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Can you help me get over my guilt of not prereading my son’s books?

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Dear Carrie

Can you help me get over my guilt over not prereading my son’s books?

My son is starting World History next week. I ordered his things from Heart of Dakota last summer. I really meant to pre-read his books, but I haven’t been able to. Life has been so busy! We enjoy five Heart of Dakota guides in our home. I find it very manageable overall – having eight children is busy no matter what. However, I’ve always pre-read all of the books in the past. I’m feeling guilty. Not to mention, I truly LOVE reading all the books usually! They are excellent, and I enjoy the reading for ME. I just can’t seem to find the time this year. I thought about starting my son later, just so I can pre-read the books, but he’s ready to start and not willing to wait. He thinks the books look amazing too. Can you help me get over my guilt at not prereading the books? A strange question, I know, but it’s the one I have.


“Please Help Me Not to Feel Guilty About Not Prereading My Son’s Books”

Dear “Please Help Me Not to Feel Guilty About Not Prereading My Son’s Books,”

I believe that there are seasons in life and that each season has its own areas of focus. I didn’t have Heart of Dakota’s guides written for my oldest son. He was always ahead of my writing. As my oldest son was going through his homeschool years, I was too busy with babies, toddlers, work, church activities, meals, laundry, and the rigors of writing guides, etc. to have time to pre-read my oldest son’s books. I had to rely on others to do this for me, and I had to heed any warnings I found anywhere to help me. I skimmed the books as we did our lessons, but I quickly realized I could either teach or read, but I didn’t have time for both. You may be in a season like this now.   I see that you have a very full house with much on your plate. Prereading may be impossible.

Guilt is a joy-stealer.

As moms, we are so quick to bear the burden of guilt if we aren’t doing things to their fullest potential. I just wanted to encourage you today that guilt is a joy-stealer. I know, because I let it steal my joy many times. Still today, I continue to have to let things go in order to do the most important things. Just remember that as long as you lean on The Lord, He will fill-in our gaps. My oldest son is a very mature, thoughtful, steady, discerning, hard-working young man. He has grown so much in his faith simply by using much of what we’ve written, or testing much of it for us. He had a less than perfectly planned education with resources I was not able to pre-read thoroughly and still has thrived in spite of me!

Children need to be surrounded by excellent material that points them toward the Lord.

I believe that children need to be surrounded by excellent material that points them toward The Lord on a regular basis. The interaction with good material and God’s Word keeps their minds filled with those thoughts for much of the day. I believe that as homeschool parents we have time on our side, meaning that the sheer amount of time we spend together affords us opportunities all along the way to discuss and mentor our kids. This means that not every moment has to be spent in training and teaching every lesson to the fullest, because the moments through the years added all together will provide that needed time opportunity. As we move through our days I try to be aware of who needs what from me the most. This helps me stay focused.

Looking back to when my children were your children’s ages, I found a previous post of mine I will share a portion of here…

…This year my youngest really needs my time for phonics instruction. He also needs to learn to be kinder to his brother. I can see his heart is also tender toward The Lord. So, he needs encouragement to continue understanding The Lord as his Savior. I can see my next son needs my time for writing and proofreading what he writes. He also is coming into puberty and needs my time to understand his changing emotions and body. He is my sensitive child, so Resurrection to Reformation will need more monitoring for the warnings as he reads. Yet, I know from those tough readings fruitful discussions will come.

My next son is my creative child. He works very independently, so I need to make sure to draw him out. Our health discussions this year will be a priority for me to keep us close. Pilgrim’s Progress will be another area I really want to oversee. He is grappling with a deeper faith, and I want to encourage that. My oldest is ready to start online college classes. I know one-on-one discussions at opportune moments are necessary for him as he makes life-changing choices. So, those are my goals for my boys this year. Prereading their material, while a worthwhile goal, falls behind these focal points for me. I do realize my situation is different, because I have read the materials as I’ve planned the guides, however for my oldest son’s education that wasn’t the case…

As you can see from my past post, keeping goals for each child in mind diminishes guilt.

Keeping my most important goals for each child in mind when I begin a homeschool year helps me feel less guilty when I can’t do everything I personally want to do. I just keep my eyes on the most important things and steadily move forward. The guides contain warnings for anything I need to know about for the day, and I take heart in that. I try to remember that the plans are designed for the child to interact and think about things that point them toward The Lord and to give them a solid, academic education. If I just do what is planned in the guides each day, I feel good about completing that. I focus on the fact that time is on our side in the years ahead as we travel the homeschool path. Someday there will be another season, with different goals. For now, I am learning each day to be as content as possible in the season that I am undoubtedly in!


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