I’ve been asked about homeschooling quite a bit lately, and while the questions vary somewhat, there are 4 concerns that seem to keep popping up. Honestly, they where concerns I still had even after I started homeschooling. Thankfully, going into 5th year of homeschooling – Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already! – I’ve come to embrace these 4 simple truths, and it’s taken off so much of the pressure I put on myself to be the “perfect” homeschool momma, so I thought I’d share these 4 things you should know before homeschooling.
1) YOU CAN TEACH YOUR KIDS – Seriously. Homeschooling is no different than parenting. Not to mention, you’re going to have to help with homework anyway. Honestly, from what my friends and family with kids in school tell me, it takes me the same amount of time each day to get through all our school lessons as it does for them to get through their homework, and at least this way, I have the teachers manual, so I’m able to look through the lessons and see the correct answers. If you still don’t know how to do something, there’s always Google, YouTube, Pinterest, forums, Facebook groups. The math curriculum we use even comes with a DVD of the the curriculum’s creator teaching the lessons, and you can call and speak with someone if you are still having trouble. Most of the curricula, I have looked at has this type of support.
2) THERE WILL BE HARD DAYS -Really hard days. I think a lot of homeschool parents start with the fantasy of every day going smoothly with the kids quietly reading together while you prepare a healthy, home cooked meal in your nice clean house – because of course, those sweet little homeschooled darlings will love nothing more than helping with chores without you even having to ask…Oh, sorry. Am I the only one who fantasizes about that? And yes, there will be days like that. There will be those absolutely priceless moments when you get to see them master something they’ve been struggling with. You get to see that look on their face when finally, the light bulb lights up – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But most days – ah, most days – there will be crying, yelling, stomping feet, slammed doors, thrown books – and don’t even get me started on the kids. You’re going to make mistakes, doubt yourself, want to pull your hair out, lie awake at night wondering if you’ve ruined them for life, but you won’t have. I promise. Because just like parenting, homeschooling is a journey, and if God has called you too it, He will bring you through it. Whether you are a seasoned homeschooler or just starting out, I highly recommend Teaching From Rest: A Homeshooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. I recently read it and will most likely will be reading it at least once a year from now on. It is filled with tons of great insights.
I also absolutely loved this post entitled “The Truth About Homeschooling” by Life of a Homeschool Mom. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more accurate description of homeschooling. Again, seasoned or brand new I really recommend you give it a read – after finishing this article of course. 😉
3) SOCIALIZATION – Oh lawd! Don’t even get me started! This is quite the joke among homeschool families, and all I can say is: since when does forced association = socializing? And since when are you only socializing when it’s with people of your own age?
I just had too… lol
Seriously though, all of the homeschooled children I know – and yes there are a lot – are quite well adjusted socially. My children can hold a conversation with anyone from my one year old niece to my 90 year old great grandmother.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I do feel compelled to tell you that we did recently go to a dance birthday party, and in a room full of first graders, my kids were the only three that didn’t know how to whip + nae nae. I know, I know…gasp! Total parenting fail, right??
But you know what?
They didn’t miss out on anything. They “socialized” just fine with all the other kids, AND they also carried on conversations with the parents that were there that they had never even met before. Not to mention, while all the other kids were doing a dance someone else had thought up…mine were out on the dance floor creating their own. And, I’m good with that – happy about it actually.
Also, it took them, like, all of 10 seconds of watching the other kids to catch on, soooo…. I’m thinkin’ we’re good on the socialization front.
4) THERE IS NO PERFECT CURRICULUM – PLEASE! I beg of you! Just, trust me on this one. You have no idea the time, energy, and money you will save yourself if you just accept the fact that it isn’t out there. Finding the right curriculum is like finding the right house. No matter how good a fit it is for your family, there will most likely always be things you wish you could change. That doesn’t mean you chose the wrong one – just that nothing is going to be perfect.
My suggestion is if a curriculum is working for the most part, but you wish it could be better, stick with it for the rest of the year. Follow through with it while searching for something similar that addresses the things you wish you could change about what you are already doing. Write out a list of what you like about the curriculum and what you don’t. Do the same with any other curriculum you are considering. If you can’t find one that you like equally AND will solve the issues you don’t like, what’s the point of jumping to something else? Ask for ideas on how you can tweak it and adjust whatever isn’t working for you family.
As I mentioned earlier, there are forums, Facebook groups, etc, but you don’t even have to ask other homeschool parents. Ask your friends and family for ideas. Ask your friends on Facebook. Just because they aren’t homeschoolers themselves, doesn’t mean they won’t have ideas on how to solve the problem.
Cathy Duffy Reviews is an EXCELLENT website to get thorough reviews on just about every curriculum out there. You can also download samples of most curricula from their website so you can look over the actual lessons and decide whether you think it will work for your family.
BONUS TIP (because I just thought of this one and already made the graphic that says 4 and I’m not changing it! lol)
IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES – I could go on about this for days – well I could on on about a lot of things for days, BUT anyone who is putting in an effort at attempting ANYTHING is going to make mistakes. You think (conventional school) teachers don’t make mistakes? This past weekend, my sister-in-law was telling me how annoyed she was with her daughters homework folder because it made no sense and she could never figure out what needed to be done, so she sent a note to the teacher. The teacher responded saying she was sorry, but it was her first year and she was figuring things out as she went along and planned to make adjustments as she learned what worked best.
If it’s okay for them, then why wouldn’t it be okay for us – who we KNOW without a doubt our first priority is doing what’s best for our children.
So that’s it! That’s all I got for today.
What is your number 1 concern about homeschooling? And seasoned homeschool mommas (or dads) what would you add to the list?