August of this year will kick off our third year of homeschooling. While I am still making mistakes, learning, and growing, I would like to share some things that I wish I had known before I began this journey.
- ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
I can not begin to express how true this statement is. From what curriculum is right for your child, to how your children learn, one size does not fit all. I was suggested a certain curriculum by a homeschooling friend of mine when I first started considering homeschooling. She had used this particular curriculum for a year and had loved it. Her kids seemed to enjoy it as well. So, what worked for them, surely would work for us, right? Unfortunately, this was not the case. Although I did like some of the aspects of this curriculum, I felt like I was having to supplement quite a bit, and if I am going to purchase a full curriculum then I don’t really want to have to supplement. I stuck with it for 2 years, unhappy and unsatisfied, afraid to change.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
Although I know my kids learned a lot during those two years, and I don’t feel like they were wasted, I still regret not trying something new sooner. I have heard others say, “If you aren’t happy with something, change it, even if it is in the middle of your school year.” There are so many resources and curriculums to choose from, there is no reason why you should stay with something you don’t like. TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!
- BE FLEXIBLE
This is one that didn’t take me too long to figure out. You are homeschooling now, you are not confined to the regular public school schedule. If your children learn better with a schedule then that is fantastic. If your children do better setting there own pace and taking multiple breaks during the day, then let them. Every child learns differently. My daughter tends to be done with her work so much faster than my son. She is self motivated and doesn’t procrastinate. My son, on the other hand, needs more guidance and encouragement to keep going. He needs the downtime that breaks provide for him.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH ENCOURAGING PEOPLE
This one is pretty self explanatory. You need encouragement and people that believe in you and what you are doing to keep you motivated. Homeschooling is not an easy thing to do, by any means, and if you are constantly having to endure negativity from the people around you, then you aren’t going to last long. Everyone seems to give their opinion whether you want it or not. I had one lady tell me, “I feel sorry for your kids.” Apparently she feels that since they are schooled at home, they can’t have any friends or any extra curricular activities outside our home, which is far from reality. One more thing, take advantage of any homeschool groups that are in your community, they are the most encouraging and helpful people you will meet.
- SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A BREAK!
Homeschooling, at times, can be stressful, intimidating, overwhelming, and just down right hard. Don’t let those moments define your perception of the whole. We all have bad days no matter what our lives look like. If you find yourself having one of these days, take a break. Let your kids go outside and play. Give yourself a break. We tend to go to the beach with some of our homeschool friends about once a week. It is better to take a day off then be stressed throughout your learning time.