5 Things I Would Say To My Younger Homeschooling Self ~
Written by Lusi Austin of That Homeschool Life
We have been homeschooling for 14 years now. Sometimes I think back to the start of our journey.
There was part of me that thought this road would mostly be smooth sailing – I don’t know why! I knew there’d be bumps in the road, but I also thought that it would mostly be lovely.
Oh younger me, how funny you are!
If I could speak now to my younger homeschooling self, I would tell her that is unrealistic thinking.
Children are not robots that can be programmed. They are learning, developing, and on their own individual journey into the world.
I have the privilege of watching this process in real time, but that doesn’t mean it’s been simple and easy.
So here’s what I would tell my younger homeschooling self:
1. Wait and see it all unfold.
I’d tell her that there will be some REALLY, REALLY hard times. In truth, these probably would have happened regardless of our choice of format for education.
Through the vehicle of homeschooling we’ll have loads of opportunities to walk the many seasons of life together: hurting, hoping, healing and all that lies in between.
Although our life is filled with conflict and hardships, it has helped us to raise strong, independent, creative thinkers. Sometimes this has resulted in more push back than I would have expected, especially as my kiddos reach towards adulthood. However, they are allowed to have their own journey of growth as they find out who they are.
Sometimes it has meant hours of conversations, apologies after voices were raised or hurtful things said, café breakfasts to have healing heart-to-heart chats and tears & prayers whispered as I have drifted off to sleep.
But it has all been worth it.
2. You will never regret the times you said ‘yes’ to being together.
I will always look back on the time spent playing games or reading another chapter on the couch as time well spent.
The minutes cooking, gardening together or going to a park will not be regretted. You will be grateful you gave them time to catch tadpoles and to build bush huts. You’ll not regret giving them opportunities to create friendships with people of all ages.
And Younger Homeschooling Me, keep taking the photos and videos that you do relentlessly. You’ll be grateful for the tangible proof that your kids did laugh and learn.
Get IN the photos more too – you really did enjoy yourself!
3. Remember that everyone who shares in the public sphere does so in a curated way.
Sharing can be messy and complex and so people (including me!) will often only share what they are comfortable sharing with the whole world.
This doesn’t mean that everyone else has it together and that I’m the only one who doesn’t. Everyone is doing their best.
And Younger Homeschooling Self – definitely invest in self-care, rhythms of rest and play for yourself. You will need it to stay refreshed!
4. When you look back, remember that you did the ABSOLUTE best that you could with the knowledge you had at that time.
I would tell myself that I will soon learn more about the neurodivergence in our family and how to best help meet the needs family members have.
That in time, I would learn how a less busy schedule can be a blessing. I would tell myself to keep trying to show grace to my family and myself too.
I would tell myself that our printable shopping list and menu plan does work – Stick with it younger me! I know how this doesn’t come naturally to you but doing it will help everyone!
5. You can do all the things – all the connected, hands-on, wonderfully engaging activities – practice radical love and acceptance, be a deep nurturer and STILL have kiddos with struggles.
For us homeschooling has always been about relationships and giving those relationships a strong foundation, but it hasn’t given us a pass on mental health battles.
Or financial strain at times, relationship issues or chronic illness.
Living the way we do as a homeschooling family has meant that we can allow ourselves time and space to deal with issues as they arise.
And that has been a true gift and blessing.
Hang in there, younger self! You’ll keep going and you’ll be grateful you did.
The old ‘one day at a time’ saying will become your mantra.
It will help you to remember that this really is a marathon not a sprint. You’ve got this. Also….drink all the coffee!
What would you tell your younger homeschooling self – I’d love to hear!
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Nice one Lusi. Such valuable advice and coming from a veteran it’s even more powerful. I think the relationships idea over academics, booklists, over everything really is vital. And I would tell a just-starting-out me (because I wasn’t young then!) …go slower, have more ‘fun’, be kinder to your kids and yourself and relax about having late readers!
Jamie C. Martin
Thank you lovely Kirsty! Slowing the pace and having fun are things I’ve needed to tell myself over the years over and over again! Hope you and your gorgeous crew are keeping well.
Thank you, I enjoyed your writing. These are equally applicable to the non-homeschooling set. Younger self – take a deep breath, peace, it is all good if you can give yourself plenty of grace and patience.
Jamie C. Martin
That’s a great point, Morgan!
Yes absolutely Morgan! This applies to us all looking back I think.
I’m glad you enjoyed reading this.
Take good care,