If you’re considering homeschooling or you’ve only just begun, I want you to be encouraged.
These things that I wish I had known before we started on this incredible journey are hard. In our first couple of years, my visions of peaceful, joyful, perfect school days were often painfully replaced with reality. But now I have learned, and continue to learn, the truth about homeschooling.
The truth is, it’s the most exhausting, beautiful, stretching, and rewarding adventure that looks nothing like I thought it would but is actually so very much better. With a little bit of experience under my belt, it is time to pass along some wisdom I wish someone had passed along to me all those years ago, in hopes that you’ll be more prepared as you forge ahead on this beautiful calling.
6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Homeschooling
“It’s totally normal to feel like a complete failure.”
Every homeschooling parent has been there. I think it’s safe to say that every parent has been there! But with homeschooling, there’s this nagging concern that you’re not teaching your kids enough, or you’re missing some key part of their education, or you’re just completely messing them up. Let me just tell you right now that you are doing a wonderful job. You love those kids of yours, you’re doing your best, and they will grow up well loved and educated. Remember that on the hard days.
“The days do not often go exactly as planned.”
To be completely honest, they almost never do. But if you’re homeschooling, that probably means you’ve been a parents for at least a handful of years so you already know this. I just had in my head that somehow schooling would be different. Even though I could never complete my to-do list before we started up homeschooling, I was convinced we’d knock everything off our curriculum to-do list every day. Maybe I thought we simply had to because otherwise I might be a failure. I was wrong.
Sometimes the greatest and most memorably fun school days are the ones that totally veer off course and send us all down a rabbit trail of educational adventure. Sometimes it’s just a bad day. And that’s ok!
“You will likely scrap your entire plan at some point in the middle of a school year.”
The curriculum that your friend swears by just might not be working in your home. The schedule you painstakingly worked out for the entire school year is now so far behind there’s just no catching up. The math curriculum is much too easy for your 9 year old and you need to find something more challenging. There’s all sorts of reasons why things might need to be changed up at some random point in the school year. But that is actually the beauty of homeschooling! It’ll take some trial and error, but you can tailor your school day around what works best for your family.
“Homeschooling looks different from family to family.”
You simply cannot compare your kids, your schedule, your life to anyone else. You, your kids, and your family as a whole is unique. What works perfectly for that family at co-op might not work at all for you. Getting advice and tips from fellow homeschool mamas is very important, but use that advice to help you, not to dictate how you do things. Relish the fact that God gave you your kids for you and they simply aren’t meant to fit any other mold.
“Housework and homeschooling have to work in tandem.”
Caring for a household and homeschooling are two full time jobs. We homeschooling parents really are amazing. Of course it really isn’t possible to keep up with these two full time jobs separately without totally losing our minds. You’ll often feel like you have to choose between schooling and cleaning or cooking. And sometimes you will. But remember that training our kids how to do household chores is a major bonus of homeschooling! Working together as a family to maintain the home is a must. Choosing to let the dishes go for just a bit longer to read with your child is also a must. You may never actually find that perfect balance. I sure haven’t! But make progress toward it, and give yourself lots of grace along the way.
“You cannot do it alone.”
Just because you spend most of your days home with just the kids doesn’t mean that homeschooling is a loner job. Reach out for support from your spouse, from your fellow homeschooling parents, from your family, from your church, and most importantly from God. You need a tribe to lean on, learn from, cry with, and share victories with. You need prayer warriors and babysitters. We’re all together on this amazing journey of homeschool, fumbling our way through, lifting each other up.
Welcome to this exhausting, beautiful, stretching, and rewarding adventure called Homeschool!
What else would you add to this list of thing you wish you knew before starting your homeschool journey?
Written by Lara Molettiere of Everyday Graces Homeschool