I didn’t start at the beginning. I pulled my children out of public school at 6th grade, 4th grade, 1st grade and preschool. That is where our homeschooling journey began. This is our 7th year schooling at home.
I’m hard-headed. I was called to homeschool from the start- but I drug my feet. It doesn’t need to take 7 years to learn these lessons! I hope you can learn these vicariously.
1.) School doesn’t include tears. I think that pulling out of public school was influential there. Public school, for a kid that is struggling at least, homework includes tears. They are frustrated and don’t understand. So first lesson is- back up! If decimals cause tears it is a more basic math problem than what you are looking at. Try fractions.
This was our trouble decimals don’t make sense if you don’t understand fractions. Both kids needed to backtrack and try that again. Later on my 2nd oldest asked me when he began decimals “When does this get hard?” He had heard everything going on with DD and knew tears would be involved somewhere. regroup. tears are NOT part of the program.
There are plenty of other days that emotions, sickness, frustration take over, I’ve now learned this is not a day to push forward but to slow down, or take a day off, and change what we are doing- whether for one day or permanently or anywhere in between.
2.) Set some goals! I’m not really talking academic goals here. I think we all do plenty of that 😉 I learned this AFTER the tears! I wish I’d learned this FIRST. It has made all the difference. In choosing curriculum, in scheduling, in when to let it go.
- Learning is Fun. – I want to teach them to be life-long learners that like to investigate and learn the ins-outs and answers.
- I want my kids to remember the time we’ve spent together fondly, not as a chore or a battle.
these are just some examples. I love this blog post from The Unlikely Homeschooler I read recently. NOT as it describes one or another method, but because of the goals this mother has thought out. What are yours??
3.) There is no perfect curriculum. Look. Pray. Choose. If it doesn’t work- scrap it and try again. see #4.
4.) Homeschooling is the same as parenting: It is problem solving every second of the day. Distract, assign, re-assign, re-mind, try something else, try a different schedule, try a different book/curriculum, try a different set up, try …… until it works, then stick with it until it doesn’t, then do it again.
So like parenting, you get the hang of problem solving- you know more kids, more time you learn more tricks- then you need more. You don’t get the hang of parenting, or homeschooling- just problem solving (or the fact that you have to do it! repeatedly). That is why the veteran homeschoolers make it look easier. They’ve worked on problem solving skills for longer. So ASK them.
THIS is the reason you need a support group! or friend…. You cannot come up with all of the solutions. You pray! and you call a friend. Ask for help!
5.) Time. Whether it is because one kid always seems to be done- did I schedule enough? or one is never done- did I schedule too much? This post by Our UnSchooling Journey is a great example of why you should not worry so much.(Why I shouldn’t worry so much? Okay, I’m still working on this) You are teaching them to be life-long learners. Let them learn. In life, in books.Make sure it follows your goals! (see #2!)
While problem solving this issue, I’ve developed my planner– I try to decide ahead how much each child can handle. I plan for flexability and changes. When their ‘list’ is done- it is done. I let them go. This is working for us NOW. When it doesn’t we’ll go back to #4 .
What did you learn? I’d love to hear your lessons in the comments.