What I Learned My First Year Homeschooling – Part 2 is a continuation from a previous blog post which you can find at the very end of this post.
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Lesson #3: Stop Researching, and Start being Confident!
Don’t research so much that you feel like you are suffocating. There comes a point where you need to make a decision on which curriculum you are going to buy, which model you are going to follow, how many subjects you are 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!
Yes, I did 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…”
I was just waiting for people to challenge me on the decisions we made for our family. I basically should have been shouting, “Please keep your judgment and uneducated opinions about homeschooling to yourself!”
Recently, I started saying, “We home educate” rather 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 questioning if homeschooling was really worth it. I felt alone, miserable, and a failure.
And things weren’t even going bad. Sure we had some bad days sprinkled in there as 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, however, it was a good 30-40 minute drive from our home. The majority of activities and classes were targeted toward the middle/high school students, although, they did have a weekly play date class for the younger kids. I didn’t want to commit to driving that far once a week for just a play date so we didn’t attend anything co-op-related last year.
We might join again in the future when our children are older, but not this coming school year. I would still suggest that all homeschooling families 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 which meets every Wednesday morning for 12 weeks each semester. We haven’t started yet, but I’m so excited!
I was very hesitant to join Classical Conversations because it is a bit pricey for our family. However, after attending an open house and seeing it in action, it will be worth the investment. I need 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 in your first year of homeschooling?