This year has been riddled with homeschool failure, and you know what? Now that most of it is behind us, I’m glad it happened. I might even go as far as saying I like a little bit of failure sprinkled throughout the year. There are some lessons I wish I would have learned before we started high school, but some things were good for both Kira and me after all is said and done. So, what happened?
In the Beginning
This is Kira’s first year in high school, and that means I’ve been more strict about making sure assignments are done within a reasonable amount of time. In years past, I would just check over what she completed and make sure it was at 80% or higher, but I didn’t have any comprehensive plan written down. I’ve learned that some things were falling through the cracks, and those habits continued this year as well.
So, blah blah blah, what does that mean? Kira failed first quarter. I mean, an F across the board. Things just weren’t getting turned in, she wasn’t prioritizing her time, and even after giving her a full week to catch up with nothing else assigned, nothing new was turned in. She came to me heartbroken, asking if she was going to fail 9th grade. I told her honestly that it’s far too early to determine that, but just because I’m her mom, that doesn’t mean she’s going to get a pass no matter what.
That failure was the best thing that happened to us. She now works hard to keep her grades up, and gets excited as she inches closer to the grades she wants. She’s always been great in school, and been told she’s a star student, and she is. It just took a nudge to figure out that sometimes we have to prioritize our time a bit differently.
Have said before that I’m the queen of inconsistency? (The answer is yes. Many times.) I hate it about myself, but I’m awful at following through with doing something for an extended period of time. Checking school work each week turned to every other week, turned to once a month, turned to… I don’t want to admit how long it’s gone. I’m still trying to figure out how to get a fire under my backside to stay on top of grading work – a task I dread and I find incredibly boring. I can’t blame Kira for late work two months after she was supposed to turn it in. I’m afraid she’s probably picked up some of my bad habits, though that’s not reason enough to let it slide.
I know one thing, though. Next year I will definitely be putting less things on my schedule, and hopefully outsourcing more of Kira’s classes. I need more down time in order to prioritize the tasks I dislike. Really, when I’m overwhelmed or drained, I just don’t make the time for things I don’t like to do.
We both knew logically that Kira wasn’t going to pass all of her CLEP and DSST exams, but it’s always hard to hit the first one, and one that we both felt really confident in her abilities! Kira took the CLEP College Mathematics this past week and was so close to passing, but still no go. It was disappointing, but you know what we learned? Confidence is not always key when it comes to credit by exam. You have one shot (in six months) to get it right, so you better be ultra prepared. Instead of walking in thinking you know enough to pass, it’s better to walk in feeling like you could ace the exam. That way, if it takes you by surprise, you have some wiggle room to still pass.
So many people say, “Alhamdulilah (Praise God) for everything” when they are in troubling times. Really, it’s true. This year has been the most failure we’ve faced in one homeschool year, but it has also felt like one of the most successful years. It finally feels like we are getting a great routine with each other, Kira’s learning a lot, and I’m not getting frustrated. Though the failures have been real, the successes far outweigh the failures. Alhamdulilah for the failures, otherwise we wouldn’t know how to get to the next step.
Barbara Hoyer says
I struggle with being consistent, too with my kids homework. The hardest times are when I’m overwhelmed with lots of events and commitments. I always feel bad like I’m letting my kids down.
Thanks for sharing at Motivation Monday!
I want to thank you for being so honest about why you felt you failed during your school year. I, myself, am a creature of inconsistency. I always have great intensions but rarely follow through. This is really evident in our school years. I have three children and I feel I am teaching them this terrible trait of mine. Your article/post has been very uplifting to me. So many times you read these posts that the home school parent seems to be so put together and their schedules seem to be so precise. I don’t ever wish to be like someone else but when I read these posts I sure feel bad about how we do things. Again, thank you for your honesty and for being uplifting to those of us who need a little nudge.
Shannen Espelien says
I really appreciate your comment. Thank you. Sometimes homeschooling is really hard, and I think it’s just fair to share that if we’re going to share the good times, too. Thank you again for your sweet comment.
Susan W says
Thank you for sharing with the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog hop! We start homeschooling high school in the fall. I know it’s not going to be perfect and it helps to know others survive and grow from the challenges we face as homeschooling families.
High school is just a transitional time for both parents and students. 9th grade was one of the hardest for all of our children as it was the year we turned their schooling over to them. We placed all the material that was to be covered in front of them and let them schedule it out and be responsible for the work, grading and reworking as needed. We handled the tests only.
It was tough on all of them, and overwhelming for a few. Stepping up and learning to manage your time and responsibilities against the desires of teenagers is a great skill.
Shannen Espelien says
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’m hoping to hand over more of the responsibility to my daughter this upcoming year, and the following year the plan is she’ll start taking some classes at the local community college. Thanks again for stopping by!
Alhamdulillah, this was good to read. It’s a good real world life lesson to know you can fail so pick up the pieces for next time.
Shannen Espelien says
It is, alhamdulilah. For both of us. 🙂
Abu Huda says
As boring as it seems and as repetitive as you might have heard it, building routines in your kids is the secret to a successful education.
Think of it like prayer, first you teach it, then you follow it up, then what do you do afterwards?
You let the child do it by herself.
This applies to anything in life.
This is why some schools are successful as well as some homeschoolers; they know how to build it.
Build the idea of routinizing everything and in time you’ll save your …
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!! I am googling every search I can possibly think of this evening in hopes of finding SOMEONE. Willing to admit this is hard and we ARE FAILING AT IT. I don’t know, why. Maybe I hoped someone had the magic formula to follow. I wish there were “Guidance Counselors” available for home schooling parents and their kids. I am feeling like my husband and I are spoon-feeding our three teenage boys and they don’t want to eat! YOUR voice is the one I stumbled upon this evening in my search. Thank you for being real…I felt myself start to breathe again, and even start to release the tears I have held back. You didn’t just share the frustration and failure…you reminded us that failure is not bad. We try so hard to avoid pain that we forget the biggest spurts of growth often follow those moments of pain and discomfort. So, I look forward expectantly now. This is good. Good change will come out of this. Thank you!
Shannen Espelien says
I’m so glad you found what you were looking for. I always hesitate to complain or write of our struggles because then why would people visit the site? I wish we had guidance counselors, too. Goodness, the lack of oversight in our state is freeing and terrifying at the same time.
If it makes you feel better, my daughter is now in community college finishing off her last two years of high school and doing well. I think our struggles we went through helped her see the big picture, and see when she’s taken too much on her plate. This semester she withdrew from a class early on because she could tell it was going to drag down the rest of her grades to try to even pass it. I was really proud.