Written by Angie Kauffman of Real Life at Home
If you would have talked to me about the idea of homeschooling nine years ago, I probably would have thought you were crazy. But we eventually decided it was our best educational option, and we’ve been going strong for seven years now.
Beginning to homeschool was a huge transition, and now another looms ahead of us:
Unless something changes between now and August, our children (ages 10, 13, & 15) have all decided to attend school full-time in the fall.
In fact, one has already been enrolled this year. The other two have been attending part-time.
This period of change for our family has given me a chance to reflect on what I’ve learned about homeschooling over the past seven years:
The value of one-on-one time can’t be overestimated
The main reason we decided to homeschool was because we recognized that both of our sons, then finishing up first and second grade, desperately needed more one-on-one teaching.
Our boys both moved from being far behind to more in line with peers after having a lot of one-on-one instruction.
The value of that time for them was immeasurable. I will never regret spending it with them, as well as allowing for an environment where they could move at their own pace.
Homeschooling can be both exciting and overwhelming
I have loved the opportunity to be so hands-on with my kids as they have learned new concepts and skills.
It’s been especially exciting to do things like teach my youngest to read, participate as my oldest finally understood algebra, and watch as my middle child fell in love with a book that I adored at his age.
Homeschooling can be overwhelming too, though. I have treasured those exciting times, but it’s all too easy to get bogged down by the responsibility and enormity of it.
I have often had to keep those exciting times close to my heart to help me get through the difficult moments.
I highly recommend a support system of homeschooling or like-minded friends for both you and your children. That can be such a sanity saver.
A routine can make everyone more comfortable
It could be a set schedule, a general routine, or just a rhythm to your days, but it’s good to find a way to have it.
Not every day has to look the same. I have found, however, that the times when I have been well organized and our days flowed, my kids and I were happier and more comfortable.
Be mindful and realistic when you buy curriculum and resources
Each year when planning time came around, I seemed to suddenly forget what we could accomplish in a realistic day. Almost every year found me buying more than we could ever use.
I sometimes wonder how much money I could have saved and how much less guilt I would have piled on myself if I had just been realistic about what we would actually use versus what I felt like we should be doing.
Make a point to view your homeschooling journey in a positive light
I can’t say that I have loved every minute of homeschooling. There were times when I didn’t like it at all.
However, I don’t regret having spent these seven years dedicated to my family in this way. Even in my most overwhelmed moments, I knew that this time was a gift to my children and a gift to myself.
Our school year will look very different next year, and I have mixed emotions about those changes. However, I’m taking comfort in a few truths:
My kids and I will keep learning and growing together regardless of where they attend school.
It also gives me peace to know that my heart is still open to homeschooling.
Despite the fact that it seems like our homeschooling journey may be over, my kids and I all know that at a moment’s notice, we can be prepared to go right back to that journey.
What are some takeaways that you would share with a new homeschooler about your homeschooling journey so far?