Don’t Be Afraid to Change

Just thinking some more about the address given at my daughter’s university graduation a fortnight ago, the wise man giving the address told the young graduates that if they find that what they are doing has become so stressful that they are unhappy in their work they should not be afraid to move on.

I thought this was interesting as it was being said by someone who was looking back on his career, and he thought this was important enough to comment upon to the young adults at the beginning of their career. He must have observed both those who did make the change when needed and those who didn’t make the change.

It Takes Courage

He acknowledged that it would take courage, and possibly the loss of what he called, ‘temporary security of the position you are in’.  And he gave his reason for this belief; he said it was crucial to a good life to ‘be engaged in something you are passionate about, that makes you want to get up in the morning. It is not living a long life that is important but living each day well and fully.’

I wonder if you feel like that about homeschooling.  Engaged, passionate and part of what makes you want to get up in the morning.  And if you do, do you also see that if you live life in this way that will help your children to have the same passion and eagerness for life and learning? That, as a family, you will live ‘each day well and fully’?

Recognise the Gift

To live life in this way, it helps to first recognise that homeschooling is a gift and not a chore.  You are honoured to be able to do this; you are not saddled with it, sacrificing for God and your children.  You are privileged to be a mother in a home, providing an atmosphere of learning, peace and happiness.

Secondly, have an attitude to impart to your children that they are privileged to be able to learn in such an environment as a peaceful, opportunity-rich family. 

Thirdly, be prepared to make the changes necessary.  The parts of life which are stressful and unhappy can be changed. 

How to Change

The change you need might be something very small that can change your whole day.

  • It might be as simple as not reading a book/doing an activity with your child which is causing a problem of some sort.
  • Or the change might mean a complete rethink of a timetable, or of a curriculum you are using, or of a group you are attending. 
  • It might mean releasing an old friendship or a pet hobby if it is adversely affecting your homeschooling decisions. 
  • It might be a rethink on your attitude or a new perspective on your problem, so that you start to see the benefits and blessings of something. For example, if you were unhappy about not having a car to take the children to events and do shopping and errands during the day, it could be pretty stressful.  But focusing on the benefits might help you to remember that you don’t waste time driving around, you save money on fuel, your children are settled and peaceful at home, and you have more time to relax, do home things and enjoy family things.
  • Or it could be letting go of an old way of doing something in your family when it is no longer working for you.  Maybe the children are older, or a new baby has joined the family.  Or maybe, the ‘something’ has served its time and is now irrelevant.

In cases like these, it’s time to have the courage to let it go.  Move on, and make a wise and different choice for the future.

You’ll be glad you did.

Recommended Books

Good Stress, Bad Stress, DeStress… by Stephanie Walmsley.  A book written for homeschooling parents on the subject of stress, looking at causes, dangers and how to cope with stress, how to use stress to advantage, how to deal with technology stress and child stress.

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Never Too Late by John C Holt – the autobiographical story of how John Holt successfully made a change of direction and learned to play the cello when he was in his forties.

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Raymond & Dorothy Moore – has lots of tips and stories and examples of how to handle homeschooling and make suitable choices for your own family.

P.S. There is an extra 10% discount at The Book Depository on these books until the end of May 2011. Just click on the links and then add ‘May11’ (without the quotation marks) in the box on the checkout page. 

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Don’t Be Afraid to Change — 2 Comments

  1. Stephanie i loved your latest blog on Homeschool Family Life. from experience i can fully agree with what the man said in his speech.
    Not only did we sell everything we owned and move to another country in 1996 when my eldest was 2yr, and the next child 4 months, but at age 35 in 2001 my husband left his job and retrained for a new career completely unrelated to the one he left. At this stage of our lives with high debts from resettling in a new country and 3 children, it was risky giving up a salary and living on a student allowance, but what a privelledge to be able to get a degree at no cost (except a move to Invercargill from sunny Whangarei) – and what a blessing to have the opportunity to teach our kids how to rely on God for all your needs.
    Every so often i like to make a change. This term i have felt encouraged to put aside the text books and just do hands on teaching. We have made huge leaps forward in maths times tables and parts of speech that seem to have been a mental, tear filled block to my daughter with her textbooks. And the science experiments…well my daughter just can’t stop talking about them. She is so excited about schoolwork that she did her speech at toastmasters about all the new things she has learnt. One mother there seeing how excited she was about her schoolwork asked me to help her daughter with her ACE maths.

    When i told people last term that I was putting aside text books and doing only hands on teaching, i received the same looks as when i told people we were moving to NZ, Darren was giving up a good paying job and going back to study, we were shifting to “Inver Wopwops” …you know those looks – “should we report her to the authorities before those kids are too damaged to be saved “LOL

    But if we rely on God and seek Him in these changes we will find they are such a blessing. Our lives in NZ are 100x better than we ever could have imagined in SA. The move for my husband has freed him up time to spend with the kids and is far less physically demanding on his sore back. Where else but in Invers could we afford to live on 6 acres, in town on the bus route – the dream of owning some land and being self sufficient has been with us since our first child was born 19 yrs ago, and God provided it in town…

    Yes changes can be tough going and people think you are nuts, but with God anything is possible, and the friends who stick with you through these times are the true friends you always want by your side!

  2. Diane, What a story! You certainly gave up ‘temporary security’ and have been blessed for it. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring story.

    Stephanie 🙂

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