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NAV: an acronym for a Non-Academic Victory, meaning a reason for celebrating, a win, a dose of encouragement for parents, unrelated to academics.

Homeschooling parents can often wonder if they are doing it all well enough. We wonder if our kids are excelling at a decent pace if they are learning all they need to know at the right time, if we are blind to weaker areas or if we will fit it all in at the proper times. It can all get so overwhelming sometimes. These are all valid and understandable concerns when you are the one primarily responsible for the education of one or more individuals. I will bet you a stack of hardback textbooks that we will continue to wonder if we are doing it correctly until they are successfully employed adults!

Recently, however, I have felt a big dose of parenting encouragement unrelated to education – a NAV, if you will. You see, my kids’ friends are dealing with pressures and stresses that haven’t made their way to our home yet. Technology-related distractions, wanting to date at 12 years old, catty-girl issues and other similar subjects are being hammered out around dinner tables. I loudly applaud the parents that are facing these topics head-on and trying their hardest to influence their kids positively. These topics arise in the home of any child, no matter the way they are academically educated.

My husband and I don’t homeschool to hide our kids from the yuck of what is out there, but it is a good side benefit of our educational set-up in the dining room. I am sure these burdens will enter our home eventually, but for now, we are content with keeping them at bay. My kids can learn in an atmosphere that benefits them the best, and despite the constant distraction from the cute baby brother, learning happens without the stress many kids face.

So, where do you see NAVs in your home? Homeschooling provides a nice way to slowly introduce our kids to the struggles the rest of the world faces, at a speed that is appropriate and wise for their ages and stages of development. Besides my previously mentioned NAV, what are other places we can watch out for more NAVs? What are ways we can score our homeschool journey other than by looking at grades and academics? Do you see your child enjoy a previously tough topic a little more? Have you seen the confidence grow because crowds aren’t watching?

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com