My Most-Spoken Homeschool "Lecture"

You ready for it?  I've been homeschooling for 6 years, and this is by far the mini-lecture I have given the most.  It's the pep talk I give in response to "I CAN'T DO THIS!", or even, "I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THIS!!!"  I've spoken it countless times to Ethan, and have had to whip it out fairly frequently here lately with Baxter (he's hit multiplication tables and needs the reminder almost daily)...

Here it is:
"This is how you get better.  I know it's hard right now, and you feel frustrated.  But do you remember how hard it used to seem to write your name with a capital letter at the front, and have all the other letters be lowercase?  Or how hard it seemed to read those little 8-page readers that Maranatha is reading now?  But now doing all of that is easy-peasy to you.  It wouldn't even take any effort at all if I asked you to do that.  Just like that, this (whether I'm talking about reading harder books or multiplication tables or whatever) will one day seem super-easy to you too.   
Now, look at me in my eyes.  (wait for them to look)  You can DO this.  You can.  God has made your mind curious and intelligent.  Mama says you can do this, and you really CAN.  This is how your brain is going to grow and become more capable.  I know what you are capable of, and I think if you stretch your brain just a little bit, you can reach this and do it well.  Now, let's get to it."
Sometimes I follow this up with "now go wash off your face and come out ready to work"... if they've been crying.  Sometimes it's given with a hug and snuggles, if I see that they are genuinely (not just manipulatively, but GENUINELY) feeling as if they really *can't* do this.  Sometimes it's a little more stern, and sometimes it's a little more soft.  But this lecture has become oft-visited and oft-spoken.  Last week I actually heard my 10-year-old giving part of this pep-talk to my 8-year-old when he was feeling frustrated about reading something more challenging.

Teaching our children to trust in us... to look at what they've accomplished and realize that just like we said they could do THAT back *then*, and they did (whether it was wiping up a mess or tying a shoe or reading a sentence or changing their attitude or whatever), that they can trust us in THIS NOW... is so important.

Over time, the process of homeschooling builds confidence for both us as moms & teachers, and for them as kids & as students.  It teaches us as moms to not exasperate our children, but to really watch for readiness and make sure that what we are asking of them is reasonable and within their grasp.  It builds relationship as they learn to listen to us, and to trust our judgment, that we can see farther than they can.

And it builds trust in God for all of us as we see, day-in & day-out, that God really did give them minds that are capable.  Capable to do certain tasks adequately, and capable to do some things extraordinarily well.  God has built our children's minds well, according to His purposes, and it is such a privilege to be a part of shaping and molding those minds.

Anyway, I just shared this mini-lecture with a friend tonight and thought I'd share it here as well.  Hope it encourages some of you, or at least, gives insight into how I've come to deal with that "barrier" of "I CAN'T DO THIS!!!" in our homeschool setting.

9 comments:

Aubs said...

thank you so much for this! this is my first year of homeschooling and i definitely have been feeling less than capable lately as a teacher. You are always so encouraging when it comes to parenting and homeschooling and it is such a blessing to me!
Aubrey =)

DueñaDelBlog said...

Thank you, Jess. Lately I've been so discouraged with my kids' discouragement and so frustrated with their frustration that I've done poorly helping equip them to deal with the issue at hand. These practical words remind me of the Psalms that recount all the Israelites had been through with God. Great application. -Jacqueline

Brandy said...

What a good word for our kids, and also to us as homeschooling mamas...I've been having some of the hardest homeschooling weeks lately, but this is practice and hard work for me. Trusting that we've been called to do this and can do it in His strength, might we master more and more of these tasks, by His grace, just like our kids learning to master skills.

Ansia said...

Thank you for this post. I'm not a home school mum, but frequently find myself struggling to encourage my son with different aspect of his home work or other tasks that seem out of his reach at the time. Thanks for the words that I can use next time I am face with "I can't".

Elspeth @ Breathing Grace said...

Thanks for this, Jess.

After having raised our older kids through the public school system (the youngest are graduating this spring), homeschooling our younger set is proving particularly challenging for me, but I persevere.

I appreciate all the encouragement I can get.

Paula said...

My eight year old has had to really work hard to learn to read and write. He knows that he has to keep trying again and again. Imagine my surprise when I heard him encouraging his little friend who lives a few houses down from us. He was using the same phrases but applying them to learning to climb a tree. :) I am so proud of his perseverance and his desire to encourage his friend.

Sanders said...

Gracious I need to get better at encouraging my discouraged 1st grader. Telling her to 'suck it up' really isn't working - actually - it's really making things worse! This was very timely for me!

Thanks!

Shannon said...

Glad you shared this here too because it was so encouraging when you shared it with me

Rebecca said...

Yes - there will be days like this. Even Mom might say - I can't do this. And - without God, we really can't. this is a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing at Ultimate Resources for Mom!