The things I wish I knew when I started homeschooling
A while ago in a large homeschool group on Facebook I asked the question...if you could go back and tell yourself advice about homeschooling what would you have said to do more of/differently/words of wisdom?
As we all gear up for a new calendar year it seems fitting to share these responses. Read them, digest them, remember what is most important for why you homeschool.
Here are their responses verbatim:
Play more... there is time for studying later.
Some days we school and most days we play and that's ok.
More reading together, more field trips, more hikes, & more play dates! I'm not sure I would have listened to that advice, but I sure wish I had received it
Cuddle with them while reading to them.
Mom of 8- 24 year of homeschooling Scripture memory Catechism memory Read read read Drill math facts Fun art- oh to have them back!
I had all third and under last year but I'm not seasoned. (Only my 2nd year). But one thing I wish I did more with my 3rd grader was math fact drill sheet every day. We did it more this year and very little time with it made a huge difference!! HUGE!
Relax and cut yourself some slack. I was way too hard on myself, stressing that I wasn't doing enough, that we weren't finishing material quicker, that Jimmy's mom says her kid is a genius and mine can't spell cat. Enjoy, read, get messy with crafts, go outside... just be in the moment.
Field trips and hands on outside activities
Field trips. Memorize scripture. Point out the little and big things God is doing around you. Focus on character building. Instill hard work and chores.
Relax and play!
Don't try to duplicate public school - read a lot to them - cuddle often
RELAX AND PLAY!!!
Relax because someday you'll look at the oldest and realize he's almost grown (13, and competed in Mock Trial today). You'll wonder if you were able to enjoy him as much as you do the 20 month old right now. Be able to say "yes, I did!"
Push (gently) for Memory Master, don't let it be an option. Phonics, reading, copywork daily, math daily. Have fun and play more.
I need to add, the entire process really shouldn't be more than 2-3 hours a day at this age, MAX! Maybe 10-20 mins phonics, 10-20 mins math, 5-10 minutes of copywork (not repetitive nauseating copy 20 "a" type stuff, one time, really well and stop). It really should be fun and engaging, not nagging and yelling to "just get it done".
read, get those math facts down and play!
Relax, slow down and enjoy every moment. Play, read do field trips and savor this time.
Relax J Read aloud. Nature walks. Establish chores. Laugh
To get under the kitchen table with sheets on it for a tent and have a tea party.
To run around the house making ridiculous "choo choo" noises with my boy.
To read aloud great books.
To chill out about the house.
To stop comparing my kids to anyone else. I was so exhausted. Maybe if I could have all the errands on one or two days... and planned to stay home and play more.
RELAX. Put the CC CD on and call school "done"! Then go have fun, go to museums, play at the park, work on character building. And read, read, read, read good books.
Relax, read, play, read, go outside, read, field trips to everywhere, read and play
This is all great advice. Having a second child (he's 1 lol) threw me off so a lot of my daughter's year was spent playing/drawing. I've felt so guilty about but it reading also finally clicked, she does most of her work on her own without me there (handwriting/math). So maybe being thrown off was what I needed.
Relax! I was told that a lot, but didn't really understand how important it truly is.
Enjoy the time with your kids. Sing the memory songs, make up silly games, and just enjoy your time with them!
Enjoy the process. I think almost every homeschooling mom freaks out when starting for varying reasons: not sure what they're doing, trying to keep up with all those unattainable Pinterest-worthy homeschool blogs, fear that they're not doing enough/doing too much, trying to please the skeptics, what have you. Many of the sweetest years are lost in fret. If you feel called to homeschool, trust that God will provide the grace to do so, rest in that, and enjoy the journey! Find a simple rhythm to your school days that create predictability but don't let the schedule rule you. Always put character over curriculum. If tantrums or squabbles take place during a lesson, they are not interruptions to your school day; they are divine appointments that grant insight into your childrens' hearts. Pray for them, address those issues, and only then go back to the workbooks (don't ever put more value in completing the math lesson over the opportunity to shepherd a heart). Fall in love with good stories, sing, train your kiddos in life skills, cuddle, and LAUGH together... a LOT. Have the end in mind and aspire to build a family culture that your kids will look back on fondly.
DON'T BUY A BUNCH OF CURRICULUM!!
Simplify. Don't compare. I am not "seasoned" by any means, my kiddos are littles too, but I strongly believe in these.
More handwriting! We did most things orally and now my 14 yr old is a slow and messy writer, I believe from lack of experience. I wish I'd had her copy things off the whiteboard to practice note taking!
Read, Teaching From A Place of Rest. You will glean more than I can give you after homeschooling for 14 years.
I would relax and play more....
Pray, breathe, and try to remember these years (as difficult as they can be at times) are fleeting.
Learning is FUN!!! If it's getting crazy, you need to "redirect". Ditch workbooks, busy work & anything you are doing just because". Don't sweat the small stuff, they WILL be able to add & read by the time they get married!! You got this!
Sweat nothing. Have a weekly support group for yourself. Self care, take no sh*t from the husband: If he needs addiction management point him to it and see that he has MEN to be accountable to. Insist on it. If his work life balance is awful, say so. Point him to counseling, doctor and others besides yourself to be accountable to. Insist on it. Use community resources. Don't think of yourself as a lone wolf with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Connect, if connecting falls apart try again. KIDS CAN DO CHORES. Insist on it. If it seems to hard to manage with a new baby and no one is helping do the Accountable Kids Program. Self care. Read Teaching From Rest. Your not a prisoner and all this is temporary. Enjoy it. It really is pure joy.
