Perfectionism often keeps us from action. So, here are some ideas of how to let go of perfectionism in homeschool.
Let me ask: can you relate to the following senario?
You have great ideas for what you want your kids to do. You want to teach a well thought out lesson on a topic. Your children will love it. At the end of it, you will have a great project for them to show off all they have learned. You won’t get distracted mid project and there will be no hang ups and your children will all be getting along.
But there is never a good time to start the project. You just need more resources. (The right book, or the right art supplies, or even time – you name it).
So, you never do the project. Then, you fill guilty about it. In fact, you don’t study the topic at all. Better not do anything, than do it imperfectly.
Can you relate?
Here are a few examples in my personal life.
Example 1 – Money & Presidents
I’ve been wanting to a great blog post on how to use money as a history lesson. But I haven’t had time to think it all through. What all could we include? I’m not sure. So, I haven’t started the article. Oh, and when is a good time to get it all out and analyze it?
Well, if you focus on conversation as a primary tool for education, then you don’t have to have lots of time. We don’t need to do some elaborate project. Instead, the conversation happened in the drive thru today. I asked my daughter to hand me some money. She counted out exact change. Then, I asked her whose picture was on the coins and dollar bills. We sang the history song about George Washington. I asked her (looking at nickel) what is Thomas Jefferson known for. She started rapping from Smart Songs – “Thomas Jefferson bought Louisiana, under James Monroe, the War of 1812 began-a.”
Those two minutes of conversation in a drive thru line are not a fail. They are a win! A few quick connections, without getting out paper, without taking a lot of time, and its something we can build on later.
And a few interesting things came out of the conversation. She noticed that one of the pennies was “weird.” It was a wheat penny. I explained to her that they are not as common, because they are older. I read the date: 1954. “Is that in your time period, mom?” “No, it is not.” We had a chance to notice differences on coins.
Maybe someday I will show her my small coin collection and do in depth, for today, it is fine and no need to feel like we need more.
Example 2 – Nature Observation
For all my blogging about nature, our journals are sad. I’m not sure my kids even know where they are. I really do focus more on observation and conversation. It’s bonus if it gets recorded. And we often loose what we record.
So, I would say, attempt and it’s okay if its not perfect. The process of observing is important. So, go ahead and start your calendar moon chart. Chart the moon every day for a month. Know that you will probably miss a few days (you forget or when you do check, the moon is not out!). And its okay that you don’t start on the first day of the month.
Example 3 – Advent Celebrations
The internet is full of creative and elaborate ideas for countdowns to Christmas and advent activities. I have in the past tried out Jesse trees or other ideas and we don’t follow through. But it’s okay because we did read Scripture and have valuable conversations. That is not wasted time or a fail. The teaching that did happen is great!
So, for all of you struggling with perfectionism and quitting before you start, I want to encourage you to enjoy the process of teaching and conversing with your kids. The “finished project” need not be perfect. There might not even be any physical product to show off. Just keep it simple and intentionally create connections for your kids through conversation.
Side note: Read Finish by Jon Acuff. It’s what spurred me on to launching this blog. I need to share what’s on my heart and not wait for everything on here to be perfect or “good enough” for people to read.