Lesson #3: Stop Researching, and Start being Confident!
Don’t research so much that you feel like your suffocating. There comes a point where you need to make a decision on which curriculum your going to buy, which model your going to follow, how many subjects your going to tackle, or what your schedule will look like. Pray about it and then be confident in that choice.
Being confident was a huge lesson for me!
I would admit that I was homeschooling to people such as the librarian, or a store clerk. But I was not confident in my statement.
“Well… we, er, actually are… homeschooling… so… yeah…”
It was like I was waiting for people to challenge me and the decisions I had determined were the best ones for my family. I basically should have been shouting, “Please heap your judgement and uneducated opinions about homeschooling onto me!”
I also recently learned that saying, “We home educate” sounds a little bit better than, “We home school.” I really liked that. Don’t you think that “Educated” sounds better than “Schooled.” After all, that is exactly what we are doing with our children–educating them!
Lesson #4: If you’re lazy, homeschool year round.
Wha…?? Homeschooling year round sounds like a lot more work.
From my limited experience (and after all this all about what I’ve learned!) homeschooling year round is nice because you can take a break whenever you want/need/feel like one. And it keeps us busy and in a routine during the summer.
Now I’m not going to deprive my kids of a summer break. If there is fun to be had, by golly, we are going to have it!
But if we are sitting at home trapped inside avoiding mosquitos and 378 degree heat on top of 100% humidity, by golly, we are going to be doing some reading and addition problems. I won’t listen to complaints of boredom.
And in the fall when it’s beautiful and gorgeous outside and all the children are back in school, it will be a perfect time to take a break and go to the completely empty zoo, or just sit outside and stare at the clouds. We won’t need to be on a strict schedule.
Lesson #5: Find a Community!
My first year was like being stranded on an isolated island. At first that was exactly what I was going for. Wasn’t that what homeschooling was all about anyway? Just the parent and the child, learning together?
It was fine for a few months. Then I went crazy. I started questing if it was really worth it. I fell so alone. I felt miserable and like a failure.
And things weren’t even going bad. Sure we had some bad days sprinkled in there like everyone does. But I was lonely, and had no one to share the struggles and successes with, besides my husband.
We had joined a homeschooling co-op in a nearby city. But that city was a good 30-40 minute drive. Most of their activities and classes were targeted toward middle/high school students. They had a play date class for the younger kids, that met on a weekly basis. I felt like I couldn’t commit to driving that far once a week for just a play date. So we did not attend one single thing with the co-op last year. We might join again in the future when our children are older, but not this coming school year. I would still suggest for all homeschooling families to find a nearby co-op to join. I know my experience was probably not the norm, and you would most likely find great support and community from a co-op.
Instead we have joined a Classical Conversations Community. We will meet every Wednesday morning for 12 weeks each semester. We haven’t started yet, but I’m so excited!
I was very hesitant to join because Classical Conversations is a bit pricey for our family. But after attending an open house and seeing it in action, it will be worth the investment. I need the support from other moms and my son needs to be around more children.
As we begin our next year of home educating, I can’t wait to see what lessons I will learn in my second year!
If you are thinking about homeschooling and looking for more resources I highly recommend the following books:
For more about the Classical Education model:
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
For when you feel discouraged and can’t remember why you started homeschooling in the first place:
Educating the WholeHearted Child
For more on a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling:
For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School
A great tool for teaching your child to read:
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
What lessons did you learn your first year homeschooling?
(This post contains affiliate links)