I’ve been homeschooling my three youngest since September. I have always homeschooled McKenna but this is the first year we’ve been fully immersed in the homeschooling world. I’ve been surprised at the reality of what homeschooling is really like day in and day out. I knew it would be about lesson plans and A LOT of time with my children but there is so much I’ve learned that has surprised me.
1. Going from parent to teacher is hard. It didn’t take homeschooling to make me realize that my kids listen to others better than they do to me but it has taken a few months for my kids to understand I mean business when it comes to school work. If I let my guard down they’re rolling on the ground, scrolling through the DVR instead of turning the pages of the book. It’s been an interesting process but everyone is slowly coming to terms with the fact that I don’t bend on the rules when it comes to school work the way I do on cereal for dinner.
2. You will have to teach things you don’t want to teach. I love reading and writing and math, I do not love social studies and science. I have to teach them anyway, I also have to pretend I know what I’m talking about while frantically googling things like “please tell me the Fertile Crescent is in Egypt because that’s what I just told my kids.” A big perk is that you will actually retain a lot of those facts you thought were not important when you were the one sitting behind a desk.
3. You might get lonely. If you do not belong to a large homeschooling community and the majority of your friends send their kids to school each day you might find yourself feeling a little out of the loop with your mom friends. This has been a tough one for me. I’m still trying to figure out where exactly we fit in the homeschooling world while trying to keep up with my friends who speed-grocery shop alone during those glorious 2.5 hours when their youngest is at preschool.
4. Your patience will get a workout. I knew homeschooling meant my kids would be with me 24/7 but I didn’t not fully realize my kids would be with me 24/7. Everyone goes to everyone’s doctor appointments, we drop off the dry cleaning together, we are rarely apart. My patience has grown by leaps and bounds. Apparently it’s like exercising (if I remember what that’s like), the more sit-ups you do, the better your abs. The more math problems you help your child solve, the longer you can tolerate reminding everyone which way the 3 and 5 go.
5. You will throw out the rules. In the beginning of the year I was hyperventilating over curricula and reading levels. We have finally (thank goodness) found our groove. I’m confident in how I teach my kids and the individual ways they learn and (omg thank goodness) they are learning and progressing. It’s only going to get more difficult as they get older but being confident in myself and the fact that I can actually teach these little people was a big step.
6. It will be hard to admit what doesn’t work. As homeschoolers, we are often doubted. People think the school system can do it better. So when things aren’t going well? No one really wants to talk about it because WE CAN DO THIS. But the truth is, we have our good days and our bad, just like any teacher and student. The first time you need to admit you don’t have Michelle Duggar-level patience you might be met with a blank stare from a fellow homeschooler but sooner or later you will find people who don’t mind telling you about that time their son drew a butt on every flash card.
7. Everything will change. I can honestly say we are a much different family than we were when I started homeschooling. My kids are together all the time which is a blessing and a curse. They’ve learned to be more supportive of each other and know which one to go to for help when they can’t spell “Christmas.” I have found ways to incorporate learning into pretty much anything we do and take things slowly. My kids also seem more comfortable with themselves. My son is not a typical sport-loving boy and it has been so nice to see him relax into being himself rather than trying to conform to what he thinks he is supposed to like.
8. You will love it or hate it. When the year began I had a feeling I was on the road to hating homeschooling and finding a way to back-pedal on my decision. Now I’m so glad we rode it out. I honestly love it BUT I can completely see why it isn’t for everyone. I’m an introverted homebody who sometimes forgets the last time we drove the car anywhere. If you like to be on the go or can’t get into the groove of a homeschooling schedule then you might be flagging down the next school bus and if that’s what works for your family then that’s perfectly fine.
This whole process has taught me that we all need to do what works for us and respect each other’s decisions to do just that. So happy homeschooling or bus dropping-offing and if you’re debating between the two, feel free to ask me whatever questions you have, I promise to tell you what it’s really like.
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