Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few Things I Have Learned after Eleven Years of Homeschooling

1. Trust yourself.

Try not to second-guess yourself too much. I know. I have done it too often. But the thing is, if you do the research and think about how your family functions, how your kids learn, how much time you have for instruction and grading, you will be able to figure which curriculum to use and what homeschool style will work for you.

2. Don't be afraid to switch curriculum.

If a particular curriculum just isn't working for your student, find another one. This can be tough on the parent, but I feel that if they just aren't "getting it", it is better to switch and try something else. Math is the subject that my kids have the hardest time with. We have tried multiple texts, but we ended up back with what we started with. After trying the other texts, my son decided to stick with the beast he knew. Figures. 

3. Do what works for you.

Try not to feel pressured by the success of homeschooling friends and the way they homeschool. This is a real temptation, but just remember that to be successful you have to do what will work for your family, not someone else's family. It is better to get inspiration and ideas from others than to try to change who your family is and how they learn.

4. Always bring a book to read - everywhere.

This for your own sanity and self-education. It also sets a great example for your children.

5.Be a lifelong learner.

Demonstrate your love of learning for your children by always challenging yourself to learn. Read ahead on the list of books you have for your kids to read in high school. I know you have a list going - at least in your head. Or enroll in a MOOC like Coursera. I have really enjoyed some of the courses I have participated in. I will discuss some of them in a later post.

6. Find or start a homeschool support group that meets your needs.

When we started homeschooling, I went in search of a support group - like all the books suggested. I found a couple of groups in our area, but they turned out to not be right for us. There were a couple of other families in the group who felt the same way and we started our own group. We have a growing and active group that our kids have grown up with. I can't imagine trying to homeschool without the help and inspiration of these wonderful families. We older homeschooling moms have watched our kids grow up together and head off to different colleges, but the bonds they created are still strong.

7. Take a deep breath - it will all work out.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that everything will get covered, learned, cleaned up, done. There will be messes and chaos and struggles, but there will also be laughter, fun, peace, learning and love. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we don't have to adhere to rigid schedules -- unless rigid schedules are what work for you. I have had to learn to give myself a break and just let the worry go. Amazingly, my oldest graduated homeschooled high school and will be starting his sophomore year at college. Somehow, we got through it all and he is doing very well.