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Keeping Focus
December 2010
A Powerful Perspective

It’s been a lovely fall day, warmer than usual. But just as one of my coworkers heads out the door, it starts to storm. “You picked a bad time to leave,” I teased. “It’s pouring rain.” To which he responds with the quote of the month: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Such optimism is hard to come by these days. Yet it reminded me of something one of my professors used to say: “There are no problems, only opportunities.”

As we head into the “mid-term” of the academic year, when most of us take a break for the holidays, it’s useful to take a moment to assess how our homeschooling is going. Are we on schedule or running behind in some subjects? Is there anything that doesn’t seem to be working? Are there any problems that keep cropping up?

Now the hard part. Don’t see these issues as problems; see them as opportunities to discover something about the way your child learns and the way you teach. See them as a chance for both of you to grow. Don’t see them as “bad weather,” see them as a situation where you need to change the “clothing” – the materials or methods you are using. Change your perspective.

There are two ways to change your perspective. First, you can change your position or location. Come at the issue from another angle. This is where supplemental resources can prove handy. Or have Dad take over for a bit.

The other way to change perspective is to change the lens through which you are looking. If a structured, textbook approach is overwhelming your child, then consider a more relaxed approach. Or if you are using an integrated, reading-intensive approach and your child is spending hours doing loads of exercises but seems lost, consider a more systematic approach.

Sometimes in order to change our perspective, we have to let go of what we think “schooling” must look like. Schooling is not about completing exercises or checking off credits, it’s about training a child and laying a foundation of skills and understanding that will help them thrive in the future. That may mean laying aside some subjects to focus on a specific area that needs work. It may mean trying a whole new approach to a subject.

Homeschoolers today are blessed to have so many resources available that come at subjects from different approaches and formats. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re not going to mess up your child’s education if you try something new. It may require some research on your part, and some time to figure it out for yourself first, but remember, the point in homeschooling is to see your child making progress in his or her learning, not completing a set number of pages in a textbook.

Seeing learning issues as opportunities to try something new rather than problems to confront can change the whole atmosphere of your homeschooling.


Image Credits: © ELEN - Fotolia.com
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