In just a few short days, when we celebrate our first official school day of 2017-2018, I will be in my twentieth year of homeschooling. I’m still letting that sink in. Twenty years. It seems like a long time, but I know moms who have been doing it for twenty-five or thirty years – or more! Although I’ve learned a lot about homeschooling, about my kids, and about myself over those years, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be learning new things this year.
If you’re a new homeschooler, these are some things you might expect to learn too.
I’ve learned that Mom knows best. I think we all know that, deep down, but so many mom decisions we make are huge responsibilities, so we sometimes doubt ourselves. But think about it – who else is more committed and invested in your child’s success in life? It means more to a parent than to outsiders, no matter how much expertise in child care or education an outsider has. The recommendations and knowledge of the educational experts and professionals are valuable resources we can and should look to. But in my homeschool experience, and in the experience of homeschoolers I know, I’ve learned that Mom is the best expert on her kids and what works for their education.
I’ve learned to avoid comparing myself to others. Our homeschool doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. Not even that “perfect” homeschool family that I admire so ardently. I’ve learned to get ideas and inspiration and recommendations from other homeschoolers, and to use only what works well for us, without feeling compelled to copy what they are doing.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to learn as I go. First, on a personal level, because none of us have the patience or discipline to do this when we start. We develop it as we go, and it’s an ongoing thing. I’ve learned the truth of God’s promise that his mercies are new every morning. And second, as a teacher, I don’t have to be an expert on everything, and I don’t have to do it all myself. I can learn along with my kids, or I can find a co-op or tutor or online class if I’m really out of my depth. I’ve also learned a lot of things – especially in Science and History – that I probably should have learned when I was in school, and I either didn’t or I forgot.
I’ve learned that homeschooling is hard work. It’s demanding and time-consuming, and not everyone is supportive or understanding. I’ve learned that my kids aren’t perfectly behaved just because they’re homeschooled, and I’ve learned that they won’t necessarily be appreciative of the effort I’m putting into this, nor will they always be cooperative, model students.
But most importantly . . .
I’ve learned that homeschooling is one of the most rewarding and worthwhile things I could ever have been doing with my time. The rewards and blessings are so much more than just knowing that we did a good job with their education. We are building godly character in each other, and we are building deep and lasting relationships.
How many years have you been homeschooling? What advice would you share with a new homeschool mom? Let us know in the comments!