When I was in 6th grade, my mom took me to the optometrist because I was getting headaches. Come to find out, my vision was pretty bad. I’m very near sighted and things are blurry until they’re about 6” from my face. I’ll never forget the day I got my glasses. I remember driving home in awe of the world around me. I said things like, “Wow there are individual leaves on the trees!” I could read street signs and signs on buildings. It was amazing! When my vision was clear, it made all the difference in the world for me!
Likewise, we need a clear vision for our homeschool. And maybe more importantly, our kids need a clear vision for themselves. Have you ever been motivated to do something you don’t really enjoy without knowing why you’re being asked to do it? It’s torture! And this is very often why kids will push back on us when we try to get them to do their school work.
Help Them Form Their Own Vision
So ask them what their vision is. Depending on their age, it may be pretty near-sighted. But ask them what they want in life. Do they want a nice house? A pet? What do they want to be when they grow up? What about sports or the arts, do they have any ambitions there? What about spirituality, do they have any ambitions there?
Once you know, help them make some plans and connections. A vision board is a great tool to help them remember what they want long-term. And remember, it’s not set in stone. These visions, or goals, can be ever-changing. You should revisit this process yearly. But help them see what they want and show them how to go after it. What kind of knowledge do they need to get there? How might they act differently having these goals rather than not?
An example of how this might be helpful.
My oldest son is very bright. But he wants nothing to do with math at all. And his vision, or his goals, don’t include any careers involving math. So he’s learned the basics that you need for everyday life, and I haven’t pushed him further because it would be a fight and he wouldn’t retain it because he has no desire to learn it. If he changes his mind someday, then I trust he will learn how to do more difficult math because then HE will want it, rather than it coming from me.
On the flip side, my second son wants a good job with good pay and wants to be in a field that includes a lot of math. He doesn’t love the time it takes to do the work, and he’s not jumping for joy when I say it’s time to do his math, but he does it without much of a fight. Why? Because I can remind him of HIS goals and vision for himself. And so he cooperates because it’s what he wants.
My Own Vision
Now as parents we can get caught up in our kids’ lives and all the business so that we don’t have much time for our own vision or goals. So I made myself a vision board to remind myself that I am my own person apart from my children and amazing husband, and I get to learn and grow as well. I made it on my computer so I could print it and hang it in a few places and it is a great reminder for me to stop sometimes and make a little room for myself in the schedule.
And the most important vision I believe we should have and remind ourselves of daily is that we are children of God. Recently my children have been awful to each other. So I decided that this month is no-tech November, which may run into December if they keep it up! But besides that we have made a greater effort to be in the scriptures, to pray more often during the day, to listen to music that points us to God, and to be more grateful and service oriented for those in and out of our home. I am constantly reminding my children of who they are and we talk about their vision for what they want to happen in the next life and how they want to feel when they meet their Savior. I tell you there is nothing that will help with poor behavior faster than having and keeping this vision of who you are and Whose you are.
I will end by saying it’s not magic, and it’s not perfect, but having a clear vision has significantly reduced the tension and push back I got before. It is creating more love for learning in my children, more love for each other as a family, and more joy in my life as I make time for the things that are important to me. If you haven’t already, talk with your children and help them have their own clear vision of the path they’re on and why. It might just change your life!