I have two boys, 15 and 13. They've always been homeschooled. If I could go back, I would tell myself that you don't have to prove anything to anyone, meaning that you need to figure out what kind of learners your kids are and be ok with that. I have one kid who is like me and is an overachiever and wants to be TOP OF THE CLASS. The other one just goes with the flow and is fine with just getting his work done and passing. I pushed both my kids so hard because I felt like because we homeschooled that they both had to be UBER PERFECT. Not until recently have I come to the realization that I have to let them be who they are as learners and just encourage them to do their best, while not putting undue stress on them towards "perfection".
The best curriculum is what you teach.
Keep it simple.
Have fun don't be a slave to the schedule 5 days a week. Just 3-4.
Buy good PJs that won't fade, and fit.your neighbor's will see your kids at least once a year in their PJs.
Don't compare, focus on math & reading and the rest will come; play more games; don't switch curriculum mid-year!!!
Teach from rest, and they will pick up nearly all the math by the end of third grade, even if you didn't do the books all year
Stop trying to do so much CC + Math + handwriting + TONS of literature is more than enough!
Relax and have fun! Enjoy this learning time.
Lots of fun reading to them and with them! Don't stress about their reading and writing level. It will come and you will be amazed!
Do reading, writing, math, and memory work. It really is enough! Trust the CC process, it really works! Don't be afraid to think outside the box and let them enjoy pursuing what they love and support them in their areas of difficulty. You are doing a great job! Play outside. Make your memory work fun by reviewing it as a game. Read out loud to them. Teach them now while they want to be helpful how to do chores and pitch in, you will be glad later. Enjoy nap time!
Lots of hands on stuff, experiments and learning by "doing" (engage the 5 senses as much as possible with everything they learn because it causes the brain to store the learned concept at a deeper level), lots of games, lots of field trips to anywhere they can think of, lots of educational videos, etc. Don't force reading or math. Just read tons of books with them about every subject possible. Go to the library regularly (weekly) and let them check out books on whatever subjects interests them at that time.
Snuggle, read aloud, enjoy messy art projects, and get outside often 👏🏻
Read, cuddle, and enjoy.
Public school is not better, you are doing a good job, the rewards will come! I say this because I have a son high functioning on the autism spectrum and who is now almost finished with his 8th grade year. Our early years of school were so hard and I often thought maybe someone else would be a better teacher for my son. He still has struggles and we still have hard days, but the boy who couldn't add is now doing pre algebra! He made it through 3 years of Essentials and is now in Challenge A writing persuasive essays and learning Latin! No one knows and loves your child like you do. A teacher cannot give him the time, attention, and tailored education you can. You are giving him a beautiful gift. God has an amazing plan for his life and He has uniquely gifted and picked you to be his mom. Love him and don't be afraid to throw the plan out the window some days! Praying for you, that you will find joy, even on the hard days. You've got this!
Have more fun.
Enjoy it! Read together. Go outside. Have experiences and not at the table learning. Field trips. You only have this freedom for a precious short time. Soon, more of their hours will be consumed by their studies. Treasure the time you have now and don't add any more school than needed.
Read together. Paint. Explore.
teach them to read, teach them to investigate, teach them to love learning.... toss in a little math and memorization along the way and they can learn anything!
Cherish the talky, inquistiveness of that period because it passes too quickly! Enjoy good books together. Keep school simple. Get outdoors a lot. Always place relationship(loving them well) and character/discipleship over checking off the academic milestone boxes. And finally, take care of yourself...body, soul and spirit.
You are doing enough- don't miss the joy by allowing the enemy to make you afraid and insecure
Read to them daily - fun books that are well-written. Encourage in them a love of learning.
Be intentional. (Grit is my new fav parenting book by Angela Duckworth).
I should have taught my oldest child how to make coffee much sooner than I did. ⛅️
Read read read! Get out in nature and explore the wonder of God's creation. Art, play through imagination-building logos, playing house etc.
Calm down. There are plenty of years of diligent academics ahead. One important goal is to teach them to work independently. They don't have to master it right away, but work towards it.
What you do in 3rd grade and under does not determine how they perform in high school! STOP attending home school related meetings geared towards what happens in Jr High and High School as you have enough worry for today. Live in the moment because before you know it the moments turn into hours, hours turn into days and days into years. The days are long but the years are OH SO SHORT! Slow down! Seek the Lord about all your outside activities and do not compare your schedule with anyone else's! Your family, God's way!
Read to them, play with them!
Don't forget to enjoy them, read to them, laugh with them, teach them how to bake, cook, sew, go to the zoo, on a hike, plant flowers with them, and hug them!
Take it slow. A litof reading and talking and playing. Nothing too formal
Put play in your day! Make the love of learning your goal. Enjoy what you are doing that works and extend yourself a mountain of grace.
Read! Read! Read! Have fun!! Don't push them too hard-- there is time for that when they are OLDER! Keep it centered on the Lord and Him continually in your conversation. Play a lot!
Read a lot - the Bible, poetry, books, etc.
Enjoy! Get outside! There's SO much time later for desk work!