I love homeschooling my kiddos.
But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I felt fearful, nervous, inadequate, and unsure. I read homeschooling blogs and posts from homeschooling moms who seemed to be so good at schedules and crafts and organization. I began to feel like I had no business homeschooling. I’m not organized, I’m not detailed, and I’m not into crafts or strict schedules.
But I know now that those aren’t the requirements for homeschooling.
I also know now I’m a Type-B mom. And I’m finally okay with that. But before I
accepted embraced who I was, I almost quit.
I remember sitting down on a friend’s couch and telling her that I thought I should just put my kids in school. I wasn’t cut out for homeschooling, and I didn’t want my kids to miss out. I felt so torn up about it. What to do?
On the drive home from her house, I called another homeschooling friend who put her daughter in private school for a year and I explained my thoughts and asked her for advice. She asked me this question, “Why did you decide to homeschool?”
Good question. I somehow hadn’t even considered it in such a long time I had forgotten about it. But there it was: Why?
I said to her, “I want to disciple my kids, and teach them according to their bents and strengths. I want to do life with them and help along, preparing them for the world.”
And there it was. The biggest thing was that I wanted to be with them, discipling them, day in and day out. Yes, I want them to have a strong education, but first and foremost I want to teach them how to live.
It was that conversation that reminded me of the beauty of homeschooling, and further more, it made me realize I didn’t have to homeschool according to how anyone else did it. I could tailer our homeschooling to my personality and our unique family dynamics. Recognizing this truth was a game-changer for our family. And now, I am not fearful, and am much better at not comparing myself to other homeschool moms. I am enjoying homeschooling, and I adore watching my kids grow into who God fashioned them to be.
Here are a few things I’ve learned that led to me enjoying homeschooling…
5 Ways to Enjoy Homeschooling
Know Your Why (and Revisit it Often)
Do you have a “why”?
When my friend asked me why I was homeschooling, it brought me to the core of the matter. It made me think about the purpose behind why I am giving myself to this work of educating my children. And you know, once I answered that question, it was a fresh wind to my soul, and felt excited and delighted to homeschool again.
That was two years ago and I still find it such a joy to home educate.
Embrace Who You Are
There is accepting yourself and there is embracing yourself. I say, embrace the beautiful person that God wove you together to be. Sure, you have your quirks, your shortfalls, and there is that pesky sin-nature, but the core of who you are, all that color stuffed inside your soul from the Master Artist, that’s you. And your personalty is God-given and I believe He delights in it, because when you are fully you, He is fully glorified. To deny who you are, or to try and be like someone else, is to deny His handiwork. So maybe you’re not into details, or maybe you rock at them, either way, be you in how you homeschool and you will experience great joy in the process.
Go With What Works for Your Family
Everyone has a different family dynamic. What works for me isn’t going to necessarily work for you. Figure out the unique chemistry of your people and go with it. Do you like to sleep in and get school going late morning over pancakes? Great! Do you like watching the sun rise and hitting the ground running? Great! Strict schedule keeper? Rock it. Flexible, do school throughout the day mom? Cool. We are all different, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to homeschool. Figure out your family puzzle (as Sally says), and get on with it!
Don’t Push Your Kids Before They’re Ready
Each child learns at a different rate. The beauty of homeschooling is that you don’t have to push them before they’re ready. You can watch and observe as they grow and how they learn, and push gently when the time is right. You’ll know. You gain confidence the more you do this homeschooling thing. I used to think I had to understand how my children learned before we even began, and it overwhelmed me! I finally let that go and just did my best, and it became evident when something was or was not working. I didn’t have to force understanding it, it just presented itself.
Here’s the thing, I once read or heard (can’t remember where) this illustration that helped me in teaching my kids: If you look at a class photo, the kids are different heights. You might have an extremely tall child, or a short child, and varying heights in between. That is what it’s like inside a child, it’s just that we can’t see it, and so we tend to treat children as if they’re all in the same place mentally. The reality is, they aren’t. With homeschooling you have the opportunity to know your child and go at their pace.
My daughter is an avid reader, but my son, who is eight, has struggled. He is still only reading BOB books. But he is improving slowly, and I get to be with him to encourage him and not make him feel anything other than what he is, smart. 🙂
Don’t compare your kids with other kids, and be careful not to push them before they are ready. You’ll know.
How does this make homeschooling more enjoyable? You won’t be fearful, you won’t be pulling your hair out when your child isn’t understanding something, and there won’t be nearly as many tears. Unfortunately, the pressure is on for kids, and they feel it, and it is causing unneeded stress in their little bodies. Let them be who they are. Let them enjoy schooling (okay, they won’t enjoy all of it!). Let them be kids and play and for goodness sake, it’s okay if they don’t know world history by first grade!
I’ll end this section by sharing with you what my mentor shared with me, “If you want your children to be brilliant, read to them tons (and give them good books), have them around adults, and play good music!” 😉
Put Blinders On
Honestly, I have avoided our local homeschool conference for two years because I didn’t want to get neurotic about our educational choices. I know that if I go and look at all the thousands of choices, I will compare, fret, and get overwhelmed. It seems there is always something I could be doing better, and wouldn’t you know XYZ has just the product to help me! And ya’ll, I’m a sucker for it. Avoiding the choices the last two years has been very good for me, and I’ve been happier for it, I’m sure. Irony alert: I got asked to speak at CHAP this year, our local homeschool convention! Ha! So, I will be there, but if you see me, remind me to put my blinders on! 😉
Just as an FYI, I don’t there is anything wrong with looking over curriculum choices at a conference, and I’m sure I’ll do it this year, since I’ll be there. The point is that once you make your decision, be confident in it! Go forward, no comparing, no looking back! And this goes for what you read online as well. If you aren’t encouraged by it, bop away and move on! You are you, you are woven uniquely by God, and you are able to school your babes!
Here’s to the delight of homeschooling!
P.S. Get The Type-B Homeschool Plan (lesson planning for the rest of us) for only $2.99 by clicking HERE!
Let's not lose touch!
Get weekly inspiration on mothering and life, plus the first 42 pages of my new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul.