Are you thinking of homeschooling? Is this your first year homeschooling? Are millions of emotions running through your mind? Scared? Nervous? Excited? Eager? Hopeful? Confused? Happy?
If you're like me you have researched and researched until you feel like your brain can't hold anymore! You've pored over books and read numerous blogs to hear real life experiences. Even after all that "studying" you still have questions and doubts.
Jumping into the crazy world of homeschooling is scary, but very rewarding. When we started homeschooling, I thought it was going to be this amazing journey. My kids were going to love it! They were going to be eager little beavers ready for school all the time. They were going to love learning and LOVE doing their schoolwork. This was going to be fantastic!!!!
Then I woke up from my nice little dream. Nine years later, I have some advice for you newbies. I have to admit that there are times I still feel like a newbie. I can't believe I am considered a veteran in the homeschooling world. That just seem crazy. Over the last few years, I have learned a lot. Most of it has been through trail and error. We have had success and we have had failure. Homeschooling isn't just about the kids learning. Mamas learn too!
O.K. back to the advice...
#1~ Nothing Goes As Planned!
We all start out with rose colored glasses on. We picture our kids sitting at a table working diligently on their schoolwork with smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, that isn't how it always is. Homeschooling will change just like the seasons. In your homeschooling journey, your life will go through numerous changes. Some will be good, while others will not be. You may have a new baby join your family, a death of a family member, kids make get sick, friends may move, co-ops may end. The list is endless. We all know that life changes day to day. Nothing is constant except God's love. We need to remember that change is good. It's O.K. if your schedule gets mixed up a little (or a lot). Maybe you don't get through the entire spelling workbook no problem. Be flexible. Go with the flow. Children don't just learn through books. They learn from every day life too. For many of us, who went to the brick and mortar schools, this can be a difficult thing to do. Trust me!
#2~ Don't Do School at Home
By this I mean don't get stuck in the traditional idea of school. Learning just doesn't take place at a desk. Learning can happen all around. Family vacations, like my friend Chris @ Campfire and Cleats. Their family takes some amazing vacations and her boys have learned so much! Field trips, baking, games, and just living life! Don't worry if they don't finish everything. Learning is not a race. Work at their own pace.The great thing about homeschooling is you can spend time going over topics and subjects until they get it. Teaching children how to read and encouraging their love of learning is much more important than memorizing useless facts. I always tell my kids, if you can read, the world is limitless!
#3~ Be Willing to Make Some Changes
This is a big one. Just because a friend recommended it and you bought doesn't mean it will work for your kids. Please don't make your kids (or yourself) miserable by sticking with a curriculum that brings out the worst in everyone. It's never fun to homeschool when you are stressed out and everyone is on the verge of tears or are already crying. Trust me, it does happen! Just Let it go! I bet you just sung the song from Frozen didn't you...it's O.K. I did too.
Another point just because it worked for one kid doesn't mean it will work for the next one. Try to figure out how your child learns and work with that.
Here is a great website that gives an overview of the different styles. I'm sure your library has some excellent resources for you to read.
Remember, education isn't one size fits all.
#4 Don't Compare Yourself (or homeschool) to Others
Falling into this trap is easy and harmful. We have friends that seem to do it all. We see other moms on blogs who have the perfect kids, the most beautiful school rooms, endless field trips, and lots of wonderful curriculum. We need to remember that not everything is always as it seems. The mom who seems so put together and so amazing, may have a room where she hides dirty clothes, dishes, and clutter. The mom with the amazing school room may have kids who cry and fight when they sit down to do schoolwork. God blessed us all with certain qualities and abilities. Our kids are different. Our home life varies from family to family. We need to be our best for our family. We need to find what works for our kids, not what works for someone else's. God made us all special. If we focus on what works well for us and our families, we will succeed. In the end it isn't about the big fancy school room. It's about the love of learning we are able to pour into our kids. For me, it's about raising little saints.
#5~ The Kids Will Not Want to Do School
Kids are human! We have bad days, they have bad days. Math gets hard. Kids get frustrated. It's nice outside and the kids are fidgeting in their seats. When the day isn't going well, the best thing to do is find something else to. Watch an educational video, take a field trip, or take a walk and learn about nature. Find something fun to do. Play a board game, bake some cookies, or just head out for a play date. All of these things are learning too!
Don't miss the posts from the other ladies joining in on the Blog Hop!