7 Things I wish I knew when I started Homeschooling
It’s O.K. to laugh
Often when people think of homeschooling they think of a classroom. There is a certain environment affiliated with a classroom in a person’s mind. However, we do not have to be a classroom. Yes, she will have to sit up and focus on some pages but it is ok at times to laugh about a silly part of our lesson. I missed many learning opportunities at the beginning of the year because I wouldn’t let her laugh. Now we will stop and laugh about the silliness that is the digestive system or the oddity that is a duck billed platypus. Homeschool mom, it is ok to laugh.
Walk down a rabbit trail
When I look at my curriculum I know the direction we have to go. I know what needs to be learned that day and what needs to be said to accomplish that. Early on, I fell into the trap of being so focused on the curriculum I often shushed R. That was not good. For R, her little rabbit trails were actually her little brain’s way of making connections and understand what I was teaching. When I replaced the “be quiet’s” with her “isn’t that kind of like’s” we both learned a lot more. I was able to really see what she understood and offer a different analogy where needed. Homeschool mom, it is ok to walk down the rabbit trail.
They are not rocket scientist (even if they are)
Your child may be the smartest child in the world. They may grasp every concept with grace and ease. That is so awesome for you. Not all children will function that way though. Sometimes your child will not get it. Not only will they not get it, they will not get it to the level that you question your competence as their teacher. Keep in mind that this is not a little person it is a child. Their mind is not developed to the level that we are. Some things come at a certain age of development. Just because you want your child in college by 12 doesn’t mean they can be. Slow down. Look at your little one. Do they need to learn it a different way? Do they need to learn it with a different technique? Do they need to wait until later in the school year to try this concept when they are older? If you have to ask these questions it does not mean that you are incompetent. It simply means that your child is human and needs you to evaluate where they are. Homeschool mom, they are not rocket scientist (even if they are.)
Teach it a different way
I touched on this a bit in my last one but I think I will cover this again because it is so important. Your child may not learn the way you do. The Math we use has a facts worksheet that R needs to do every day. This really aggravates her. She will have a complete breakdown over that worksheet and has MANY times. In fact, at the beginning of the year I decided this sheet was my way to teach respect and obedience. It became a sore subject in our schooling every day and would halt all learning. We would disagree for an hour and one day 3 hours over that page. One day it clicked, that sheet is not the be all to end all of homeschooling. She will not die if she does not fill out that sheet the way they say she should. Before you tell me all about learning to follow directions and the “proper” way of things, hear me out. She still did that sheet every day. Some days she would have to just work the problems and write them out. Other days I would ask her for the answers verbally and write them in. Changing my approach changed her attitude. She went from overwhelmed to glad to complete it. Homeschool mom, teach it a different way.
Put the curriculum down and go play
I made a huge mistake when I started homeschooling. I would turn down some great fun because we had to do school today. Guess what. It’s ok to put down the curriculum and go learn through life. The pic above is of R learning all about how a plane flies in a flight simulator. Was this in the curriculum? No. Look at that face though. That is the face of a child filled with joy, though lacking quite a few teeth. 😉 We walked away from the textbooks and we learned about planes, WWII, and just plain had fun. Make sure your portfolio includes fun. If you wanted a school education you would have put your child in school. We went on TONS of field trips and fun outings this year. We will still finish the curriculum. She will still get a summer. The difference is, we aren’t living for summer. We are living for today. Homeschool mom, put the curriculum down and go play.
Don’t socialize your child
This statement is the core of most homeschoolers heart. There is a constant pressure to make sure that our children are socialized. I know that I put R in countless activities, programs, and commitments to keep her socialized. In the end, it didn’t work. She was tired and so was I. We cut back to one main activity and church. (Field trips were sprinkled throughout.) She didn’t meet her best friend on a field trip, in a sport, in 20 homeschool activities. She met her best friend through my best friend. Her best friend is my best friend’s daughter who also homeschools. They get together often to play, laugh, and plot all kinds of craziness but it’s not scripted. We simply do life. They will meet people every day as they run to the store with you, take part in your ministry, and hang out with other homeschool moms. They will be friends will different ages and are more likely to accept people for who they are because they haven’t been taught to hate what’s different. R has 3 best friends. One is a 9 year old girl, another is a 7 year old boy, and another is a 4 year old girl. These are completely different ages and stages yet she has a blast. She is not worried about whether the boy has a crush on her, the older friend will outgrow her, or the younger friend is too little. They just play. I am a huge believer that socializing is what happens when you do life with your kids. Homeschool mom, don’t socialize your child.
Let yourself off the hook
As a homeschool parent everyone expects the world from you. Ignore them. At the end of the day the only thing that will matter is that your child is becoming the kind of person they need to be. So you didn’t finish that math lesson because you baked cookies with your kids? So you had the stomach virus for 2 weeks and did nothing in school at all? You mean you took your kids out to the playground in the middle of a school day because you just felt like playing with them? It’s ok to do these things once in awhile. In fact, I think your kids will be better for it. They will know you love them not because of the math they can do, the reading level they can achieve, or the curriculum you complete. They will know you love them based on what you do with the time you spend with them. For me, I will teach my child that they can trust my love for them and all of the rest will follow in time. Homeschool mom, let yourself off the hook.
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