Someone told me yesterday they feel like a failure compared to me.  That just about made me laugh out loud. Because I feel like a failure much of the time!!  I am such a failure in my own right.  But maybe they don’t see all the ways I fail since I only run into them once a week?  They aren’t walking around in my messy house? And they don’t see all the ways I let my family down?
So it got me thinking about the ways I am currently failing– right this very second, even..
  • House – pretty much all of it, is a wreck, pretty much all of the time
  • Graduation party — yeah that was in May and I still have some things I am putting away from the party that are piled up in my Dining room
  • Microwave – we received a nice, free microwave this summer that is WAY bigger than our old college-dorm size. So I moved the small one into the Dining room (yes, again!) and planned to clean it out and then put it in the basement until one of our kids needs it for college. Well, I just cleaned it out last week, but it’s still there and probably needs another wiping down to make sure all the greasy gross stuff is gone. So it sits….
  • Dog stains. Our two dogs, bless their hearts, sometimes sneak away and leave remnants of themselves in other parts of the house. And I know of some places right now that need cleaning and I haven’t done it.
  • Rooms that are messy. Kids’ bedrooms. Closets. Pretty much most every room has a mess of some sort.
  • Boxes – I have boxes piled in the hall that I have a plan to move somewhere else, but I keep walking right on by them in order to do other things…
  • Migraine – I’m on my third day of a migraine. And actually today I’m able to do a little bit of work so far, but this is the first in 3 days that I am actually getting something done. The other two days were a loss. Who knows if my kids got their school done or not?  Eventually, I’ll feel better and check their work. And regroup. We will definitely need to regroup!
So after thinking about all of that, I’ve been doing some thinking about how we should strive for excellence in our homeschooling.  Not that we want perfection, but we want to do our best. Why? To glorify God. To have a good witness to others. To challenge ourselves to put our best foot forward in everything.
Here are 5 Ways to Strive For Excellence in your Homeschooling. You can also apply this to home management, homework in the evenings, etc.
  1. Working subjects until they are complete and all correct.  At our house, we do our Math lessons–until they are completely done and completely right. This is not because I expect my kids to be perfect. We all make mistakes and they are definitely going to make some on math!  It is so they can LEARN from their mistakes. As we go back and check our work, they figure out what they did wrong and are less likely to miss it the next time.
  2. Miss a day? That’s okay. Start over with a fresh start  Just like my migraine-days, everyone has a bad day. A lesson all of our kids need to learn is that you shouldn’t give up when you have a bad day. Just call it a wash and start over anew the next day.  His mercies are new every morning!
  3. Train for independence   In all things, including schoolwork and chores, we should be training our kids for independence. We can’t go with them to college or when they go off into adult land.  They need to be able to stand on their own and do it themselves.  We can start at home with simple chores like doing dishes and washing their own clothes.  They should then begin to start studying on their own with not as much input from you.  Eventually, they should be able to know what to do with that college textbook and not be worried about learning something new. Study skills are so important and we all need to know how to study.
  4. Trust but verify  I ran across this saying again recently and it reminded me how much we as parents need to check up on their work. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or writing the paper or reading a hard book, we need to verify they actually did it. Ask them questions to see what their knowledge level is and whether they are retaining what they read. Check up on them.
  5. Delegate. You can’t do it all. You are not Super-Mom. Have your kids be in charge of their own things: room, clothes, and one chore a day that would help the family.  Begin delegating and keep delegating.  I don’t wash dishes anymore in my home. For right now, while I have enough kids still here, they are doing all the dishwashing. Now sometimes I step in and help out. But it’s all been delegated.  Delegate the things you want them to learn and also delegate things someone else can do better. My daughter wants to learn computer programming. So I’ve delegated that subject to the local college. Their professors are much better at it than I am!  I did the same with art lessons for my kids when they were younger.
 I hope these ideas will help you as you strive for excellence and NOT perfection in your home!! What are you currently delegating?  What do you need to verify that your student has done?
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Michelle Newbold has been married for 25 years to her best friend, Craig. They have four kids whom they have been homeschooling from almost the beginning.  They are active in their local church and in Classical Conversations where Michelle is a Challenge III Director at two locations. They are looking forward to sending their kids out as influencers in this world.  You can find them often on the lake, working on their wakeboarding & boat driving skills.