One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life was to homeschool my children. The first being to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life and the second marrying my husband. See, it’s pretty important to me.
If you are new to the journey, I would like to share a few things I have learned after 6 years of being my kiddo’s teacher.
*There will be days when you want to quit. If you are like me, it will happen more often than you care to admit. I listen to people talk about things they do while the kids are in school and sometimes I think it would be nice to have a break. You’re kids will be with you all of the time. Be sure to take time for yourself so you don’t get too burned out. It doesn’t help the kids if you are running on empty. Just remember you are doing the best thing for your children. No one loves them or cares about them more than you do. How can that be a bad thing?
* Take it slow. It has taken me awhile to realize this but you have 12 years to get to everything they need to know. Just because the school covers something at a certain time doesn’t mean you have to. That is one of the joys of learning at home. If you want to learn cursive or multiplication at a different time, you can. Just do it.
* Have fun. The years will fly by. Yesterday, my dad asked me what grade Griffin was going to be in and it almost shocked me to say the 6th. Where did my baby go? If seems like yesterday that we decided not to sent him to the Montessori school and try homeschooling. What a great decision we made. Don’t waste these amazing years God has blessed you with your children. Play lots of games. The kids will learn so much about sharing, taking turns and being a good sport. These are very important skills.
* Character building is as important as academic learning. My husband and I have talked extensively about what we would like for our kids. We have decided that we don’t care what they choose for their profession. They can be garbage collectors or doctors. We honestly don’t care. Our only hope is that they grow into adults who love the Lord. Because we are only on this earth for a short time, we want to be positive that we will spend eternity together. We want other people to enjoy our children as much as we do. In order for that to happen, they need to have good manners, be kind, share, have patience and love others (among other things). We don’t feel like these qualities are encouraged in a public school setting.
All too often, the young people I come into contact are not a joy to be around. I just keep thinking that if they act like that now, what kind of adults are they going to be.
* Don’t give up. I know I kind of mentioned this but I feel like it is so important. Don’t get frustrated when the kids would rather do anything than school work. Be persistent. I truly believe that if we only do half of what we plan, it will be more than they would get if they were in the public school.
* Don’t buy more curriculum than absolutely necessary. Oh, if I only had half of what I’ve spent back on things we have never used. I could probably go on a trip to Hawaii. I have a serious problem with loving everything I see. I think this comes from wanting to do a good job with my children’s education. It seems like I am always on the lookout for something else. I would be better off if only saw new curriculum once a year. The choices of great curriculum is so overwhelming. Don’t let it discourage you. Pick what is best for your family and then dive in. (I am preaching to myself on this one)
* Attend a homeschool conference if you can. This is the place to get encouragement for the entire year. Make sure you plan your time well as these can be overwhelming also. Take a friend and have a great time. Don’t forget to wear comfy shoes. You will do a lot of walking.
* Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’. This is a huge problem for me. When I see the family with matching outfits, all playing musical instruments, older siblings carrying younger ones and helping out, speaking foreign languages and mentally calculating their grocery purchases, I feel like a failure.
Sometimes it is better to not even ask what other’s are learning or doing. My children are just ordinary children. I am just an ordinary homeschool mom. I am okay with that. I will not be able to teach everything that all of the other homeschooling families are learning. I am just going to do my best. Those families are not perfect even if they look like it from my side.
* Read Todd Wilson’s books. If you are ever discouraged, read something by him. He is funny, insightful and will make you feel normal. I love him. He also will be speaking at the TOS Expo this fall. Don’t miss it. It will give you encouragement and is a lot of fun.
Finally, know that God has definite plans for your children. You can’t change them. Isn’t that wonderful. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, you cannot change what God has planned for your kids. You can’t mess it up if he wants them to be a doctor and you’re not good at anatomy. You won’t make decisions that will keep them from being exactly what is planned for them. God knows where they will be in 10 years from now even if we don’t. How refreshing is that?
The choices we make are going to mold our children for God. What a great and awesome opportunity.
If you would like to read others advice about starting this journey, check out the TOS Blog Cruise.