Friday, January 24, 2014

The ABC's (and D's and E's) of Our Homeschool Success ~ "E"xpect "E"xcellence {Homeschool Essentials Blog Hop}



What a great week this has been focusing on the things in our homeschool that make us successful. I have enjoyed reading the blogs of some of my fellow Crew Members to hear what things make their days go more smoothly. I hope that you have enjoyed this Blog Hop.

This last essential is one that I have realized was the motivation for why we started homeschooling in the first place. It is also what prompted the title of this blog.

In February of 2010, we made the decision that we should begin our homeschooling journey. It all started with Dawson (our now 17 year old high school junior). Kyndal was able to navigate the waters of public school without any problems. Dawson, however, struggled with the strain and stress of perfection and being lost in the big crowd. As we were struggling, as well, we followed his lead (actually, his begging) and brought him home for school for two years so that he could pursue Excellence instead of perfection.


I encourage you to travel back with me to my very first blog post at Journey to Excellence on February 26, 2010, when I wrote about The Reason for the Journey.

Now in our 4th year of homeschooling, I still believe that taking Dawson out of school was the best thing for him. He did decide to go back to high school last year, after being home for two years. It was the right decision for him to go back. He was ready. He learned a lot while being home, and I do not just mean academics. He learned about his importance and worth and how his way is okay. Homeschooling him was not only the best thing for him from an educational standpoint, but it probably saved him from some real trouble.

Excellence is still something we believe in and Expect from our younger two children, now that they are homeschooled students. (We believe in it and expect it from our graduate pursuing her technical career in cosmetology and Dawson as a public high school junior, as well.) Eli has some neurological delays that have given him some bumps in the road, but we still expect him to strive for excellence each day, despite any difficulties he might face. I think our expectation of him reaching for his excellent potential, and not using his delays as an excuse, has actually been what has facilitated his growth beyond what he thinks he can accomplish.

Excellence is a pursuit we expect from our kids! We know that they will never reach perfection this side of Heaven. Accepting that has eased up our fears of not measuring up to what others think we should be doing.

We do not push grades! Perfection … 100% … is not our attainable goal! I have to fight Eli to keep him from worrying about a perfect paper. He looks for those numbers on his papers. We spend a lot of time discussing the learning process and how we are learning even when we make mistakes. In fact, we are probably learning more when we are making mistakes. I think after being out of public school for a year and a half, he is finally starting to "get it", although it is still a struggle.

What do our expectations look like?
  • No grumbling
  • No complaining
  • No defeatist attitude
  • No fits
We sit when it's time to sit and we play when we are done. I give fair breaks to reward for hard work. But when it's time to do work, it's time to buckle down and do it. No "wiggle room" there.

We get dressed (most days), brush our teeth and fix our hair. Sloppy dress equals a sloppy mind. Sharp dress equals a sharp mind.

I would say that I am a strict educator in many ways. But, I do spend a lot of time planning activities that cater to my children's strengths and help build up their weaknesses. They are then expected to give it all they have got so they can fully reap the benefits of this educational opportunity they have.

Perfection? No.

Excellence? Totally expected.


Did you miss the A, B, C and D of our homeschooling success?

"A" Plan
"B"oard .. white board
"C"lipboards
"D"rawing Sticks

Even though the Blog Hop is technically over this afternoon, the links to other 88 Crew Members posting in the Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop will remain. I hope that you will take some time to visit some of my friends: Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Julie @ Nurturing Learning, Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures, DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor, Lori @ At Home: where life happens, Adriana @ Homeschool Ways, Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool, Meg @ Adventures with Jude, Sarah @ Delivering Grace.



5 comments:

  1. Having clear expectations is very important!

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  2. Expecting excellence - very well said. We expect our children to put in their very best but we don't expect perfection. As you said, perfection is not possible. It is hard to train kids away from wanting that written confirmation that they are doing it all right. So, we have started putting a sticker on papers that we feel they have put their best effort into.

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    1. I love this idea!! I am going to pick up some stickers this weekend. Giving a mark on a paper for EFFORT is brilliant!

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  3. Love this! Nolan is the same way about his papers- he wants A's. I too have had many a conversation about mastering material and that it is okay to fail - it is how we learn. We don't fail and walk away, we fail and try, try, again!

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  4. I really love the A,B,C,D,E theme! And I totally agree that we can expect excellence without expecting perfection.

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We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!