That’s right – there are things I didn’t know about homeschooling, even as a second-generation homeschooler.
I’ve had to learn a lot about homeschooling on my own. As I am sure you have! And guess what, we’re not alone. There are many mamas out there struggling to stay a-float in homeschool. Just trying to find the motivation to get it done, the will to keep going.
Some say homeschoolers take the easy, lazy way out. When, in all honesty, homeschooling is often harder than sending my kid to public school. And I know that, because we sent our daughter to public school for her first five years of schooling.
I thought becoming a homeschooling family would be a simple move. And for the most part, it was. But I continue to be surprised at the thing I don’t know about homeschooling. So that’s what I’m sharing with you today, in hopes to encourage you if you’re struggling with the same.
1. It’s a lot of work.
Here’s the thing, I don’t take my kids’ education lightly. It’s a promise I made to my husband, and myself, before I took this on. But I had no idea how much of my time and brain-power would go into homeschooling.
Thankfully, I’ve created systems along the way, to make it a little less overwhelming. But it’s still a job I have to make an effort to show up for every. single. day.
2. Homeschooling is not schooling at home.
I knew going into homeschooling that I didn’t want my kids sitting at a desk for six hours straight. I wanted them to have fun and actually love learning. But I realized real quick that trying to bring the public school into our home was not only a challenge but a battle I would never win.
Your home is a safe place. Your kids should feel loved, supported, and SAFE there. They can feel all of these things while doing school, but when you try to bring a place that isn’t known for love, support, and safety into your home. It just makes it even more difficult to homeschool.
Don’t fall into the trap that makes you believe your kids aren’t learning enough if you don’t test them everyday, put grades on their papers, or let them do school outside. Homeschooling is not school at home.
3. I’m not enough.
If you hear nothing else, hear this: YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES.
I know, I know – I didn’t believe it at first either. But you chose to homeschool for a reason and you have been given everything you need to create the homeschool you desire.
If a college degree was needed to teach your kids, the nation would make that a requirement. But they didn’t.
Public school teachers are great – this is not meant to bash them. But you have everything you need to teach your kid, because you. know. them. best.
You are more than enough. And you can totally do this.
4. My kids are behind.
The only question that I ask myself when this thought creeps up now is, “How do you know?”
Who am I comparing my kids to that are making think they’re behind? And why am I comparing them in the first place?
Every kiddo learns differently and at a different pace. This even happens in public school! I know from experience. The difference is, with homeschool, you have time to hang out on a particular subject until the skill is mastered before moving on.
Your kid isn’t behind if she’s doing fifth grade math in “seventh grade,” she’s actually ahead because all of the publicly schooled seventh graders are struggling right now because they never got the chance to master their fifth grade math.
5. Adding in a second homeschooler isn’t a piece of cake.
Our second kiddo is starting to jump into kindergarten activities this year and of all the things I didn’t know about homeschooling, I thought this one would be so easy! But it’s been anything but easy.
I have to remember that homeschooling isn’t school at home. Five-year-olds do not need to learn how to write correctly, or neatly. They just need to recognize letters and sounds. Maybe “write” the letters with Play-Doh or draw them in sand.
But trying to put too much on my kiddo, in an effort to “do what the public schools do”, doesn’t help anyone. Especially him.
It’s not a piece of cake to add another homeschooler into the mix. But it can be simple if you let it.
6. Homeschooling with a baby is nothing like I imagined.
I imagined our baby (now toddler) hanging out with us while we do school. Playing quietly with toys while we read, coloring with us while we learn. But man was I wrong about that!
For the most part, the baby does well. But I can only imagine how things are going to look when we really dig into early elementary curriculum with our kindergartener.
Right now, our oldest does school independently, so the baby isn’t too much of a distraction. However, we really feel the struggle when we’re doing group activities or read-alouds. And I did not see it happening that way!
7. Pinterest + Instagram aren’t the enemy.
I’m like any other homeschool mama – I followed #allthehomeschoolthings and dreamt of having the perfect homeschool one day. But the moment I realized our homeschool was already perfectly mine, it changed everything for me.
I no longer look at Pinterest and Instagram with a jealous heart, I look at it with pride and optimism.
I don’t compare our homeschool and what we’ve created to those on social media, but I look to see what we could incorporate from others into our homeschool – if it’s a good choice for us.
Social media is not the enemy. As long as you do not let it control your every thought. Use it for good. Inspire others and be inspired.
8. The words and opinions of others will hurt.
I consider myself a pretty strong person. I am an 8 on the Enneagram after all. And the way 8’s handle harsh words and opinions of others is by labeling the people who said it as “Betrayers” and never sharing our personal life with them again.
But this falls into the category of “things I didn’t know about homeschooling” because… it still hurts.
We still feel judged and insecure. We still question everything they had an opinion about and wonder if we’re jacking our kids up.
But it’s what we do with the hurt that matters. If we take every opinion that’s shared with us and act on it, we’re doing nothing to move our homeschool forward in the long-run.
Now, I’m not going to say that every opinion isn’t worth visiting. But those opinions that are shared from people who really shouldn’t have an opinion on your homeschooling journey… Yeah, those should just be tossed away for good.
9. Thoughts of giving up will come into your mind on a loop.
I mentioned that my kids’ education is everything to me. And it is. But that doesn’t mean the thoughts of giving up and just putting them back in a public school doesn’t cross my mind.
That’s why I teach about finding your why in the Homeschool 101 mini-course. It’s the thing that keeps me grounded when all I want to do is throw out everything I thought I wanted and give up.
If you don’t have a “why” to fall back on when it gets rough, I suggest you take a minute to do that soon. It will change everything for you.
10. Of all the things I didn’t know about homeschooling, the joy will outweigh it all.
If you’ve ever given birth without medication… 🙋🏼♀️Then you know the overwhelming feelings of joy that come instantly, when you finally see that baby. The pain, the feelings of giving up, the pain, the doubt, the struggles, and the pain doesn’t even cross your mind anymore. For whatever reason, those feelings are trumped by this sense of accomplishment, strength, and pure JOY.
That’s what happens in homeschool.
You have moments of doubt, uncertainty, discontent, frustration, struggle – Sometimes, all in the same day! But one tiny moment can erase it all. Those are the tiny moments you feel JOY in what you’ve created for your family.
When your kindergartener tells someone else something they learned three weeks ago that you didn’t even know they we’re comprehending.
When your seventh grader says, “Oh! I get it now!” after an hour of explaining the same thing over and over again.
When your baby is content with playing blocks while you read a book to your family, instead of crawling all over you and whining.
The joy literally outweighs it all at the end of the day. And if we can just remember that in every moment, we will have everything we need to sustain our will to continue creating a homeschool our family loves. ♥️
Thanks for reading 10 things I didn’t know about homeschooling.
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