As we get ready to start a new school year, I’ve been thinking about how different it will be now that the one we started with won’t be part of it. Not that it will suddenly be easier with one graduated, after all we added two new students. 🙂 Some things will be easier this time around though. I’ve learned a lot over the last 13 years. Hopefully something here will encourage you during your homeschool journey.
- DON’T COMPARE! – This one is in all caps for a reason. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Here is a list of just some of the things that I saw in others that made me feel inadequate myself:
- What they were studying and what they used.
- How they dressed.
- How their kids behaved.
- How they seemed to have it all together.
- How they kept their home so clean.
- How talented they were at everything.
I had invented in my mind what a perfect homeschool mom would look like, and I was determined to be her. Thankfully, God sent someone to speak truth into my heart. If you struggle comparing yourself to other moms, please take the following words to heart and allow them to change your life also. God knew exactly what your children’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses would be and He chose you to be their mom. The “perfect mother” doesn’t exist but the perfect mother for your children does exist and she is you. Be the best version of you, you can be. Not only because your family deserves your best, but because they need you, to be you.
If you need extra encouragement in this area, Lies Homeschooling Mom’s Believe was a great resource to me. It’s a quick and helpful read.
2. Just as there is no perfect homeschool mom, there is no perfect curriculum. There are SO MANY choices when it comes to curriculum. Some of the ones that my friends loved for their family, just weren’t a good fit for us. Some things that worked wonderfully for one child, didn’t match the learning style of their siblings. I’m happy to say we have found the perfect fit for our family, other than an occasional tweak for learning styles, which leads me to the next lesson I have learned.
3. Learning styles matter. Our first couple of years homeschooling I gave this absolutely no thought whatsoever. Then our second child started school. My “school at home” method didn’t work as well. I’m grateful for the variety her learning style brought to our homeschool. We started doing more hands on learning and made a lot of memories because of it.
4. You can’t cover everything. There is so much to discover and learn in this world; you can’t teach it all and they can’t learn it all. The biggest key is to teach them the essentials like reading, math, and writing. From there instill in them a love of learning as you explore science and travel through history together. If they love learning and know how to find information, their education will continue the rest of their lives.
5. Our family needs a schedule or routine. This might not be true for everyone, but when it comes to our family we need structure or we don’t accomplish as much.
6. Sometimes life teaches us more valuable lessons than a book ever could. For example, when we were fostering, our big kids became a lot more independent with their school work and we didn’t do as much of the “fun” stuff. The lessons they learned from loving a baby that was reunited with her father and then loving their brothers even if it meant having to let them go too, grew them in ways many adults still haven’t experienced. An education is extremely important, but never overlook the blessings of life’s lessons as well.
7. God is faithful. We obediently chose to homeschool our children, when we felt that God wanted that for our family, but He took it from there. Looking back over the last 13 years it is evident how God guided us. The friends that were part of our lives, the co-ops and groups we belonged to, the life experiences we went through, and the personal interests of each child were all used by Him to shape our children. At times I wondered what the future would hold; would they get accepted into college or get a good job? Now with one down and four to go, all I can do is take a big sigh of relief and marvel at God’s faithfulness.
What lessons have you learned on your homeschooling journey?