As we start our 9th year homeschooling, I wonder where all the time has gone. It feels like we just started homeschooling Michael. At the age of 3 (almost 4), when his cousin was starting Kindergarten, he wanted to start school so bad. He was starting to read and wanted to learn more, especially about dinosaurs. I looked around online, read resources from our local library, and jumped right on into this crazy world of homeschooling. I have to admit when we started doing Kindergarten at home I honestly didn't think we would continue the following year. We were just having fun and doing "school" at home. Next year, he would start kindergarten and ride the big yellow bus to school.
Well, when next year arrived, everything changed. Michael had continued to excel. He was fully reading and doing basic math. He thrived and loved learning at home. He didn't want to go to school. We had joined a small homeschool group and he had made friends.
So what is a mama to do?
I read everything I could on homeschooling. I had never really known anyone that had homeschooled but believed all the stereotypes about homeschoolers. You know the ones I'm talking about. That we are all extreme Christians, unsocialized, weird homeschoolers that wear denim jumpers and skirts all the time. O.K. I know that sometimes these things are true. Most of the time they are not. The funny thing is we fit into some of those stereotypes.We are devout Catholics and yes we wear skirts quite a bit. I'd say 90% of the time. However I do not own any denim jumpers.
I will say that homeschooling wasn't what I thought it was.
It's not school at home! It's so much more.
Homeschooling is creating a love of learning in your children.
It's finding out what they love to learn about and digging deeper.
It's letting them excel in areas that come easily to them, but working harder and at a slower pace in subjects that are more difficult for them.
It's curling up on the couch and reading great books together.
Creating science experiments in the kitchen that foam up, erupt, spill on to the table and drip onto the floor (and the dog).
Sharing walks down to the creek to explore the creatures and plants God created to fill this world.
When homeshooling you have tons of patience. Just kidding. We are not perfect and we do not have the patience of Job. We are most certainly not saints. Trust me it would be nice if we were.
Homeschooling isn't always easy. I'm not talking about the actually workload, but rather the dedication to keep doing it. Like any other job it can get tedious. You wake up some days and just dread the thought of having to teach your kids. Winter can be extremely hard, especially when you are snowed in and stuck inside for days. Every homeschooling mama experiences the dreaded homeschool burnout. You just have to figure out how to homeschool in a different way. Educational games, field trips, movies, computers, etc. One way we learned how to avoid homeschool burnout, is to take more breaks. We homeschool almost year round, but we take a week off every 7th week. Another blogger called it the Sabbath week. God created the world in 6 days and then rested on the 7th day. We apply God's way to our homeschooling. We homeschool for 6 weeks and then rest the 7th week. We have found this to be such a blessing for us.
I'll let you in on another surprising fact, we don't know everything! I know, I know that is such a shocker. That's why we read and do our own research. Critics will love to tell you that we could never teach our kids as well as a "real" teacher but I think they forget that teachers don't know everything either. No one knows everything and non one is perfect! I do know that I know my kids the best. After homeschooling both my kiddos for the past few years, I know how they learn, what motivates them, I see when they have doubts, and and I notice when they are starting to struggle. Homeschooling gives me the opportunity to teach them how they need to be taught. I can help them learn all they need to know in order to succeed in life!
Homeschooling is figuring out what works best for your kid and going with it. It's about having fun and learning together.
Here are just a few of the ladies joining in this week.
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Missica @ The Open Window: An Autism Blog
Misty @ Year Round Homeschooling
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
Clarissa @ Counting Our Blessings
Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Monique @ Living Life and Learning