If I can homeschool, you can do it too.

The following is a guest post written by Lorilee Lippincott of Loving Simple Living.

Back when I started homeschooling about 3 years ago I had a totally different idea about what it was. Not only did I have a different idea about what homeschool was, I also had a different idea about what my kids needed, about how to teach, … about everything.

I started homeschooling armed with a school room, lots of parenting books, structured curriculum, scheduled days, and very young kids. I was an over-achiever so I thought they should be too.

It helped that both my kids caught onto ideas fast and could remember an amazing amount of information. I saw it as my job to fill them as full as I could and then send them to Harvard.

I also saw other homeschool families and read about strange concepts like unschooling or child-led education. As much as I liked the people talking about the ideas, I couldn’t help but think – I will never be a lazy parent/teacher like that.

And over the past 3 years so much has changed. I have learned so much. Learned that I know so little. Through it all I have grown with my kids.

I have learned:

  • It is really hard to get little kids to sit still
  • Kids can’t be forced to learn – at least they learn much slower when they don’t want to
  • Kids learn amazing things when they want to
  • Sometimes they make the biggest breakthroughs when I am not ‘teaching’ them
  • I have no idea what I am doing

Somewhere between battles over worksheets and everyone dreading school I started to change my ideas about schooling. I started to look at my children, to really define my goals as a parent/teacher. And I started to listen to what other, more experienced, homeschoolers had to say.

Now, instead of stuffing them full and sending them to Harvard I see homeschooling much more as molding who my kids already are and encouraging them to dream and learn where they are interested. I am still the mother, and I still structure curriculum to make sure they have the basics they need to know, but much more of our day is spent unstructured and open for them to grow and learn…or just be kids.

Over the past school year I found myself very curious about how this homeschooling thing really worked for families who really stuck to it for the long term. Families with home-businesses, families with way more children than my two, and families with other challenges.

There are great blogs out there talking about ideals and projects but I wanted to know what really went on – day to day. I wanted to know about the good parts and the struggles. I wanted to know how these mothers planned, how they knew they were successful, what they worried about.

If homeschool wasn’t just ‘school at home’ what else could it look like? The beauty is that it can take the shape of what works best for each individual family, but I wanted some real examples.

The result was You Can Do It Too – 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories. It is a compilation of these interviews. I created a book from it because I know there are so many more families out there wanting to know the same thing as me.

We want a chance to sit down with these ladies and pick their brains a bit, to learn and be encouraged – this is exactly what is in the book (Available via PDF and on Amazon.)

Putting these interviews together over the summer was such an encouragement. It isn’t that our schooling needs to look the same, or that we need to compare methods and teaching styles. Instead it is about all the possibilities that can work for so many different families.

My homeschooling has looked different each year, and this year it has changed again based on listening to some of these women talk. My kids still don’t like worksheets, but our style and schedule is way more relaxed.

I can’t help but think back to how we started and realize that now I am that ‘lazy parent’ I didn’t understand. We have lots more learning and growing to do, but I am excited to be on this path with my kids.

Has your idea of what homeschooling looks like also changed over time?

Comments

  1. “Somewhere between battles over worksheets and everyone dreading school I started to change my ideas about schooling. ”

    This is me exactly! I started out doing school at home and over the years it has changed to a more relaxed method that works so much better for us and has us enjoying our time learning together.
    Twisted Cinderella’s latest post: Goals and Treasures

  2. I have yet to figure out the homeschooling thing. My kids are in 7th grade, 5th grade, and my 4 year old daughter is sort of doing preschool. :-) We have yet to have two school years the same and at this point, I’m totally ok with that.

    With my older two, I find myself adding more and more structure back to their studies. I wanted to be that “crunchy,” crafty, no textbooks allowed kind of homeschool mom. I have homeschooled them from the very beginning but as much as I wanted to be that mom, I never felt very good at it and I always wondered if I was doing it right.

    Now I know there is no “right” way to homeschool. I still have bad days where I’d toss them on the next school bus driving down the street, but I realize that no one knows my kids better and no one has their best interest at heart better than I do. So I keep on keepin’ on and hope we’ll all arrive at graduation with some good memories and knowledge for their grown-up years.
    Faith | Simplify Magazine’s latest post: Classic Men’s Fashion That Won’t Go Out of Style

  3. I can totally relate to this post. I’m only in my 2nd year of homeschooling, but already I can feel myself relaxing into my role more than last year; doing less worksheets and more following my children’s lead; less “teaching” and more trusting that my kids are cultivating their unique and valuable intelligence every day.
    Rachel @ 6512 and growing’s latest post: I go with you

  4. lorilee! excellent to see you over here!! & AWESOME to hear how your homeschooling has transformed. (& YCDIT, of course!) it’s interesting what a little seasoning does, isn’t it? yay, to grow(ing)!

  5. Thanks for this post. Totally resonated with it, especially this
    “…I see homeschooling much more as molding who my kids already are and encouraging them to dream and learn where they are interested. I am still the mother, and I still structure curriculum to make sure they have the basics they need to know, but much more of our day is spent unstructured and open for them to grow and learn…or just be kids.”

  6. Elizabeth Kane says:

    I think that’s what a lot of our education and life journey is about: exploring what works for us during each phase, and discovering what makes us passionate. And like any voyage we go on, the map and schedule we have on paper needs to be tweaked here and there – we learn as we go.

    Also, I love this quote of yours: “I see homeschooling much more as molding who my kids already are and encouraging them to dream and learn where they are interested.” What a compassionate way to raise your kids. :)

  7. Ha! I had to laugh at the “send them to Harvard” part because that’s exactly what the main character in my book says at the beginning. She’s planning to do this whole thing perfectly, because she’s an overachiever and how hard can this be anyway? How things change…
    Your book sounds great. I love learning from these real life examples of moms around us.
    CharityHawkins@TheHomeschoolExperiment.com‘s latest post: 5 Simple Ways to Teach Children About Government on Election Day

  8. Its so great to know there are so many moms out there on this amazing path of helping our kids grow into the amazing little people that they actually are- not who WE or anyone else WANT them to become!

    I am loving this blog and all the wonderful posts- as a homeschooling mom to 5 awesome kiddos, and just following their lead, it is quite remarkable to witness them blossoming and thriving!
    Danit’s latest post: The Jewish Mom’s Family Organizer and Planner

  9. Mine has definitely changed over time, and I still struggle with making “life” work with all of its challenges, both schooling and small businesses. I am always amazed by the large homeschooling families and all that they can accomplish.
    Elizabeth – Water Rolls Uphill’s latest post: Attachment Parenting: Doubling Down

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