When I first started homeschooling I had an idea of what it would look like. I ordered a huge box curriculum, bought old school desks and prepared to do school at home. I’ve learned many things along the way. Here are things I wish I’d known 25 years ago:
- Don’t compare! Don’t compare yourself with other moms or your kids with other kids.
- Seek joy in each day, don’t stress over the small stuff.
- Remember that kids learn by play. Give them time and space to be creative without electronics.
- Listen to your kids. What do they need from you? Sometimes kids act out because they want your attention. They may just need a hug or five minutes of face time with you to feel settled and at peace.
- Figure out how your homeschooling day/week works best for you. Someone’s perfect plan might not be right for your homeschool.
- Don’t push your kids to do too much too soon. Preschoolers and kindergartners don’t need a full curriculum. Read aloud lots of good books. Let your kids get enough sleep. Spend time outdoors enjoying nature.
- Feed your soul with God’s Word, and strengthen yourself daily with God’s strength.
- Give yourself grace. You will mess up. Every homeschooling mom does.
- Don’t feel what you’re doing is insignificant. Training your kids to follow God is a great work.
- Every child is different. What works for one child might not work for another. Learn what helps your kids to focus and what motivates them. Know their passions. This will help you teach in ways they can understand.
- Choose a curriculum that you enjoy. Your kids will learn even better when you’re teaching in a way that you’re excited about.
- Some days the housework and grocery shopping is school. Life skills are important for kids to learn, too.
- Don’t feel as if you need to do every assignment in the teacher’s guide or complete every worksheet in every workbook. Public school teachers don’t finish everything either.
- Take days off without guilt. Homeschooling allows for a flexible schedule.
- Also … don’t become lazy. Do what you can to develop a hunger for learning within your kids.
- Invite your kids to help you pick out things to study. Foster their interests.
- Even more important than the school books is teaching your children about God and His ways.
- Character training is important. Don’t rush past important character training moments to simply get the work done.
- Don’t attempt to replicate a school classroom or schedule at home.
- Writing down YOUR reasons and goals for homeschooling is important. Whenever your discouraged go back and read them.
- Connect with other homeschoolers for friendship.
- There will be bad days but focus on the good ones. Take a deep breath and tell yourself tomorrow can be great.
- Pray about everything. It’s okay to pray about multiplication tables.
- Don’t worry about algebra or essay writing when your kids are still small. When the time comes seek others to help you fill in your weak spots.
- Understand you’ll be learning right along with your kids.
- It’s okay to let your kids sleep in. Kids need rest to grow, and their attitudes are much better when they are rested.
- School doesn’t have to be done sitting down at a table. Boys especially need to be able to run, play and move.
- Time builds family bonds. At the end of your homeschooling journey, you’ll have a storehouse of wonderful memories.
- Attend a homeschooling conference. Teach Them Diligently conferences are great!
- Seek veteran homeschool moms for support and encouragement. Check out Homeschool Basics written by two veteran homeschool moms.
- Embrace freedom and flexibility.
- Fill your kids’ love tanks before you start the homeschooling day. The whole day will go better.
- It all comes down to eternity. Someday your children will stand before God. Don’t neglect the heart stuff to get the book stuff done. Remember the only thing vital is that they learn to love Jesus and love others. Everything else is secondary.
I still have ten years of homeschooling to go—after twenty-five years completed—I’m a much more relaxed homeschooling mom. Homeschooling has worked wonderfully, and I’ve graduated four students who are doing great! I’m so glad that God has taught me so much along the way.
This post was originally featured on ForTheFamily.org