Homeschooling is something that I decided to do prior to the time that my children were due to start school. The pandemic also played a huge role in my choice as well. Funny thing is where we lived at the time our oldest could not attend school because she wasn’t considered “school age” there. I think it changed now. That wasn’t the case when we moved back home so we started homeschool a few months later. Although I didn’t think it would be easy, I didn’t think it be so hard – at first – either. I know some would say something like, “It was only her first year”, but it’s different when you’re your child’s teacher now on top of already being their parent.
A schedule is one thing and so is trying to figure out why your child is uninterested. I’ve been teaching – reading, alphabet and number identification, writing, etc. – all of my children since they were months old. Of course, I expanded what I taught as they got older, but it wasn’t an every single day thing. With homeschool you can do your own thing, so school does not have to be Monday through Friday. You have to know your child too in order to know if a day off or an extra day is necessary. I was having an issue with figuring out both. It’s fun (to a child) when the majority of your time is spent doing arts and craft versus lining numbers up to figure out what they equal. Tracing numbers and letters, being guided by YouTube with a subject or two was working until it wasn’t. She got bored real fast, and I got real stuck real fast. I spent plenty of days crying, ready to give up because,
- I didn’t and still don’t know any homeschool moms and their children.
- People continuously give their unasked-for opinions about what they heard about how homeschooled children turn out *rolls eyes*.
- I don’t have any help – another mom or support group or family – in this journey.
- It’s as if homeschooling is this unheard or and unrealistic thing to everybody that I know but me.
So, it’s been a very judgmental road which makes things worse. But I’ve found ways to cope with that, well, more like a way. I simply don’t talk to anybody … about it … but also in general.
The biggest issue that I was having with homeschool was this mindset of how things had to be. She had to sit at her desk to complete all of her work. She had to nap and eat by certain times, she could only spend this amount of time on a subject, and I had to stop that. First of all, she’s only six-years-old and like most children she only wants to do what she’s absolutely interested in. Or what I make interesting for her. I had to figure out how to work with that because this is her home but it’s her school ground as well, so she has to be comfortable and that wasn’t my thought process then. Allowing her that freedom to roam the house and not be confined to one space showed me exactly how I was complicating this journey for her and for us. Think about it, in school – at least those that I attended – I moved around to transition classrooms. She may not be in a school building but she’s in school and I can’t expect her to want to sit still for hours a day doing the same thing(s).
I let her choose where she’d like to be while I teach her what she needs to know because this a team experience and effort. The goal is for her to want to learn and do the work so that she’ll know it. So, even though it secretly messes with me on the inside that she’s in bed doing her work sometimes, the bigger picture is that it’s getting done. It’s only going to get better from here because I’m following her lead and putting myself in her shoes now. She has days where she’ll burn herself out with school and other days where she’s like, “Can I just do school on my iPad?” It a lot of effort on my end to keep her interested so I make sure that I hype – meaning cheer her on – her up on even the smallest things because sometimes adults don’t realize how big a very small thing is to a child. I’ve been asked lately by a few people if I plan to continue homeschooling because next year my middle child will join us. The short answer to that is yes, I do plan to still homeschool because we are capable of getting over those obstacles. I don’t want to shy away from anything or discourage myself because I am capable. I want to teach my girls the same.
I wanted to leave any parent(s) thinking of homeschooling with some advice, but I’m not sure if I have anything good. Off the top of my head, I will say that people will doubt and question your decision but that’s not reason enough to not do it. You are your child/children’s parent(s), not them, and they’re more than likely not going to help you do any of it anyway. People will probably bombard you with what they heard about the social skills of those homeschooled and the reality of that is kids can still be social with other kids outside of school. Which I also said previously. I’d suggest homeschooling groups which I wish we had here, but we do not. Other than that, I’m going to say don’t go broke on curriculum, depending on your choice of homeschool don’t stress yourself about the yearly reviews just stay prepared in advance always, get yourself an academic planner to write down everything that you guys do and enjoy the experience overall. If you don’t enjoy it neither will you child/children and that’s the most important part to remember in my opinion.