When I was a newbie homeschooler in 2007 I had no clue what I was getting myself into but I knew that I felt very strongly against placing my 5 year old in public school. It just didn’t rub me the right way.
Today, 12 years later, I realize the calling to homeschool was there for a reason…well, many reasons. Most of it has to do with academic excellence and more suitable learning environment. I was pretty certain and convinced of my “why” when it came to homeschooling, but it took me a very long time to wrap my brain around the “how”.
On this week’s video I share some specific things I wish I had known as a newbie homeschooler.
Watch the video
As a newbie homeschooler, know that you will change.
This seems so simple, yet it is profound. You won’t stay the same. The longer you homeschool, the more you will change. You will grow, mature, change your mind about certain ideas, open your mind to new ones. It’s all part of the growth process.
Your children will change.
Whether we want them to or not, children grow up. Just like we mature, so do they, and their ideas and thought processes will change. The way they approach school and their studies shifts with their academic climate and social circles. Their academic needs go through metamorphosis as they grow intellectually, emotionally, and even physically. Everything and everyone changes.
You will like switch curriculum several times.
This is perfectly okay to do. It took me a really long time (and several tries at different curriculum) to understand that I didn’t have to feel guilty. It’s okay to experience a mid-semester homeschool change, or beginning of the school year change, or any change for that matter! Change is inevitable.
Many homeschoolers change curriculum like we change clothes, trying on different publishers until we find the perfect fit. In my experience I have never met a homeschool family who hasn’t changed curriculum at least a minimum of 3 times. Expect curriculum change to happen more often the more kids you have and the more subjects you select for them as they get older.
You will be tempted to compare.
Comparison is a homeschooler’s worst nightmare. As mama bears, we tend to want to protect our children but we also want to advance them. So if you are part of a homeschool coop, a park group, or academic group, you’ve probably experienced at some point the temptation to compare your kids with the others in the room. It’s hard not to.
What I encourage moms to do is embrace acceptance. I love what Tanya from Project Happy Home says about parenting emotionally complex kids during the holidays. She lets us know how important it is to embrace our kids’ differences and make others do the same. Complete acceptance= letting others know “this is who my kids is”. No apologies necessary.
In this way, we are less likely to feel the need to keep up and compete. It’s not about how awesome another family is at getting their kids to memorize a long list of facts, but it’s about focusing on our own kids’ needs and celebrating their milestones, no matter how big or small.
Sometimes it will feel like a struggle, but it’s all worth it.
Yes, you will struggle. Yes, you might cry. No, the journey won’t be perfect. You might begin homeschooling with a lot of faith and excitement. Midway through the school year (or maybe just a few weeks in!) you realize you don’t feel qualified or cut out to do this “homeschool thing”.
We all feel this way sometimes. Every homeschool mom gets discouraged sometimes.
But at the end of the day, whether you are a newbie homeschooler that chooses to homeschool for a few months, a few years, or the entire k-12 lifespan of your kids’ academic years, if you homeschooled because you care for our kids, love them, and want the best for them, then you did a great thing.
It is all worth it.