Here's a question: Do you feel like you're responsible for teaching your children EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW?
If you think the answer is, "Yes," then, break out the books on everything from abacus to zoology, because you have just taken on the Mt. Everest of homeschooling. And, inform your children that they will not graduate until they are 58 years old, because that's how long it will take to teach them everything. . .no, better make that 78 years old, given the nature of the rapidity of knowledge growth in genetics, differential equations, multi-dimensional topology, deep ocean marine biology, bathymetry—they don't leave home without it!
If, on the other hand, you answer, "No," then take a deep breath of relief as you consider what you actually need to teach them. (And, pass along the great news to your kids that they can graduate when they're 18!)
The Big Picture
What is it that you honestly want for them to have when their years of homeschooling are over? Do you want them to be able to:
- get into the college of their choice?
- find satisfying and interesting careers?
- gladly serve the Lord, wherever and however?
- be passionate about justice for the oppressed?
- be equipped for the life God calls them to?
If you have older children, ask them, "What are your interests, your passions? Do you want to:
- go to college?
- build your own business?
- serve overseas for a season?"
Second, with these specific goals in mind, make choices. Knowing what you are aiming for will help you to make these choices wisely. And, believe me, you MUST make choices.
To say it another way, you need to limit the number of subjects, field trips, projects, lessons, co-ops, and online classes. Being driven to do it all will result in your kids hating school, while, at the same time, sucking you into the black-hole of exhausted frustration.
A Different Way
Despite the pressure from textbooks, classes, and friends to fill our children's hours with more and more and more academic demands and extra activities, there is another way to walk this journey—one that has long been proven to be highly motivational and incredibly successful in helping children learn.
It is so simple that many will scoff. Here's the secret that early homeschoolers discovered:
Find your child's interest.
Observe your child instead of your textbook. What is interesting to your daughter, to your son—
- reading swash-buckling historical tales?
- sculpting animals?
- creating chemical reactions?
Whatever it is, make room—plenty of room!—in the schedule to learn what interests each one most. It will set up a chain reaction of learning, which develops a love of learning.
And a love of learning is the single greatest educational gift you can give, one they will use for the rest of their lives.