5 things I needed to hear as a new homeschooling mom ~
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool
“Okay, guys,” I said optimistically. “The letter P is for pig – let’s draw that now together. See Mommy’s P here on the paper? It goes straight down and around. And look? I can make that big curve into the pig’s snout, to remind us that P is the first sound in pig. Why don’t you try it?”
“No!” Child A shouted, sliding off their chair onto the floor and under the table. “I don’t want to write a P; I don’t want to draw a pig!”
I cast a distressed glance at my teacher’s guide, but it said nothing about what to do in case of tantrums on the floor. Should I make this into a discipline moment, and kill Child A’s love of learning? Or should I call it the end of lessons for the day, and “give in” to this poor behavior?
Or should I chase the school bus down the street, force open the doors, and securely place my three kids aboard?!
We hadn’t even made it through kindergarten yet, and I was already failing. I just knew it.
Does this bring to mind any experiences you had as a new homeschooling mom, too? If you’ve been at this for any length of time, I bet it does.
Now that I have 13 years of homeschooling under my belt, there are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself. And the crazy part?
It turns out that the five things I needed to hear as a new homeschooling mom then are the same ones I need to remind myself of on difficult days now.
That means that no matter how long you’ve been homeschooling, this is for you!
5 Things I Needed to Hear as a New Homeschooling Mom
1. “Yes, you can skip that part of the curriculum.”
It terrified me to think of skipping part of a lesson that had been laid out by “experts.” They knew what they were doing, after all, and I. DID. NOT.
I wish I would have remembered back to my own school days. We never finished a full textbook or workbook in a year, and the teacher always skipped around, making assignments based on her own plans and her students’ needs.
2. “A short lesson counts as a lesson.”
I could have avoided the whole “I don’t want to draw a pig!” moment by ending our lesson before we reached that point. Especially in the early years, even a five minute lesson is a huge accomplishment. You want to leave them wanting more, as opposed to having to beg them to stay.
But no matter what age your kids are, homeschooling differs from other types of education. Unlike in a classroom, relationship has to come first, not academics. From that foundation, you can build something beautiful – one five minute lesson at a time.
3. “There are a million ways to homeschool well, not just one.”
I spent the first few years we homeschooled looking for that magic button, the one that would guarantee that my kids wouldn’t fail, and that I wouldn’t fail my kids. I often felt conflicted and anxious in my search for the ideal homeschool philosophy or ideal curriculum.
It turns out, there isn’t one. The beauty of home education is our ability to tailor it to what each of our unique children need. Never place a higher priority on a philosophy or a curriculum than you do on your child.
4. “Redefine homeschool success.”
I’m not sure I ever would have articulated it, but on some level my idea of success was to prove to the skeptics that homeschooled children could outperform those educated in the system, excelling in a rigorous college prep scope and sequence that would wow neighbors and friends.
Yet raising and teaching children with developmental disabilities changed my definition of success.
This led to my new (and much healthier) definition, one that applies to every child:
Homeschool Success = Helping each child reach their full potential – mind, body, and spirit
5. “You may not see the harvest yet, but the seeds are growing.”
I tilled soil, planted seeds, and watered ground daily, but felt discouraged by a lack of fruit in my children’s progress. I wish I had had a more solid understanding of child development.
Sometimes the most exquisite fruit takes the longest to develop.
It’s not uncommon to wait nearly a decade to begin to gather a crop from new fruit trees. But once they start to produce, they do so forever! I’ve noticed the same over time, and the growth is extra sweet knowing how long we’ve worked and waited for it.
New homeschooling mom (or long-time veteran!), none of your efforts are wasted and none of them are in vain. You are slowly growing something beautiful, and you’re doing so much better than you think!
Your work matters, even when much of it is is unseen. Step back and remind yourself just how far you and your children have come.
There are a million ways to design a successful homeschool, and zero ways to design a perfect one – you’ve got this!
It’s one thing to believe the statements above, and another to live them out daily in a world that often neglects the importance of an inner foundation as it focuses solely on outward outcomes.
That’s why I partnered this spring with Colleen Kessler and Pam Barnhill to bring you a new homeschooling course based on the concepts above, and it launches today:
Homeschooling with Purpose is here!
We combined our 35 years of homeschooling experience to create the course we wish we could have had back when we were getting started, or when we hit a rough patch, or when we were just plain burned-out.
It will help you cast a vision for your homeschool, calm the chaos you deal with, and create a lifestyle of learning, and access is open now!
Homeschooling with Purpose is divided into three parts:
- The first helps you design the homeschool that your family needs, releasing the shackles of comparison and insecurity,
- the second part guides you in shaking off the ghost of public school past, capitalizing on the unique benefits that schooling at home has to offer,
- and Part Three covers all the other logistics that also have to get done, like chores, meals, and more.
You’ve never seen a course like this, and I deeply believe it will leave you feeling more confident and secure in your role as a homeschooling parent.
We would just LOVE to have you there!
What did you need to hear as a new homeschooling mom? We’d love to know!
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!