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Racing to the Finish

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By Beverly S. Krueger

For those that homeschool following a traditional school year, the end is in sight. Your kids are racing to the finish line trying to complete that last project, finish their math book and write that last essay, so they can spend all day every day doing exactly as they please. Doesn't sound like my house, you say? I agree. I've got only one that would count as sprinting toward the finish line. We have drifted toward schooling year round, so we don't actually fit the criteria. But Rachel is sprinting. She's a natural academic runner. Speeding along through each and every assignment finding very little she doesn't like to do. Of the four children I am homeschooling, she's the only runner. The fourteen-year-old doesn't want to do much of anything if it doesn't involve a computer or Nintendo. My sixteen-year-old is progressively completing high school requirements, but she's not zipping along as much as she is methodically plodding. Then there's the ten-year-old who decided to use the calculator to do his multiplication problems and has tried hiding in the laundry room to avoid his chores.

What's a Mom to do when that finish line is approaching and she's getting tired of the struggle to coax, encourage, prod, and push her kids towards it? Giving up isn't the answer, though it is often tempting. One mother I know has allowed her children to stop homeschooling, but since they wouldn't be attaining the skills for anything but menial work, she lets them start their new career immediately. A bucket of supplies and toilet brush in hand, they clean the bathrooms. When they finish, they clean them again, eight hours of bathroom cleaning each day until they get the message. She's giving her kids a reason to pursue their own education. One dose of bathroom cleaning won't last for years of homeschooling. But it should help your kids to begin to understand that they don't do homeschooling for you, they do it for themselves.

Helping kids realize that homeschooling is a stepping stone for the rest of their lives takes patience. There will be plenty of times when your kids will just not want to do what you think they should do. Your kids may think vegging in front of the television non-stop is the very pinnacle of daily life. When that happens, don't turn into a shrieking maelstrom of indignation, turn to the one who can change hearts and shine a light on the pathway through your problems. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for patience. Pray for wisdom. Pray for joy. And above all pray that the Holy Spirit would show you and your children where change is needed in attitudes or habits. Coaxing, encouraging, prodding and pushing can bring change in your children's lives, but nothing like the changes that the Holy Spirit can bring about when He shines the light of truth into their hearts. Let the Holy Spirit make the changes He wants in your life, ask Him to help your children, and leave the rest in God's hands.

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