Did you have a picture-perfect vision of what school would look like before you started? So did I. We envision the perfect days when our children are sitting still at their school desks, we are prepared with perfect lessons, and our days go by without a hitch. Then we start and find out that is far from true! I want to pass along some lessons from homeschooling that I’ve learned along the way.
1. There Will Be Interruptions
There are going to be good days and bad days. And sometimes there will even be bad years. That’s just life! When you are doing school at home, you have to expect that interruptions and events are going to occur. People get sick, accidents happen, someone shows up at your door, your husband loses his job, or your family has to move. Despite all that, your children are still learning because life skills are just as essential as the information they are getting from a curriculum. They may not be completing all their regular work, but there are still valuable lessons they are learning. Those types of days or years even out over time.
2. Nobody Has It All Figured Out
Despite what you think or see on the internet, no one has it all figured out. I have spoken to veterans who are graduating their children, and they are still questioning things. When we read blogs or go to Pinterest, it looks as if everyone has all the answers. I am here to tell you after 14 years, I am still figuring it out, and that’s okay. You will learn as you go and even change many things over the years.
3. Relax a Little
Relax! It’s not going to hurt your children or their education. Just because there’s something in the lesson plan for that day, doesn’t mean you can’t veer off the beaten path once in a while. I’ve been guilty of not doing that from time to time. As the years have gone by, I’ve realized we missed some great opportunities and it wouldn’t have mattered if the kids missed a few subjects that day.
4. Doing Less Is More
Doing less is more. Children actually learn better in short spurts rather than long drawn-out sessions. One of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from Charlotte Mason is doing short lessons. Any curriculum you buy that is based on this method will be structured this way. When you look through it, you will wonder how in the world your child is learning anything when he is only spending 15 minutes a day on it. You will be surprised! The brain works so much better this way. Even if you are not a Charlotte Mason fan, this is one technique you should try.
5. Meal Planning Makes School Days Easier
Meal planning makes my school days so much smoother. It has taken me years to realize this. When the afternoon rolls around, I don’t have to wonder what is for dinner and whether I have all the ingredients for it or not. I can’t concentrate on finishing up school and not be worrying about dinner and if I need to run to the store or get takeout.
6. Do Something Fun
Take the time to do something fun with your kids. All work and no play makes for a boring school that some children will come to dread. Mix it up once in a while with a field trip or just throwing in a game or unusual activity. They will love it!
7. Children Can Learn to Be Independent
Most children can learn to be independent in some way with the proper training and tools. It may take time and lots of practice, but slowly, they can learn to do some or all of their work on their own and this is a skill that will have lasting effects. Here is an article I have written about independent learning strategies.
8. Figure Out Your Child’s Learning Style
The best curriculum in the world isn’t going to make your child learn if the information isn’t presented in the way he learns. I have written a post about different learning styles if you aren’t familiar with this. It’s so important to know how your child learns best. It could make all the different in your homeschool.
9. Index Cards Can Be Your Best Friend
Index cards are a homeschool mom’s best friend. They can be used for just about anything! I may do a whole different post on all the different ways index cards can be used. Flashcards are the most obvious, but they can be used for different games, studying for tests, writing papers, framing words, and so much more. Get yourself a pack today!
10. You Don’t Need a Room to Homeschool
You don’t need a school room to homeschool. I have never had one in the 14 years we’ve been doing school. We homeschool right at our kitchen table, back porch, or other places the kids find comfortable. If you have one, that is great. I just don’t want people to think it’s necessary to have. You may find if you set up a school room with little desks, your children will probably end up doing most of their schoolwork elsewhere anyways.
11. Take Time to Make Memories
Most importantly, take the time to make memories and build relationships. These years can seem really long sometimes, but I’m here to tell you, you are going to wake up one day very soon and it’s graduation day. Enjoy the ride, even when it’s bumpy.
If you have never heard of the comedian Tim Hawkins, who homeschools his children, here is a great video where he talks about homeschooling and it’s sure to give you a laugh.
I found another article from a family that learned some great lessons in homeschooling as well. It is well worth reading. There are so many things to discover about yourself and your children as you embark on this journey. I hope you have found these helpful. What lessons have you learned so far? Please let me know in the comments below.
Hi I'm Heidi. I'm a former teacher turned homeschool mom of three. I've homeschooled from the beginning and my oldest is now graduated. I believe your home doesn't have to be chaotic just because you homeschool. When you join The Unexpected Homeschooler's community, you'll learn how to have a more organized, efficient, and productive homeschool, and I’ll send you this Daily Assignment Sheet tool as a gift to teach your students to work independently and free up your time.