As many of you know, over the summer I’ve been working on getting my website up. Part of doing that has been listening to a TON of podcast to learn all I could about the process. In a Podcast by Michael Hyatt, sort of a platform building guru, he talked about the 7 C’s to developing confidence, and I was struck by how great they would be when tweaked to talk about homeschooling.
Borrowing from his idea, here is my take on how to set yourself up for success this year. (Oh, and note, that not one of these C’s is curriculum….we become obsessed with choosing the right one…but that is not the key to success.)
Why are you doing this? What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve this year?
You have to start here. There are going to be rough days ahead, some times you will feel like quitting. On those days you need to come back to your WHY. Why are you choosing to homeschool? If you have a good answer for that, it will give you focus on the rough days.
With clarity will come confidence. When we are unclear and unfocused we feel vulnerable and doubts seep in. You will doubt yourself unless you get focused on why you are going to pursue this path, and what you hope to accomplish.
Don’t worry if you are still unclear on exactly how you will get to your goals. Many of those details can’t be dealt with until you are in motion, and you can assess what works for your child and for you. Strategies can be changed if they aren’t working…but the best strategy, or curriculum, won’t help if you don’t have a clear picture of where you want to end up in mind.
If you are still a bit fuzzy on what I mean by clarity, you can read what I ended up calling my Philosophy of Education. It started out as an exercise to help me gain clarity about what I wanted for my sons.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but it’s feeling the fear, and moving forward anyway. Every homeschooler has moments of doubt and fear. If you didn’t I’d wonder if you were taking this seriously enough.
Taking on the education of your child is a huge task. It takes courage to step into unfamiliar territory. However, as you have the courage to take those steps you will begin to build confidence…which will allow you to take more steps.
You are not alone. We can provide each other with encouragement, information, and wisdom as we walk on this journey. I think it’s important to connect with other families who are homeschooling so that you and your children don’t feel isolated.
I’ve found that community in a variety of places. The reason Grace Prep started was that I had spent 6 years in two other homeschool groups that just weren’t a great fit for me, so a friend and I started our own group. I also have found communities of amazing homeschoolers on the internet.
Wherever you find them it’s important to join a community so that you can gain strength from one another.
At some point you are going to want to quit. There will be rough days and the thought of packing up your kids and sending them off on the school bus will have a lot of appeal.
In those moments it’s important to go back and reconnect with WHY you are doing this. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to gain clarity early on. That clarity will help you stayed committed through the rough times.
This is an important step, but one that we often overlook. It’s crucial to stop and celebrate your and your child’s successes. Doing this will help you stop and pay attention. Too often we only see what still needs to be done, and we overlook how far we have come.
Stopping to celebrate the steps along the way provides motivation and a sense of accomplishment.
Don’t get so caught up in your never ending ‘to do’ list, that you don’t notice the significant progress that your student is making.
When you face your doubts and actually have the courage to begin homeschooling (or any other new skill) you develop new skills and strengths you didn’t know you had. Pretty soon homeschooling becomes a routine, it gets easier and you grow more and more capable.
The more capable you feel, the more you gain courage to step out and try even more. And the cycle keeps going.
And at this point, you become confident in your ability to homeschool. The journey is never really over. There will always be new lessons to be learned, new subjects to be tackled, but now you will have more confidence to take on those next steps.
I found that I cycle endlessly through these 7 C’s. I continually have to go back to my goals and why I do what I do. Then step out in faith (courage) and start doing it. Over time my sense of being capable and confident has grown.
The same will be true for you.