I’m Hannah Schrock, a young, second-generation homeschooling mama to four precious little women. Deb asked me to share my thoughts on finding joy in the daily monotony of home education, and though I certainly do not consider myself an expert on such matters and do not wish to sound like a holier-than-thou, condescending know-it-all; I do wish to help others remember just how good we have it; and I want to oblige the kind lady who asked me to write. Here are six things that bring a thankful spark of happiness to my days as a teacher.
Finding the right curriculum that helps you and your child enjoy learning and teaching can make or break your confidence and commitment to homeschooling. It is well worth it to apply yourself to finding what best suits your family. Take into account all the factors necessary: your child’s learning style, and what you used in school, since you’ll be more familiar with it, or maybe something polar opposite if you didn’t learn well using it. Consider Dad’s opinion and job constraints. If he will be teaching a subject, it’s best if he can do it quickly and easily after work so your family time in the evenings is not all taken up with schooling.
Your family’s natural routine is a big component to consider. For my family, I need something that is quick. We seldom stick to a schedule, and I have a full plate just being Mom, wife, a pastor’s wife, a farmer’s wife, secretary for our three businesses, and homeschooling. I don’t have time to plan elaborate unit studies or even print them out. I cannot use something online because our rural area doesn’t have Internet. I want something that engages multiple learning styles and has biblical roots. I want it to foster excitement in my children. So I tried two curriculums before settling on the one we use now. It is so wonderful to have a curriculum I actually enjoy teaching and my children are excited about! What works for one family may not work for yours, so do your research and experimentation. I know many who have experienced great results with vastly different curriculums. The right curriculum is such a blessing, and I thank God for it often!
This may seem obvious, but having children to raise and invest in is such an honor. God was so kind to entrust us with the position of mentor for their short, formative years. Those little eyes look to you because you are their world. If the teens are going to seek your advice, they need to have felt safe trusting you for their entire life, otherwise they will be reluctant to ask. Having the opportunity to guide them to grow into who God wants them to be is such a huge blessing. They are little sponges, soaking up everything we are teaching them, good or otherwise. God is good to give us this challenge of raising children, and it should cause us to look to him for wisdom as the difficulties of child rearing and homeschooling present themselves.
I won’t describe the debauchery that exists in this horrid world; it makes itself fully known without my referencing it. But I thank my God for all the safety our home provides. Bullies and cowards are rampant, and pretty much inevitable in the brick-and-mortar school environment. Being protected and encouraged by a trusted adult can give children the ability to have courage to make a strong stand when they are grown. Going against the evil flow is much more challenging as a child. It is rare for a child to grow up to be a morally strong adult when educated in a typical school. Children need to feel safe.
Reading missionary and wartime stories aloud is such a reminder to me and a lesson for my children of how good we have it. Suddenly, my daughter shedding a few tears over not understanding her math lesson after the first explanation seems quite minuscule. In comparison, young Jewish children not only missed months of school during the Second World War but were led to gas chambers and worse. Children are often abandoned at birth in Kenya, and mothers are forced to send their children to communist schools in a country I cannot name. It helps me realize that our daily issues are small. We are so safe and blessed.
4- A Biblical Worldview
Being able to tell our children who God is, why we are here, and what he expects us to do is something millions of parents around the world are not permitted to do. Right now, many a mama is begging God to help her child not be indoctrinated with the agenda her country is shoving on the children. It bears saying again, we are so blessed with freedom to share the truth from God’s Word. This is my main reason for choosing home education. I am very grateful for the opportunity.
This one may seem small and maybe a bit silly, but I just love seeing little pint jars full of pencils, markers, and crayons neatly lined up on the shelf. The three-hole punch delights my soul. I still have a huge attraction to a clean sheet of white paper—so many possibilities exist when a blank sheet of paper lies before me and a sharp pencil is in my grasp! Having all the stuff like glue and paint makes me so giddy. Perhaps I’m immature, but my kids don’t mind. And such small thankfulness never fails to bring out the genuine smile lines in abundance around my eyes.
6-A Lovely Environment
In a study conducted in Nigeria, researchers found that “before students can succeed academically, they must feel safe, both physically and mentally, and to have a safe learning environment, students must feel welcomed, supported, and respected. Personalizing learning helps students develop skills, including thinking critically, using knowledge and information to solve complex problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, learning how to acquire knowledge, and developing academic mindsets that will greatly increase students’ engagement.”*
I love a nice, neat, inviting space. It is so wonderful to have a home of my own to make special for my family. The atmosphere is more relaxing when I take the time to do the housework daily, light a candle, make coffee, and put my feet up on an ottoman before teaching lessons. It brings more peace to my whole family. My girls can cuddle up with their favorite blanket while practicing spelling. My toddler wears princess dresses while learning the ABCs. They can swing while reading their books, and they can have some homemade hot cocoa as a way to make their fractions more enjoyable. Having the living room walls painted a calming color and having well-composed music playing softly in the background makes schooling more relaxing.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise my children the way my beloved husband and I see fit. Being grateful brings joy. Practicing gratitude is a good lifestyle. I pray often to have wisdom to raise my kiddos up in a way that they will ultimately love my precious Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so very, very thankful for God allowing me to be able to home educate my little women.