Now I’M in Charge!

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Ten Days

We are at the end of Week 1:  Day 5 of the 10 Days of Ruling Your Curriculum.  I hope you are enjoying it and it is blessing your home with new ideas to take control and Rule Your Curriculum!  If you have missed a day, no worries – links to previous days are at the bottom of each post.

Today, I have a special guest…a Mom with children who have special requirements both in medical and learning areas.  Again, sit back, relax…and let this Mom help you with your questions and help you Rule Your Curriculum and Take Charge!

It has taken almost five years of homeschooling, but I’m finally in charge. No, it wasn’t the kids that were the problem. They have been pretty good about settling down for “school time” with me. The real problem was that I was a slave to the curriculum. Even though my years as a classroom teacher taught me that you never have enough time to finish the curriculum, when I began to homeschool I determined that we would finish the curriculum each year, even if it meant tacking lots of extra days onto the end of our school year.

Honestly, we still finish the curriculum most of the time (without going over our 180 days), but now I don’t do it at the expense of my children’s hearts. I’m ashamed to admit to the number of times I have pushed my kids, who were in tears, to finish their lessons because that’s what we were supposed to do that day.

Janes Girls

No more. Not long ago I realized just how much I’ve grown and taken charge of our homeschool. My younger daughter is a struggling learner. She has several diagnoses that indicate that her brain works differently and also has health issues that have an impact on her overall level of functioning. She was having a bad day recently and just couldn’t get everything to come together to do her reading practice. This wasn’t a case of not wanting to do the work or being rebellious. She was really trying, but her brain wouldn’t cooperate. In the past, I would have pushed her to continue so I could say we “finished.” Both of us would have been frustrated and in tears, most likely. That day, I set aside the book she was working on, told her we would work on it tomorrow, and had her choose a book for me to read to her. She got a book, came back and climbed onto my lap, and we read together. We both enjoyed the time together and the story. And guess what? The next day we went back to the “failed” lesson, and she did fine!

Take Charge

The same week, my older daughter experienced some heart issues. She has always been very independent, but that week it became obvious that she didn’t have a teachable spirit. I decided I wouldn’t work with her until her attitude changed, and she quickly realized that without some guidance and instruction, she wouldn’t learn anything. Rather than letting it go at that and just finishing her lessons, we went into her room and spent a beautiful time together, searching Proverbs for verses about receiving instruction, confessing our faults to one another and to God, and asking Him to forgive us and to help us both start anew. I’m not perfect either, and I admitted to her that I can’t live the life He calls us to live by myself. Later, the work got done, but even if it hadn’t, our hearts and our home were more at peace because we took that time.

Remember Why You Homeschool

I don’t handle every situation as well as I handled these, but I find myself doing things like this more and more when I remember why I homeschool. One reason I wanted to homeschool is to spend time with my children, building a relationship with them that will leave them secure in my love for them and God’s bigger love for them so that they will be able to confidently go out and do what God calls them to do, knowing that they have the love and support of their parents and the help of God to accomplish it.

How do you make sure you’re in charge of your curriculum?




As a daughter of the King of kings, Jennifer is a Princess who loves God and her family. She adores the color purple, pens with blue ink, and spending spare moments reading and writing. You can follow her journey at Jennifer A. Janes or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook

Enjoy All of the 10 Days of Ruling Your Curriculum series..



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  1. Jennifer, I love that you’re learning to follow your kids. It’s a tough line to know when to push and help them stretch and knowing when to back off the day or a season.

  2. kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing says:

    What encouraging and wonderful words from you today Jennifer! I love that you are cognizant of your children’s needs. How can we guide them properly if we aren’t fully in tuned with their needs? Fabulously inspiring – thought provoking post. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Kelli! I appreciate the encouraging words. I try to be in tune, but that’s a full-time job by itself! I recently had my older daughter start keeping a journal so that we can discuss how she’s feeling about things. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes I write back.

  3. I can so relate. I don’t know how many times last year I pushed and pushed my son with reading. Every single time I either yelled or just got more stubborn that we were going to finish this lesson. And, every single time we both cried. When I backed offed and prayed and relaxed and let him relax it has been amazing and he asks now, “Mom, are we really done already, that was fun?” There are still days that come when it is not smooth and like you said on those days it is better to walk away and do something else than to push it.

    I love the story about searching Proverbs. I hope that as our journey of homeschooling continues I can remember to do similar things, by searching God’s word for direction and not going with my opinions.

    • Thanks, Kelli! I’m glad to hear that your son’s reading lessons are going better now. It is a struggle, and it can be so hard to know when to back off and when to nudge them forward a little more. It sounds like you’re doing a great job striking that balance.

      That Proverbs moment was divinely inspired. I don’t come up with that stuff on my own! I’m praying that I’ll continue to be sensitive to the Spirit so that I’ll have more Spirit-led parenting moments like that!

  4. Jennifer, I sometimes think that being a certified teacher is one of the biggest hang-ups I have with homeschooling! I so get caught in that “school” trap so often! It is important to remember why I am doing this. That those times when I chat about heart issues are far more important than the times I teach about math or reading or any other subject. The hard part is, the heart isn’t “grade-able” and you can’t check it off a list!! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

    • You are SO right, Michelle! I honestly think that my teacher training is part of what made homeschooling so difficult for me! (Many people think it would make it easier, but that’s just not so.) I am learning to relax and deal with the heart issues and have those heart talks more frequently. It makes everything go more smoothly, and we still get lots of work done too!

  5. Jennifer, I so agree with you and one of the previous commenters. I was a classroom teacher, as well, and I find it to be a real handicap. When people hear that I am a homeschooler they usually comment, “oh, you were a teacher, that’s why you can do it.” I want to shout at the top of my lungs, “No, it has made it all the harder!” Your post really convicted me, too. I feel that I have pushed because it is what I was “supposed” to do, or because they “should” finish a certain amount of work. I need to continue to work on de-programming myself from the brainwashing of college and the classroom and continue to focus on making school a loving and fun learning envrionment! Many blessings, Lisa