The Danger of Self-Centered Homeschooling

My imperfections as a homeschool mother have been magnified as of late…especially my impatience. It is a real struggle every time the kids don’t cooperate the way I hope they will. And this has been my very problem. I want my kids to cater to my needs right now. I need them to be easy to teach because I don’t have an easy baby to take care of. So I hold them to a set of expectations and I feel frustrated when these expectations are not met.

Today I put this pressure on my little three year old, Tiana. She blanked out half-way through our lesson like she didn’t know anything and I was so irritated. I tossed her work on the bed. She cried, I cried. I felt like a monster-mom. I WAS a monster-mom!

Tiana inched away from me, took hold of her stuffed tiger, walked over to the other side of the room, and climbed up on to the bed. She curled up in a fetal position facing the window. This was the first time she ever saw me lose my temper. She withdrew from me, emotional pained by my outburst.

God, I need your help. This is not the kind of mom I want to become. I feel like such a failure.

I have always told moms to make learning enjoyable. Sigh. I even give seminars about this! However, I did the very opposite. Tiana was not motivated by a love to learn this morning. She was afraid of disappointing me. I saw it in her eyes. She would point to the answers (the ones she was guessing) without confidence. And she would gaze up at me to see if she had my approbation. When I seemed stern, she would look down at the work in front of her, uncertain of how to proceed.

When I realized how I had hurt her, I said, “Tiana, please come to mommy.” (I was kind of immobile because Catalina was nursing.) Tiana walked over with her big brown eyes still watery and red with tears. I pulled her close and embraced her. “Will you forgive me? I was wrong. I am so sorry. Mommy will help you to learn.”

She looked up at me and started to sob again. But she said, “I forgive you, mommy” and she reached out to touch my hand. I held her for a while and kissed her head. How could I have hurt someone I love so much?

A few minutes later, I told her we would try math again. Our take two was much better. There was joy and laughter in it. I decided to appreciate her small victories and I made the effort to be positive and encouraging.

This was a lesson on parenting for me. I can’t ever think that homeschooling is about me. It’s not about my agenda — my own goals. I have been entrusted with the fragile and vulnerable hearts of my kids. And I am accountable for that trust. It is about stewardship.

My main responsibility is to disciple them — to teach them to love God and obey him, and to help them develop their gifts and abilities for his purposes and glory.

If I get angry because my kids don’t know their academics as well as I want them to, then I am violating the trust of stewardship. If I wound them emotionally because they fall short of my expectations, then I cannot disciple them effectively. I become a self-centered teacher. And self-centered teaching does not amount to the greater good of my kids.

Lord help me to be a Christ-centered teacher and not a self-centered one. I need to improve in the area of patience and I cannot have victory if I am always thinking of what is most convenient for me or what I would like to accomplish. Direct my teaching so that I accomplish what you want me to in the lives of my children.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for the reminder. I’ve always have temper tantrums when homeschooling. I’m gonna try to be better at homeschooling again.

  2. Hi Joy,

    I am a Tita of a 7 year old whom we are currently “homeschooling”. We pulled him out of school because he doesn’t seem to behave well in his class and he has his own way of “learning”. We are currently teaching him to read (in english and tagalog) and Math, We get resources from the internet because we are not part of any homeschooling group. I can relate to your frustrations. I may not be a mom just like you but you are not right when you wrote that we should teach children to use their gifts and abilities for the glory of God and not for our own goals or agenda. Your article really helped me to have the right perspective and to continue on with our “homeschooling” session. Thank you so much and God bless you šŸ™‚

  3. We are just on 1st quarter of homeschooling and I have been failing a lot in this area, too. Thanks for the reminder that being self-centered will never make us effective teachers. And yeah, I agree with what you said about stewardship. Sigh…

    Many times I feel helpless and discouraged.

    Can you pray for me, too?

  4. On a lighter note, what curriculum are you using for Tiana? I also have a 3-year old and I’m homeschooling her (informally). Thank you!

  5. Hi Joy. Same scenario with me and Megan four days ago. Math problems with high expectation that she already knows the lesson. I left her naman sa room and God was prodding me to go back. I saw her lying on the bed and she was singing and crying at the same time. She composed a prayer/song and asked Jesus to help her eventhough it was just a small thing. She was really hurt with the words I’ve said. Megan felt that I was beside her. I started to cry and asked for forgiveness and we hugged. The end of the story…she was joyful and at peace with our Math equations. I felt guilty because of what you have referred to as self-centered homeschooling. Oh Lord here I go again…I need your moment by moment reminder.

  6. This post spoke to me, Joy. I just got A’s grades (it is her first year to be studying on her own) today. And although they are average, I was disappointed, and reprimanded her earlier. This is a great reminder for me. Thanks!

  7. I can definitely relate to this.. it gets pretty tough esp if our kids don’t behave like we want them to, the hardest part is the guilt that we as parents feel seeing our kids get hurt. I used a lot of different approaches , from shouting, hurting, I also used the “squat ” punishment, gave me less guilt — in the end, I tried a different technique, I let them do Brainfit and it helped my kids and me a lot. They became easier to handle and they were able to grasp the lessons we study together a lot faster.

  8. ouch! thanks for the reminder! ^_^

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The Danger of Self-Centered Homeschooling