Sunday, August 14, 2016

5 things I wish I would have told myself as a new homescool mom

With everyone getting back to school, I know there's a few new homeschooling families out there so I wanted to write down the things that I wish I had really paid attention to when I started on the journey of homeschool. When I started homeschooling, I had researched for what seemed like years.  I wanted to be extra prepared for the day after I pulled them from public school. I had pages and pages of what I had researched in multiple notebooks. I felt that I was completely ready for this journey, and in most ways I was. As a homeschooling mom, there are always doubts and questions. Am I teaching enough? Are they learning enough?  I knew every reason I wanted to homeschool. I was going to give them the best education I was able to, all while helping them grow into wonderful, well rounded adults. It seemed so easy, and while it's not "hard" to homeschool, the pressures I put on myself in the beginning completely stressed me out, and put a strain on everything I was trying to create at home. So, this is a list of things that I wish I could have told myself in the beginning. I think it would have saved me some stress and made me a better teacher from the beginning.

1. Deschool a lot longer than a couple of weeks.

I had read and reread about deschooling, but we were so eager to jump in and start our curriculum. that we only gave it a couple of weeks. The recommended time is one month for every year they were in public school, but in my mind they would be doing nothing during that time. Sitting around playing, or watching t.v. was NOT going to give them the education I was striving for.  Well guess what? They would have been learning (they learn everyday) and we could have reconnected during that time. I would have given us more time to get used to the change in our schedules and the new routine. No matter how eager you are, make sure you give yourselves time to deschool! It's important!

2. Stop trying to recreate public school! 

This is some good advice. Why I didn't listen to all of the other seasoned homeschoolers, I 'll never know. Public school wasn't working for them so why try to recreate it at home? That makes no sense.  I wanted a fun environment for them to learn in, but I kept trying to recreate a school room and curriculum. They weren't happy and neither was I. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool. I wanted to make learning fun. Recreating a place that they strongly disliked didn't work in my favor at ALL. Now we are so much more laid back and it works best for us. After we moved, we don't even  have a room dedicated for homeschool anymore, and I honestly love it so much more. It is what it's supposed to be, homeschool, not public school at home.

3.  Do more hands on activities.  

This kind of ties into the stop trying to recreate public school. Find more hands on activities because they love them. They don't want to have to read everything and do a worksheet over it. Get outside with them. Let them experience nature etc. up close. Get up from the table of books and busy work and find other ways to learn. Start a nature notebook, or just go on a walk. You would be surprised at what you find. There are so many times that we stumble upon some history or science and it sparks great conversations. Just yesterday as we were driving along in the rain, my 11 year old said, "When I get home, I'm going to see how many raindrops fall per second." What happens when he does this? Well he will look that question up, and then he may find something else that interests him. That will spark even more curiosity about the subject, and he can end up spending an hour learning about weather before it's all said and done. Next thing we can do together is make a rain gauge. It's hands on learning. He loves that kind the best!

4. Don't compare your school to the homeschooling mom down the street 

You didn't want your kids compared to other public school kids so why compare them to other homeschool kids? Your school should be catered to YOUR kids and family. That's the beauty of homeschool. You don't have to keep the same schedule or study the same things. Every homeschooling family is different. Make it your own.

I was the homeschool mom in the beginning that decided that my kids were going to learn 18 different languages and they would be doing calculus at 10. It didn't work out that way, and at first I was so hard on myself, especially since my kids DESPISED Latin. I had to remember that it's ok, my kids are still learning, even if they only speak English lol.

5. Remember it's ok if your day doesn't go as planned. 

I have a schedule. I have multiple planners. That does NOT mean that our schedule is going to work out the way I had it all written down. Sometimes one of the kids doesn't feel well. Sometimes I don't feel well. You just never know.

Just this past week, we have had company. My schedule was tossed to the wind, and we just did what we could, and then we let life happen. No, they didn't get all of their Astronomy read or their Language Arts done, but we lived life. We ran errands, and we went and played Pokemon Go, and enjoyed our company. We can get back on schedule after they go home. We just try and incorporate learning into our day whether it's spontaneous or we are grocery shopping and trying to keep it under budget. Life learning is one of my favorite subjects!

I hope this short list helps you if you're a new homeschool mom. I want to encourage you to just keep on keeping on. Nothing will be perfect or the way you planned it most days. Just remember to have fun on this journey and don't try and stress too much about it. They will learn. They will thrive. You're doing what's best for your family and that's what matters.



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