Stop Squashing Your Sprouts!

Not only am I a home school mom of four, but I am also an avid gardener. Every year during the springtime, I put on my work clothes, grab my gloves and rake and I begin to prepare the soil for that year’s garden. I start by weeding anything from last year or anything that grew during the warmer days of winter. I add the amendments to the soil and till it all in carefully. I make the rows for the tender seeds and carefully plant the seeds for the new growth of that year. I water and watch as my tiny sprouts come up. I make sure to pull the weeds and care for my little sprouts because I know that they will grow to be good healthy plants if I take care of them. I guard my sprouts making sure no one or nothing comes along and squashes them. I put a fence around them to ensure they will not be eaten by the critters. I care for my sprouts because I know one day they will one day grow to their full potential and that will provide me with the new seeds for the next year’s growth.

So, what does all of this have to do with your home school adventure? Everything! I have been home schooling a long time and one thing I see repeatedly is parents stepping on their sprouts. Home schooling is an adventure and each new day begins with a new awakening. Schooling your children is not a sprint it is a marathon. Parents cannot just wake up one morning and think oh I am going to home school my kids and think it will all be peachy. Then, a few months into the year these same parents are worried and wondering, if they have made a mistake. They are terrified that they have ruined their children's education. What’s worse, they are considering quitting and sending their children back to school. Like all things, you are going to have good days and bad days. The thing to remember is to not step on your sprouts as they grow. Did you get up that morning and do school? That is a sprout. Did your kid finally get that math fact? That is a sprout. Did you play a game with your children? That is a sprout. Anything you did to educate your children that day is a sprout.

You see, I have learned from experience that many parents just do not recognize how much they do for their children in a day, especially those who are new to home schooling. They do not recognize that each little thing they do affects how well they are growing, or how well they are nurturing their children. The question you have to ask yourself is why you want to home school. What is your why? Do you want to spend more time with your kids? Are you sick of the over crowed class size? Are you tiered of the stuff they are trying to teach our kids? Do you want to private school your kid but you cannot afford to and public school is not an option? What is your why? When you decide the reason you want to home school write it down and when you are having a bad day refer to it remembering that in the end it will all be worth it.

Amending the soil is the most important thing you can do for your garden. It gives your soil rich nutrients so you plants can thrive. Curriculum is the soil for your children. Choose books that will be not only age appropriate but fun and interesting. The beautiful thing about home schooling is that you have the ability to provide for the individual needs of your children. You can cater to the way they express themselves and their learning style. Do not be caught up in the “should haves” of school, they no longer apply to you. Lap books, stories, songs even games all become the curriculum of choice when you home school

Setting a schedule is like putting a fence around your garden. A schedule ensures that you will get something done in your day. Schedules are important to keep you and your child on track. If you plan school from 10 am to 1 pm do that every day! If math is taught every day and science is only on Tuesday and Thursday, do that every time. If you do not keep to some sort of schedule its like having no fence around your garden, soon the rabbits will come in and take over eating up everything you planted, then before too long you will realize that half the season has gone by and all you have to your school year is bits and pieces of information. If your garden is not growing, it is dying and if your children are not learning, they are not growing.

You need to water your garden every day. Now I do not mean you need to give your children masses amounts of schoolwork or test, but you will need to give them something every day of the school week. Even if your sick or they are, you should be filling their little brains with something. When I am sick I like to have them read to me, or draw me a picture (reading and art) if they are sick a good movie with morals hit’s the spot. If you have teens, perhaps they can occasionally take over the cooking so when you are sick it is no problem, (life skills).

Please pull out the weeds now and again. Yes, we all have weeds. We are all faced with so many negatives in a day it is unbelievable. We need to have continual encouragement for our children. They need their minds to be in the right mind set to succeed. There are several ways to pull weeds in your children’s heads. My favorite way is through the Bible. The Bible has so many words of encouragement and mortality. The Bible teaches respect and honor, friendship and adversity. Schooling is more than math; it is life skills. There are all kinds of books that help our children spiritually and when we talk to our children and find out what their fears, frustrations and strengths are, we are in a sense pulling out the weeds that will hold back their full potential.

Let your garden grow.
You should take the time to prepare the soil, you should make sure that your garden has water and you should keep the weeds under control but you also need to let your garden grow. Your children need room for success and personal failure. They need to learn how to teach themselves and not rely solely on your teaching. They need to grow their minds and their independence. Show your children how to find and follow the directions and that has taught them independence. Now when facing a problem you can say to them follow the directions and are confident that they will
When your children fail, have them look for the answers and find why they failed. We don’t always learn when we win; sometimes the answers are in our failures.

Different gardens grow in different soils. Stop comparing your soil to that of others. Some people have been gardening for years while for some it is their first garden ever. So stop comparing yourself with your Child's former teacher. Stop comparing yourself with the mom who has home schooled for several years. Like all things, there is a learning curve and you should embrace yours. Remember we are not home schoolers to school our children but to unschooled them. We home school to educate not to teach. Stop worrying if you are doing it right and realize that you are doing it right because you are doing it. If it were not for failure, how would we know success? Grow your children in your special soil and remember you can amend your soil at any time you wish, it your garden go crazy.

Stop stepping on your sprouts. Start recognizing all of your efforts for what they are, little growths of information adding up to be a flourishing wealth of knowledge .

Treat each day as a success, no matter how small or large because it is just another days growth of your home school adventure. If you start out the school year laying the groundwork, you will start to see your sprouts. Each day that you have a new sprout, it reinforces the growth of the previous day until the end of the school year finally arrives and you notice the full growth of your seed. Then, at the end of the year, you put your seed to rest and wait for the next planting season.

Author's Bio: 

While married for 23 years and home schooling four children ages 6 to 18, Lisa Dingman has been helping people to success for the past 18 years. She has shared her experience with countless parents showing them how to have a successful home, how to run a successful home school and now she is helping those same parents have successful home businesses.

Through her website Success in Home Biz Lisa is now focusing on helping parents gain financial independence while running a home or staying at their present jobs and still spending time with their families.

Through her site Mom Teaches Success, she is educating parents how to effectively teach school to their kids.