Before we begin a brand new school year with our children, we have to take some time to examine the strengths and weaknesses, both in our children and in ourselves!
In Part 2 of my How to Homeschool series, I am discussing ways to examine those strengths and weaknesses, including what to look for in different areas like character and academics.
If you missed Part 1 of this series, I told you why you should always begin with the end in mind. Be sure to start there if you missed it. And if you haven’t gotten your free cheat sheet to fill out as you listen through this series, grab that now before you go any further!
Your child is unique
The Bible tells us in Psalm 139:13-16:
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
I want to start by saying that your child (and you) are special. God has created each of us to be unique. There is truly not another you in the world!
When we begin to assess our child’s strengths and weaknesses, we have to keep in mind that we are flawed humans. The Bible says we are like the grass that is here but for a moment. We are weak and frail.
We can’t know everything there is to know or even do what we should do without failing.
And that is very important when we think about our children because sometimes we expect more of them than they are able to give. And what we call a weakness might simply be a frailty because they are a human.
I challenge you to see your child as you see yourself; as someone who is learning and growing, and most of the time, just doing the best they can.
How to examine strengths and weaknesses?
When you spend a lot of time with your children, as you will if you homeschool them, all kinds of weaknesses are going to make themselves very apparent, very quickly.
You will see weaknesses in your child that maybe you didn’t know were there and you will certainly see things in yourself that you didn’t expect. Children tend to bring out parts of ourselves that surprise even us.
To begin, think about some of the things your child is good at. Write them in the space on the cheat sheet. Is your child-
- academically gifted?
- great at sports?
- everybody’s best friend?
- at ease in a kitchen or with younger children?
Where does your child excel? Write down 4-6 things your child is especially good at.
Now, think about where your son or daughter struggles. Does your son struggle with reading aloud? Does your daughter struggle with being kind to her siblings? Does your child struggle with simple math? Do they struggle with complaining?
You know your child better than anyone, so think of 1-2 areas where they could use some extra help and jot those down in the space on the cheat sheet.
keep it short and sweet
Here’s what you don’t want to do; you don’t want to make a list of everything about your kid that bugs you. Please don’t do that.
Jot down one or two things that you want to work on with them. And list 4-6 things that they are really good at. This accomplishes two things:
- It ensures that if your child finds your list, they feel built up instead of hopeless.
- It limits what you try to work on.
You wouldn’t like it if you found a list your spouse made of all of your weaknesses so show your children the same kindness.
Now, how about you?
You’ve taken a few minutes to jot down your child’s strengths and weaknesses and you have an idea of where you need to head to begin working on some things. But what about you?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you smart but not kind?
- Do you love teaching your kids or are you scared to be responsible for teaching them?
- Is your relationship with your children strong or are you living completely separate lives?
- Do your children trust you? Do you trust them?
If you’re brave, print out a cheat sheet for yourself and list your own strengths and weaknesses on there. And again, don’t beat yourself up!
As moms, we can list our weaknesses all day long but we are awful at listing our strengths. I want you to really think through what you’re good at and if you can’t come up with at least 3-5 things, ask your spouse or your best friend or your mom. And then list just 1-2 weaknesses that you want to work on.
Now we’re getting somewhere
Now that you have your lists, you can formulate a plan. You know where you’re starting and what the stumbling blocks are going to be.
One word of caution here- we aren’t necessarily trying to turn our child’s weaknesses into strengths. Remember, our child is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that includes all their strengths and all their weaknesses. What we want to do instead is just help them shore up those weaknesses a bit.
Your child will never be good at everything. Be patient with their weaknesses and shortcomings. This is not a plan to attack your child or turn them into something you think they should be.
This is a plan to highlight the way God made them and help them grow in character and in humility.