up. But God has called us to homeschool, and I know He will carry us through this season.

Looking ahead, I am going to spend some time redefining my expectations. I received some great ideas and resources this weekend:

  • Plan for interruptions. Just as I would tell someone looking to eat healthier, figure out how you are going to handle interruptions and plan for them. Life happens. Learn to make adjustments so you can stay on track. For our family, we school year-round and take breaks when we need.
  • Determine the goal (for the day, for the school year). One speaker suggested having a full plan and an abbreviated plan: know what you want to accomplish for a particular day, and if you have to break it into smaller chunks, do it. For instance, divide the math problems and take several breaks if your child can’t focus on the task all at once. Or if a chapter has 10 pages, read two pages and take a break; read two more and take another break. Learn what works best for your child and work with them. I want my kids to develop a love of learning, and that’s not going to happen if I’m just acting as a “task master.”
  • Consider how my expectations are affecting my kids. One speaker used this graphic in her presentation. My children learn differently and I need to recognize those differences. Each of my children has special God-given talents and abilities.

quote1I plan to consider whether my expectations are realistic, God-centered, and necessary. Am I setting my expectations too high, especially for myself, but also for my kids? I am grateful for the ability to homeschool. It’s a journey of learning for our whole family. As tough as this journey may be some days, it’s worth it. As this year’s convention comes to a close, I’m reminded (and so grateful) for all the resources I have through the Home Educators Association of Virginia, my homeschool moms’ group and friends who are on this journey with me.
Elastic Tits

1 Comment

  1. I was in those exact session. LOVED this convention and I will definately be back. Great blog.

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