As a homeschool mom, you’ve probably perused dozens of homeschool self-help books, read countless how-to blog posts, and sought counsel from other moms—all in search of homeschooling wisdom.
But did you know that some of the world’s greatest writers also have wisdom to impart to the homeschool mom? As the end of another school year draws nigh, here are 5 lessons great writers can teach you, whether things are going well, or you’re just ready to be done.
1. Zap clutter
Great writing stylist William Strunk told writers to get rid of clutter. “Omit needless words!” Strunk wrote in his classic, The Elements of Style.
Clutter is not just in our writing; it’s in our homeschool. It’s in that unorganized bin of second grade math tests, in the box of stray puzzle pieces, and on the shelves that store curriculum we never used. Take some advice from Will Strunk: if clutter is bogging down your homeschool, get rid of it. Omit needless stuff!
2. Everyone loves a story
You know Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest American presidents. But Lincoln was also a great storyteller. He learned the art of storytelling as a young man; he learned how to spin a good yarn from his father, who actually did not like books and learning. “That reminds me of a story,” Lincoln would often say. Storytelling lifted Lincoln's spirits and the spirits of those who heard his stories.
If you are in the end-of-year homeschool doldrums, open up a good story and read aloud to your kids. Reading together helps make connections and memories. Stories will lift their spirits, just as they did for Lincoln and his listeners.
3. Awaken wonder
Nature writer Rachel Carson wrote about how important it was for parents to awaken their children's sense of wonder. “I believe that for the child, and for the parents seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel,” Rachel wrote. Carson believed that once the emotions had been aroused, the wish for knowledge would follow.
Even if resources are scarce, even if your kids do not want to finish that grammar curriculum, you can still “look up at the sky—at its dawn and twilight beauties, its moving clouds, its stars by night.” If you show wonder at any given subject, your children will follow your lead.
4. It’s alright to be anonymous
Many people today love Jane Austen novels. Indeed, she is one of the most famous authors in British literature. The interesting thing about Jane is that she published all of her works anonymously. It was only after she died at age forty-one that her brother revealed her as the author. She was not famous in her own lifetime.
Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your identity under the heaps of laundry, piles of dirty dishes, and stacks of worksheets? You are not alone. But rest assured that, while your life as a homeschool mom many not bring you immediate glory, it will bear fruit in ways you might not see right now. So, take a lesson from Jane: it’s alright to be anonymous.
5. Fight through the hard times
“We shall fight on the beaches,” Winston Churchill told the House of Commons after the battle of Dunkirk. “We shall not flag or fall. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans…we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.” Churchill believed his empire was worth fighting for at all costs, even though he knew harder times were to come.
We don’t know the hard times you’re facing in your homeschool. Maybe it’s a learning disability or a strong-willed child or depression. Maybe it’s a child who does not want to be homeschooled anymore. Whatever it is, know that home education is worth fighting for, even through the hard times. Get help. Talk to a friend. Fight on.
In our soon-to-be released writing curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers, we have in-depth profiles of all these great writers and many others. We believe great writers—their lives, literature, and legacies—have so much to teach us about success in both writing and life. We can’t wait to share it with you!