It’s so nice to be old.
I hardly remember when I was a fresh homeschool mom, and I am so glad that’s behind me, now.
My youngest children are so lucky. They don’t have to deal with a very stressed out, slightly obsessed with curriculum fairs and online homeschool resources mother.
They don’t have to deal with overscheduling and over doing it because back then I was stressed that I wasn’t doing enough.
And now, it’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s pleasant.
And the older children are extremely thankful that I grew out of the frazzled stage.
I finally laughed at myself about ten years ago. I was being so ridiculous. I was a frantic, high strung educator.
Looking back, I can see how much I should have just relaxed.
So for the benefit of you moms out there who are homeschooling who sometimes wake up at 3 am in a panic wondering if you’re doing enough or if that math curriculum was worth it, or if your children will end up alright, I am going to share some of the things I’ve learned since letting go of the stress and worry and guilt that used to accompany me daily as I walked the homeschool walk.
Here are some things about homeschool that you may not hear often:
1. People who are pro-public school don’t have to be your enemies.
No, really. It helps when we are kind and understanding of others who see differently than we do. That really goes along way. And, people who don’t necessarily agree with you and think you have lost your mind can still be considered non-enemies if we are tactful and generous in our thoughts, words and actions.
Also, homeschooling does not necessarily have to take over your life as a quasi-religious-political belief system. It can actually be something you believe in without being fanatical about it.
2. More money spent does not equal a better education.
This is really a big problem in our society, even among homeschoolers. As a culture of consumers, we all have a tendency to believe that if there is a problem, throwing money at it will improve it.
Beyond the basic school supplies and a library full of good books, there is very little more needed for a world-class education.
For example, in the first 10 years of our children’s lives, the only textbooks really used are for mathematics, and that only after they turn 8.
By the time they are twelve, they are interested in devouring the best information on whatever subjects they have an interest, and that is when we purchase college level textbooks for them. Used. For a very low price.
We find our dictionaries, thesauruses, writer’s references and other reference books at thrift stores.
We have used our money to have a library in our home. Well, at this point, our library has taken over our home.
And even then, it’s a fraction of the cost of what I would have spent on curriculum resources and methods and ideas.
Basically, very little is needed to make a happy life, or a successful homeschool.
3. Your children are extremely capable of learning on their own.
Given the right tools, your children can learn on their own at a remarkable pace. I found early on that my children were dependent on me as much as I allowed them to be. Part of me enjoyed them being dependent on me, because I could “teach” them and “help” them and then I felt good about myself.
I realized after I had my third child and was pregnant with my fourth that this would not work. At some point, I realized that I was doing a huge disservice to my children by “helping” so much. I was completely holding them back and I was often wrong in my estimation of their abilities.
Once I stepped back, and after the months of whining because they missed being able to use me as a crutch, my children took hold of their own educations. The guilt I felt daily was gone and I was a much happier, better rested momma.
4. Your children are not going be able to compete at being socialized, so just don’t worry about it. When other people worry about it, feel free to tell them that you aren’t worried about it, so it’s okay.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed it, but our society is somewhat confused when it comes to being social.
Our society at this point is voyeuristic and a little stalkerish. Not only do we not hold anything sacred or believe in human exceptionalism, there is nothing private.
Everything is an open book, or a YouTube channel, or a post or a tweet. We don’t even stop to think if it’s a good idea or not first.
Privacy is a good thing. Some things are better left not known to the world–or even your 742 closest “friends” or “followers”.
Quiet contemplation is a good thing. It’s not the sign of being unsocialized.
I have noticed that homeschoolers tend to understand privacy and its value.
So, they seem “anti-social,” when really, it’s more like they subscribe to the antiquated notion of some sort of social etiquette.
No, they will be independent thinkers, careful with their thoughts and more likely to think before they post something on Facebook or Instagram.
They will get along with children younger than them, they will enjoy their siblings, and they will respect older people.
So, I guess they won’t be socialized, but they will be able to be social in real life.
They will probably not verbally use 1984 Newspeak (or toddler sounding) terms like “LOL” “BRB” “cray-cray” or “totes adorbs”.
Maybe they will, but they probably won’t if they are like most homeschoolers I know.
5. Don’t feel guilty when life interrupts your perfect homeschooling plans.
When a crisis happens in your life, realize that homeschooling will look different. And, this is one of the best parts about homeschooling, anyway. When my daughter died, it was such a relief to be close to each other and not worry about school.
In the process, our children focused on the things that bring them the most peace. One child focused on math, others wrote books and essays, while others created artwork and read a lot. It was still school and they were still being educated, but it looked different.
And there were days when they weren’t learning academic skills, but they learned compassion and how to go through grief and how to love each other, which is just as important.
Life will happen. It will be alright.
So there you go. A few things I have learned. Hope it can help other homeschooling moms to realize it’s not a race to the top, or to college, or to anything, really…education is (or should be) a lifelong journey with no finish line.