Living in a culture that seems to be driven by the latest thing trending on social media, it is hard to stay focused on your priorities or mission. I mean we are bombarded with the latest and greatest teaching methods, curriculum types, and resources constantly. We pour through pinterest and pin so many wonderful ideas that we never get around to doing. Suddenly we feel like maybe they’re not doing enough in our homeschool. I see moms everywhere suddenly feeling inadequate and putting unneeded pressure on themselves to do more. It is so easy to loose sight of our personal mission that drove us to homeschooling in the first place.
The problem with loosing sight of our mission we set out on when we begin homeschooling, is that we start to stray from that mission. So now we are faced with a problem. How do we take this wealth of information available at our fingertips, and stay focused on our own family’s priorities? How do we maintain a clear vision of our own mission without falling into the comparison trap?
Don’t get me wrong. I love pinterest, and reading blogs of other homeschool moms. I have learned so much from doing this and I have been able to put techniques to work for us in our own home. But we MUST NOT allow these things to become soul suckers. Here are a few tips I hope will help you maintain your focus, and remind you of why you chose to homeschool in the first place.
First, write a mission statement for your homeschool. Start by making a list of priorities you have for your homeschool, what’s more important to you? Is it giving your children time to explore and create? Is it to give your children a Christ centered education? Maybe one of your priorities is building character. Perhaps your mission is to teach through literature. After you’ve made your list of homeschool priorities, pick a couple that are the most important to you. Write a mission statement based on these priorities. Remember, this is a statement, not an essay! It shouldn’t be more than a couple sentences long. Just a brief statement stating what your homeschool is about. Also, remember no two mission statements are the same. Here is my mission statement to give you an example.
Ok, so you’ve got your mission statement, now what? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, assess what your homeschool day looks like. Then compare it to your mission statement. Is what you’re doing aligning with your mission statement? If not, look for what you can get rid of (except the required subjects like math, reading, etc. they’re probably not in your mission statement but kinda important).
You may also find that you’re not doing something that is in your mission statement, and that’s ok. Sometimes we get so caught up with what Suzie homeschool mom down the street is doing we forget we are two different families raising/teaching very different children. If you found you’re not running your homeschool in a way that aligns with your mission statement find what needs to be added and/or changed. Don’t change your mission statement to align with what you’re doing. Remember, the mission statement was written based on your priorities and goals. Now your job is to align your homeschool with those goals.
Now comes the hard part. You cannot under ANY circumstances compare yourself or allow yourself to feel inadequate because you do something different than Suzie down the street. Just because she does things differently than you do, does NOT make her better. It just means she’s different. And guess what, God created us this way! None of us are exactly the same. Our kids aren’t the same either (even within our own families).
I’ve caught myself doing this several times, especially when talking to veteran homeschool moms. When I find out they are using a different set of curriculum I would question is ours was good enough. Luckily, I’ve been able to realize that I have a completely different teaching style, so I didn’t let it consume me.
It is perfectly acceptable to try to problem solve, get advice and ideas from Suzie. However, remember she might have a different teaching style, her kids might have different learning styles. Just because it works for her, doesn’t mean it will work for you. If what you’re doing is working, don’t think you need to change it because somehow you suddenly think it’s not good enough. We must avoid this trap of comparison. We have enough to worry about without the added self inflicted pressure.
This is where your mission statement becomes your golden ticket. When you find you are questioning yourself, read it. If what you’re doing is working and aligns with your mission statement don’t waste another moment second guessing yourself. If you’re feeling pressure to add another big project because Suzie is doing it, check with your mission statement. Does this align with your mission statement, or is it unnecessary? If unnecessary don’t put the added pressure on yourself to add something to your plate. I’m sure it’s already full enough.
Of course I’m not saying never do an extra project with your kids you find on pinterest. I’m saying don’t feel pressured to do amazing projects every day. Your kids will be just fine if you don’t do that cool science experiment you just pinned. Maybe what works for you is to do one of those cool projects each week, maybe every other week?
At the end of the day, have a clear mission. Know what’s important to you and let it guide you while deciding what you will focus your time and energy on.
Do you have a mission statement? I would love to hear it, comment below!