(Update 2017: I wrote this post about 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years of homeschooling a few years ago. I now have a graduate and have been teaching my kids at home for 13 years. I still love it!)
It occurred to me the other day that it’s been 10 years since I began homeschooling. My oldest son is 15. Since he’s been homeschooling “since the beginning”, as they say, it’s been a decade.
Hard to believe really. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was reading him Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and teaching him how to read? Sure seems so.
I thought I would reflect on some of the things I’ve learned about myself, my kids and homeschooling in that time.
1) Your Needs Will Change
Homeschooling reflects whatever else is going on in your life. Pregnancy, new babies, exhaustion, sickness, divorce, remarriage, changes in your child’s maturity… you name it. Your homeschool schedule and curricula needs will change as well. Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t work.
As an example, when I first looked at Saxon math a few years ago, I was totally overwhelmed by it. The thought of getting through that book with some of my kids seemed like way too much. But recently, I revisited Saxon and decided it was a great fit for two of my kids who need more repetition.
It’s ok for things to change in your homeschool. Forget “should” and do what works for your family.
2) Public School Isn’t Evil
I consider myself a “hard core” homeschooler. But my children were in public school very briefly. The oldest, for a mere 6 weeks.
(He made quite an impression!)
The next two, for about a year. I was a single work at home mom at the time, turning a part time web business into a full time income. It was the right decision, at the time. And I was impressed with all of my children’s teachers.
3) Spending More Money Doesn’t Solve Problems…
If you have problems in your homeschool, it’s tempting to spend too much money on new curriculum or tools in an attempt to fix what’s wrong. This is often a mistake. Usually a child needs more time, or more instruction, or more repetition, or less pressure… until they mature. There is no perfect curriculum.
4) …Unless It Does
Sometimes throwing money at a problem can indeed solve it. If you’re stressed out by searching online for free curricula, and spending too much time seeking printables and worksheets for everything so you can homeschool for free, then spend some money on a solid curriculum (buy used) so you can spend more time teaching. And then stop looking for deals and freebies.
5) Self Care Is Paramount
Homeschooling is hard work. There is no sending the kids home to mom and dad at 2:30 every day. Your kids will get on your nerves more, the house will be destroyed more, and the children will want to snack all day.
The cure? Schedule time every day to do things that nourish you. Take breaks. Spend a day at the park if everyone’s in a grumpy mood. Unschool occasionally and read all day long. Have a library day instead of doing your typical curriculum. Clear your house of clutter (a big trigger for me!)
Self care is not an option if you want to be sane!
(… to be continued. #6-10 coming tomorrow…)