Fifteen years ago as a new, insecure homeschooler, one thing comforted me like no other: Clinging to the words of a few veteran homeschool mothers who I followed online.
They had somehow graduated kids through this method of learning at home and lived to tell the tale.
Unlike what my mind constantly predicted, their children were not in jail or on the streets or holed up playing video games every day while living long-term in the basement. Instead, they appeared to be functional members of society.
I needed these veteran homeschool moms’ encouragement and experience to battle my fears as I undertook our own home education journey with my three small kids.
Then and Now: Lessons from a Veteran Homeschool Mom
When I started Simple Homeschool back in 2010 I was privileged to be one of a handful of homeschooling voices online, along with a small, beautiful tribe of others.
It was a different atmosphere than the overloaded digital world we live in today, 14 years later.
I felt completely out of my league attempting to share any “words of wisdom” because I had none! Not an expert, I was simply a parent beginning a pilgrimage toward an invisible destination I had heard about yet never seen.
I did not know what it would look like to arrive there, and neither did the others in that small tribe. We weren’t the homeschool parents of the 70s or 80s, who could have risked jail or faced punitive action for teaching their kids.
But at the same time we were not the new homeschoolers of today, where information overload is as much of a problem as not having enough information.
We were in the middle: moms and dads before social media took over the world, desperate to find like-minded others who also dared to imagine education differently.
At the time, I never thought my family would continue homeschooling our three kids all the way through their childhoods. Honestly, I’m kind of glad I did not know!
The best I could give back then to my children was to show up each day and offer my loaves and fish. Somehow that daily offering over fifteen years eventually turned into homeschool retirement and three young adults who still like me.
Now I AM the veteran homeschool parent, having somehow finished this gig! With a lot more experience and insight – in fact some of my opinions and thoughts have naturally evolved since the time I first wrote about them.
Few of the homeschool parents who shared their thoughts about education online when I began still do so today. Their path after homeschool retirement naturally led them to other beautiful life endeavors.
Yet I keep thinking back to that insecure homeschooler I was, so desperate for any ray of light shone my way from someone further down the path.
Now I want to be that voice for you.
No longer the mom writing from the trenches, but retired from homeschooling and wanting to reflect on my successes and failures in the hopes that it will be a help to all of you.
And so in a new Simple Homeschool series starting this year I plan to occasionally reshare posts I wrote 14 or 12 or 10 or eight or five years ago, and use my voice on the Simple Homeschool podcast to add more to it: To give you a deeper perspective and the inside scoop about what was going on behind the scenes back then, and also what I’d advise about the same subject now.
I’m immensely grateful for everything the online home education community has given me and the insight that each veteran homeschool mom offered me years ago.
Let me pay it forward by gifting my own experience, hope, and courage to all of you who are waking up, offering your own daily loaves and fish.
I will start my “then and now” reflections with our 2024 Annual Homeschool Day in the Life series, which will kick off its 14th year next week!
Since I do not have a current homeschool day to share with you (and yes, that still feels absurd and surreal to say!), I plan to revisit and talk through some of our past homeschool days, sharing what I think about them now and what I might do differently if I could go back.
I’m excited about pursuing this direction in my content this year and I hope you are too! I invite you to join in, if it interests you, by subscribing to my podcast via Apple or Spotify (or wherever you listen to them) so you’ll be the first to know when each episode is released.
Still with you on the journey, Jamie xo
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