Home-School Tips from a Missionary Mom & Hope for Parents of Struggling Students

14222372_10154305027944543_1453830488619716407_nBe the Best Teacher You Can Be

Be disciplined but flexible. With different family and ministry events, a school day or whole calendar year can get interrupted. Make a commitment to have a good schedule. Get an early start on the day so your children won’t be doing their homework at midnight.

Be disciplined in paperwork/grading. Videos and online streaming are great tools for many moms, but it is tempting to let the DVD do all the work. Even the most honest children will be tempted to skip an assignment if they know Mom will never check. Prompt grading allows us to see and correct errors that children would keep making and highlights areas of weakness that we may need spend time on.

Make sure your child is getting a good education. School must be priority. Every state has certain objectives students should master for each grade (assuming the absence of learning disabilities). Work to meet all the criteria needed to graduate.

Always accept your children’s best efforts. You may have been a straight A student, but that doesn’t mean they will be. Your first child might have been the easiest student, but the second might need things to be repeated over and over. A child may be struggling in ways the parent doesn’t see right away. For the person who is parent and teacher, the pressure to make them perform can be excessive. Lovingly help your children overcome their weaknesses without constantly nagging about repeated mistakes.

Make Your Family First Priority

Make sure both parents are on the same page. Homeschooling takes time and commitment. My husband realizes that it means much of my time will be devoted to school. He has been involved in decisions involving curriculum and understands the expense involved. It has not been my decision alone, and he has been an invaluable support to me in the process.

Leave school problems at school. The school student doesn’t want to be reminded of his problems all night long. You may have to deal with some issues during the school day, but don’t make the children feel miserable for the rest of the evening. The father may have to have a word with the child at the end of the day for wrong behaviors.. For the most part, however, if the child has a bad day at school, let him leave his bad day there and start over the next day.

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Use Your Resources

If you have any kind of struggle, do not be afraid to reach out for help to other homeschooling moms, professionals, or anyone you feel would help you.

Let someone else teach them music, art, crochet, how to cook, etc. On the mission field, incredible ties can be formed with the people by having children learn from them. Let your children learn the local crafts, have a language tutor, or take field-trips to local places of interest.

If possible, get involved in a homeschool co-op. Our homeschool co-op has enabled my children to keep in touch with the cultures of their “passport” country without neglecting the country and the people we are called to serve. The parents work together so that the children are exposed to many different activities and skills.

Take advantage of the time and liberty you have as a parent to teach your children the Bible. That is one of the best things about home school. There have been times when I feel like I have literally been to church after singing, praying and talking about the Bible with my children. It also gets us started off with the right mindset that we are doing our best for the Lord and learning all that we can in order to serve Him better.

If possible have an area set aside for school. We have been blessed to have an extra room for that purpose, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone. In the younger years, even just a little corner worked for us. Whatever it takes to make school feel official  will help.

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On a personal note…

We all know of students who don’t fit the norm. No matter how hard we try, some of our children will struggle. All of the above principles worked for my three children, but child number four has serious learning issues. He cannot perform close to his grade level. It took me awhile to admit there was a problem, but once I did, I began seeking help. I am doing all I can to help him and accept that he has to learn his way and in his time. I encourage each of you who are in this situation with this…

Don’t let worry rob you of the joy of working with that precious one. For a long time I did that. Don’t look back and blame yourself or question what you should have done or not done earlier.

Don’t forget that this child was entrusted to you by the Heavenly Father who has bigger plans for him than you could ever imagine. Your job is to help that child discover their gifts and use them for God’s glory. I know how you feel when it seems everyone else’s child is succeeding in school. You want to rejoice with them, but inside your heart just seems to fall a little. You want to also project this child from any and all sense of insecurity that might come his way as a result of the situation. Keep trusting God and loving this little one.

Don’t compare him to anyone. Know that God is forming a tender little heart that is going to always be sensitive to the needs of others. Know that God makes no mistakes and every child is a treasure. One day all of us will look back and see how beautifully God has worked.

In the meantime, I want to enjoy the journey. Don’t you?

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  • 8 thoughts on “Home-School Tips from a Missionary Mom & Hope for Parents of Struggling Students

      1. You are so right about that! We all have the same struggles, joys, and triumphs no matter where we are. I am so thankful for homeschooing moms stateside who have given me counsel and advice while I try to do it on the field. I am glad that these days I have the means to reach out to them.

    1. Well said, Rebecca! Although our daughter is grown and married now, I can relate to your statement about ‘pressuring’ her to perform while in both home school and Christian school. It’s so important to nurture and encourage the talents the Lord has given each child, instead of being focused entirely on good grades. And those talents may be totally different from one to the next! Praying for you and Bro. Keith as you raise your children for the Lord.

      1. Thanks so much for your comments and your prayers. I have learned this lesson the hard way, but I am seeing how much my children blossom when I quit harping on their weaknesses and heap praise upon them when I see them giving their best effort. I am seeing strong areas in one in particular that I never saw before and dwelling on those points has just made such a change in that child. God bless your ministry too!

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