And more realistically, I don't have to know everything.
In fact, I am going to give you a little insight into the biggest mistake I've made in my homeschool career as a homeschool mom.
Don't assume that I have this whole thing down. For one, I made the common mistakes of trying to mold our homeschool into a public school model. I spent too much money on the "holy grail" curriculum that would solve all problems. And I paid too much attention to what other people thought of our choice of homeschooling.
I could fill many blog posts with my many mistakes, but for now I just want to focus on the one that messed me up for years.
Learn from my mistake. It might just change your life.
I didn't practice PATIENCE.
I know what your thinking. What? Patience? So now I have to worry about PATIENCE?
I probably need to be more specific. Some of you have incredibly difficult days. You have a sick child and spent all morning washing bed linens. You have just realized that you will never finish the math workbook. Never ever. You also have the in-laws coming and you know good and well you will have to fend off questions about homeschooling.
"What grade is Johnny in again?"
"How do you know if Johnny is learning what he needs to know?"
"Aren't you worried about Johnny missing prom?" Johnny is in 3rd grade.
"What if Johnny never gets into college?" Again...Johnny is in 3rd grade.
Patience in homeschooling is so much more than not yelling your kids for spending 4 hours writing out her spelling words. It is more than being patient with tone of your voice.
I'm going to drop a truth bomb on you. This homeschool life won't wield the kind of progress you want to see this week or next week. Your expectations won't ever likely be met...especially the unrealistic ones. You have to decide you are in it for the long haul.
My BIG mistake came when I tried to fix all of Josiah's learning problems within a short period of time. I tried to work instantaneous magic on an issue that needed time. I tried to change the minds of those family and friend who thought we were crazy for homeschooling. I wanted everybody to be on board with this crazy experiment. I wanted my family to fall into line with the multiple versions of chore charts and goal sheets I carted out.
I read endless books and blogs about the "very right way to homeschool." I just knew that if I found the right way to do homeschool, everything else would fall into place.
I was soooo wrong. And I spent too many years stressed out and unnecessarily burdened down. What I came to realize is that I just needed to keep my head down. I needed to be CONSISTENT. I needed to just keep plugging away.
I knew, based on studies that I had read, that kids with dyslexia learn better using multi-sensory methods. So instead of wasting time with miracle products that promised to solve all of our issues, I just used one or two that fit my budget and our lifestyle. I had to come to the understanding that eventually Josiah's persistence and perseverance would pay off. I had to be PATIENT with the process. And guess what? The boy is reading!
I decided not to change anybody's mind about homeschooling. That wasn't my job. I wasn't going to be a homeschooling advocate. I was an advocate for my own family. I just responded to questions pleasantly and kept my head down.
I stopped trying to change my approach to chores and schedules every week because I wasn't happy with the every day results. Instead, Josiah was expected to be consistent with what I gave him to do. I made him a check list and made him personally responsible. Did it mean that he spent a few evenings or Saturdays doing work that didn't get done in a timely manner. Yup. Did it mean that he had to re-tackle a chore that had been completed sub-par? You bet your bippie.
We just started doing the thing. I had to be PATIENT with my expectations. Building habits take time. Building a good work ethic take time. Building a system that works...you guessed it...takes time.
Eventually, you will find your groove. And if your groove is challenged by family illness, crisis or a grumpy teenager, you will have already set yourself up to see things through.
This doesn't mean I am never grumpy. Or that I am never overwhelmed.
I have made up my mind that tomorrow doesn't have to look like today. That all of my concerns and homeschooling questions don't have to be answered within the next minute. Patience allows you to enjoy the little moments in your life. You can be content with spending a slow afternoon reading David Copperfield or hanging out at the park with friends.
You can understand that your child will spend a life time learning.
He doesn't have to learn it all today.