10 Things I wish I had known before I started homeschooling
A few years ago, I was contemplating homeschooling our kids. I had no idea exactly how it all would work. I took some days to research and immerse myself in the major types/ways to Homeschool.
I NEEDED to KNOW: What is it? Who does it? How does it work? And so on…
Now fast forward a few weeks. Homeschooling is the solution to our children’s education and life skills needs….What is my next step?
I needed a curriculum. For us it was mid-year, so we took some time off. I started using some de-schooling techniques. We started our homeschooling journey with the new year, January 2015. It was new territory for all of us. I got my college student mind dusted off and spent numerous late evenings reading to make sure all was in line. I was going to be my children’s School in every aspect…. Recess, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Physical Education, Music…..With lots of trial and error, day by day, week by week we made it through the spring and to summer break.
But I was tired, and honestly a little frustrated, feeling disorganized, disoriented. Questioning myself even doubting my actions.
Why was I feeling like this? What was going on? Maybe homeschooling is not for me? So, I took some time and spoke with more experienced moms and asked them all the same questions.
What do you wish you would have known before you started homeschooling? I asked them.
Here are some of their answers:
Homeschooling is flexible. You don’t need to sit at a table or desk. You don’t need to go at it for hours on end. You can learn everywhere. The whole world is where we learn. Field trips are a good motivation. They can be very educating and a powerful tool to bring learning into your child’s real world.
There are a lot to choose from. More on that later.
Use your strengths and believe in yourself. You will develop as a teacher. The key to your success is you. You need to give you and your children boundaries… You have to have time for yourself whatever that is.. reading a book you want, workout, hobby,…. You are responsible for keeping yourself HEALTHY. Your development personally and as an educator is one of the most vital aspects to teaching your children. When you are in a good place, your children will feel it and they will pick up on your positive vibes.
Learning is everywhere. But keep in mind your kids don’t always want to have a math experience when going out. They need to be kids.
As I started, my focus was on routine… I needed to stay on routine, have a schedule and so on. I worked so hard to be on a schedule and I had success with it. Both my children enjoyed the structure of knowing what was coming next.
Life and Learning changed.It became a point of frustration and their progression was spiralling down (Math issues…come back at it latter). Initial positive results can rapidly turn into frustration for everyone involved. A friend of mine told me, “OK they are on a schedule but are they progressing, are they learning? Take all that energy of routine, schedule and transfer it to ARE THEY PROGRESSING?”
Once I realized that, the stress went away. I started focusing on strengths…add something about Finland and come back to Math when ready.
Lots of people will have a strict schedule like they will do in school. I changed mine to a routine. If my kids don’t want to start with math but prefer to read it does not matter. They have their list of what to do for the day and they can choose to do it as they wish as long it is completed by the end of the afternoon. This was after I had de-schooled them.
It is okay to relax. Make time for yourself
8. Kids learning style
Find out how your kids learn. Where do they learn best? What are their interests? That can be a very important since it relates to which curriculum to use and how to use it. My oldest loves to work standing up. She needs to understand why she is learning a certain subject
9. Don’t over-schedule
It is easy to over-schedule. Make sure you have down-time. We call it family time. Don’t get trapped running around town all week long for this or that.
10. It’s hard, but so rewarding
IS IT HARD…YUP Anything worthwhile IS…
It is not easy, you will have to repeat, change your approach. Doubt yourself. Look for other curriculum, just a few weeks into the year. It is so rewarding when you see the sparkle in their eyes, once they understand a new concept. You will create a bond with your children that you would never have had if they were in school. It is an Amazing Adventure you can share with your children.