“My kids will never be homeschooled.”
As an 18 year old with all the answers for my future, I was adamant about this decision. I had just graduated from a small, conservative public school, and had a wonderful experience all around. I expected my future children to do the same.
Fast forward several years. My husband was an evangelist, and we were traveling with him full time, living in an RV. The panic many moms felt in 2020 as children were forced into “distance learning” was a feeling I am very familiar with. I had experienced that same water-in-the-face moment three years prior. As my daughter turned 4, I panicked with the realization: I have a school-aged child, and I have no school to send her to! Homeschooling was not my best option, it was my only option. I didn’t think I could do it, and I sure didn’t want to. However, I had no choice. Homeschooling, here we come!
That was in the fall of 2017. Five years later, I’m so glad I took the leap of faith. I never thought I could mentally handle homeschooling, or do it successfully, but here we are! I’ve done it, and so can you!
If this is your first year homeschooling, or you’re still relatively new, here’s a couple tips I’ve found that have made our journey smoother.
Adapt a positive mindset.
Homeschooling is HARD. It may not be what you wanted…but it is your reality. Set the tone for your homeschooling as a positive opportunity. Remember mama, your attitude often sets the mood for your home. Whether you are homeschooling by choice or by necessity, you have the privilege of spending more time with your children than most parents are able to. Choose to view it as a gift, not a punishment. While there are days I would give my right arm to send my children away for 8 hours, I do my best to keep a positive attitude towards them and their school work. This is an opportunity that God has given me, and I will choose to be thankful for it.
Embrace a lifestyle of learning.
Children are naturally curious, and they will learn so much from the times outside of school hours when you engage with them. Allow them to learn about what they are interested in. Answer their questions as best as you can, and if all else fails, turn to Dr. Google! My kids no longer accept, “I don’t know” as an answer to a science or history question. They’ll direct me, “Mom, just google it!”
If something isn’t working, change it! Be it location, time of day, or curriculum, be willing to experiment to find what works best for your family. My children are NOT early risers, so we start school later in the day. Be flexible also in the daily grind of schooling—if everyone is having a rough day, take an extra break. Try changing up the location, like bringing their work outside. Or, just stop schooling altogether for that day, and pick it up again on the next. Sometimes, everyone benefits from a reset.
Keep it simple.
I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve been guilty of this. The lure of picture perfect classrooms, fancy filing systems, laminated assignment charts and pretty planners sucked me in at the start. When Madilyn was starting Pre-K, I had multiple Pinterest boards, searched Instagram hashtags, and looked for extra activities and worksheets. I was going to DO IT ALL. And it was going to be the best, obviously. =) What I found was that literally none of the extra stuff was necessary, and it only added more stress. Start simple, then if you must, add on the fancy stuff.
As Christians, we are given the command in Proverbs 22 to “Train up a child in the way that they should go…” By homeschooling, we are not limited to teaching the subjects of math, science and reading. We are given endless opportunities to teach our children about the Word of God, help develop their character and find the purpose God has for their lives. Mama, God has given YOU these precious babies to raise and train. You may feel inadequate or unprepared, but God will give you the strength and wisdom you need on this journey. You’ve got this!
Homeschooling can definitely be challenging, but the rewards are innumerable. I’ll leave you with a scripture for the journey:
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (AMP)