If I had a nickel every time questioned our decision to homeschool I would be able have a fabulous shoe collection.
Let’s be honest about this. For a lot of people the idea of taking your child’s education out of the hands of the professionals is just CRAZY!
You know the really sad part? I spent 5 years in college, 10 years teaching ages Birth-2nd grade and I still get the “stank eye.” Do I not qualify as a professional?
They would be really surprised to know that I don’t think you have to be a professional teacher to homeschool your kiddos!!
And to be perfectly frank, my years of college didn't prepare me a whole lot for this kind of life.
If you are teachable and ready to jump in with little to no expectations (we are talking about major flexibility) you are a candidate to homeschool.
What you don’t need is intrinsic patience.
Come on. These are kids. None of us are that patient.
We just try and roll with the punches. Believe me. You will have plenty of opportunity to practice patience.
Homeschooling is a lot like life. Some days you feel like you should have just stayed in bed. It would have been healthier (and safer) for everyone involved. Some days you are the Queen of your Castle! You feel like you could capture the wind.
After 8 years of Homeschooling I can at least tell you what works for us. Remember. Take what you can use. Everyone’s experience is going to be different. But we all have one thing in common.
We love our kids and want what’s best for them and our family.
1. We homeschool all year long. This might send some of you into a panic attack. I apologize. It just works better for us. Josiah keeps his skills fresh and we are able to take off longer chunks of time for holidays or days when “Momma needs every day to be a park day.” I had almost decided to abandon the practice when I saw friends wind up their school year and start making plans that involved sunscreen and pool passes. I changed my mind when I thought of trying to do school the whole month of December. When we would we have our Christmas movie marathons complete with hot chocolate?
2. I try and make sure we have plenty of hands-on activities as possible. This is where my early childhood teaching days have come in handy. I don’t care that my son is now in Middle School (soon to be heading into High School). Bring out those Board Games! Take those field trips! Make slimy messes in the kitchen! The brain is the brain is the brain. How can it be stimulated with dry worksheets and even drier lectures?
3. Read. Read. Read. I can’t emphasize this enough. There is always a book/audio book we are working through. I can’t take my son to Timbuktu, but I can take him to Narnia.
Unless there is a book set in Timbuktu. Then we’re talking.
4. Being the mom of an only child I have found that I need to make opportunities for Josiah to “socialize.” I can’t even believe I’m saying that. Most homeschool moms have a good eye roll down when they hear the supposed lack of socialization we homeschoolers experience. But hear me out. He doesn’t just socialize with kids on the swim team or PE class. He socializes with Seniors Citizens at the Nursing Home when we volunteer. He has painted finger nails, helped call Bingo, taken a Tai Chi class, and visited with war veterans. We live in a closed Apartment building. Josiah has helped ladies carry in their groceries, delivered car packages and visited with neighbors over the balcony porch. His social world is much wider than a lot of kids his age. Nuff said.
5. I have to be prepared. This is me. I am more of a “let’s move where the wind takes us kind of gal” personally. However, this doesn’t work for my “desperately needs structure boy.” I don’t get too crazy. I have found a simple planner and a list for Josiah to work through works just fine. I do make sure I have any art supplies, pens, pencils and other materials on hands. There is nothing more frustrating than not having what you need when you need it.
6. We focus on relationships. One of the BEST outcomes that we have had during our homeschool experience has been the bond between Josiah and his Dad. When we first started homeschooling, Troy (aka The Studly Muffin) was working a 10 hour evening/night shift. When Josiah started kindergarten in the Public School they never got to see each other through the week. Troy started getting up every morning to have breakfast with him and see him off. When we started homeschooling in the 1st grade, Troy had all this time with Josiah. He was able to pour into his little life. And all these years later, Josiah and his Dad have a “Dad’s Day Out.” They might go cycling, or to the mall to stare at sports stuff. They go to rare coin shops and always have lunch or at least ice cream out. Not every family can go this far. But it made us realize how important designating special times to spend together matter.
7. I try to stop and smell the roses. I don’t want this time to pass me by. I will always have a few regrets. One regret I don’t have is taking time to build that salt dough map or to go see a movie in the middle of the day (we did that today!). I don’t regret the hours spent at the library or those lazy pancake breakfasts. Sure. I have a plan. I need to educate my son. But I also need to be a parent, as well.
8. I have been BLESSED to be a part of a review team for homeschool curriculum. I have been able to review some of the best of the best in curriculum. However, I am not naïve enough to think even the best curriculum is going to fit into our homeschool life. I also realize my need to make things my own. You don’t have to get what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to do every. single. problem in the book. Don’t be a slave to any particular homeschool method.
9. I am continually educating myself. Whether it be through good books, excellent podcasts or audio lectures or our local homeschool convention…I have to constantly refresh myself and learn to dip a bit deeper if I am hitting a brick wall with something. Hopefully, my example is also teaching my son to do the same.
10. I try and give myself a measure of Grace. Contrary to popular belief I am not Wonder Woman. My friends. This can be a challenging life. I give myself time every morning to get my feet underneath me. I am going to share a little more bit more about my morning routine at the end of the week…but for now, just know that it’s okay to cry, take solitary walks, call a movie day, spend the day in your pajamas and get up the next day and try again.
Come back tomorrow! I’ll be sharing some more.
In the meantime, check out my blogger friends below. We are all participating in the 5 Day of Tips For Homeschooling Families.
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jennifer @ Faithful Homestead
Joelle @ homeschooling for His Glory
Joesette @ Learning Curve
Kari @ Random Acts of Boyhood
Katie @ Katie's Daily Life
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom