In our homeschool, we have discovered what I call “secrets” that have served us well over the past eighteen years. They have been discovered as we unwrapped homeschooling year after year. I want to share them with you as you start out, because I wish I had known about them much earlier.
As you start out, think about taking these action steps.
- Adopt a flexible mindset. Sometimes, character qualities will be more important than lesson plans. Be prepared to put down math and deal with these issues as they arise, or they will continue to rear their ugly heads.
- Adopt patience for people who don’t get it. For some reason, everyone thinks homeschool moms have lots of free time. Be patient but firm about school hours and activities. Real patience, however, is God-breathed. When people do admire your patience to homeschool, be sure to point up.
- Adopt the understanding that no curriculum is perfect. Some books may remain on your shelf, never opened. Others will provoke tears. Remember, curriculum choice should take into consideration the way your children learn and the way you teach. Finding the best fit will take some trial and error. No guilt allowed!
- Adopt a place to do school. It is nice to be able to leave school wherever you stop instead of having to clean up everything to make dinner. We did school on the kitchen table for years, but later, really enjoyed being able to leave it in a separate room and close the door. If you do not have the space for that, a comfy chair or couch for reading is a minimum. Our most precious memories are made snuggling and learning on our couch.
- Adopt community. Find women with children on a similar journey (with similar beliefs and educational goals). We need each other.
- Avoid comparing. Most homeschool children are academically average. Within the homeschool community, there is the assumption that homeschool children should be above average and high achieving academically. This assumption can put you under a lot of pressure. If your kids are geniuses, that is great! But if they are not, that’s okay, too. My children learned to read in spite of me, and even though I think they are amazing, they are average academically.
- Avoid losing hope. Don’t give up. There will be hard days, but there will be equally rewarding ones too.
- Admit your faults, sins, and weaknesses to your children. Do this as they show themselves in real time (use discernment, of course). Ask for God’s forgiveness on the spot. Little eyes are watching.
- Admit when you are wrong. Let them see you on your knees. Pray together.
- Accept a messy house and imperfect days. I relate most to women whose homes are imperfect, messy, and in states of transition and growth. Want to make a friend feel at home? Let them see your messes. Your children will remember that project on the table more than they will a clean house. Trust me on this. Being allowed to create messes will enlarge your and your child’s creativity.
- Accept the fact that homeschool will not look like school at home. It isn’t supposed to, and you will be glad it doesn’t.
- Accept help and ask for it, too. Are there family and friends who can help? Do you have a mom who can sew or an uncle who is a photographer? Incorporate these things into your child’s education.
- Ask for and accept God’s strength in our weakness. Pray for wisdom!
- Appreciate this opportunity. You have been entrusted to raise disciples at home, intentionally. God loves you so much that He entrusted you with His beautiful children.
- Appreciate the one who provides so that you can stay at home. Thank God for them.
- Appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary: Pjs till noon, backwards day (eat dessert first), educational movies, doing school outside, eating under the table pretending to be princes and princesses, nature walks—you get the idea.
- Appreciate that this rewarding homeschooling journey will change you, stretch you, shape you, grow you, and better you. Seriously.