The top 15 things you no one will tell you about homeschooling:
1.You will be amazed by your kids and annoyed by your kids. You are there for every “light bulb” moment and every time their little faces light up in amazement at the world around them. Cherish these moments. You are also there for the 483rd rousing rendition of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and it is only 8:30 in the morning. Homeschooling is 24/7. If your kids are currently in school, think snow days. Every.single.day.
2.The first year is the very worst. You will feel like you are barely keeping your head above water. You are taking on a huge task and are solely responsible for your child’s education. We went through several curriculums my daughter’s first year homeschooling until we finally found what fit for our family. We are four years into this journey and I finally feel that I have a solid handle on this whole thing.
3. You will never see the top of your dining room table again. Like many homeschoolers who have come before us, we set up a beautiful little homeschool room in our playroom. It was perfectly decked out with all the most “schooly” looking stuff IKEA had to offer. We worked down there for a whooping 4 days only to end up at the dining room table. You will most likely end up working at your dining room table. It is typically located in the central hub of the home and is a large work surface. Your children will color, write, read, build things, do science experiments and learn a whole lot at this table. And you will never see the top of it again.
4.You are doing a better job than you realize. They are yours. You know them better than anyone else on this whole planet. You see both their strengths and their weaknesses from the intimate and loving perspective of a parent. No one is better suited for this job than you are.
5.Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Yes, I said it and will say it again. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Anyone can homeschool effectively regardless of education level, money or patience. The measure of success is almost always rooted in how dedicated and invested the family is to making it work. If a family is only half-heartedly invested, then they will generate half-hearted results. I believe that God calls each family to educate their children the way He has instructed them. This will look different for every family.
6.You need homeschool friends. No one understands the joy and sacrifice like those friends that are in the trenches with you. Like army buddies, they will be friends for life.
7. There will be lots of tears. There will be lots and lots of tears and they will be mostly yours. Everyone has that one kid that makes you bite your tongue until it bleeds. That child is also the one that will give you the greatest joy and sense of accomplishment. My only advice here is pray early and often.
8. Random store clerks will incredulously look down at your children and say “why aren’t you in school today?” You will smile and politely respond “they are homeschooled”. She will either go on about wishing she were homeschooled or you will listen to her carry on for 10 minutes about her great uncle’s, third nephew, twice removed, that is now locked up because he was homeschooled. These are the only two possible scenarios here.
9. “What about socialization?” You will hear this question approximately 358,276 times so I just thought I would be the first one to throw it at you. Don’t feel the need to respond or defend your choice. This is your circus and your monkeys; train them as you wish.
10. Your children can go to the prom. And can be apart of sports teams, clubs, get a diploma, have a graduation ceremony, and go to holiday parties. There are so many opportunities available now to homeschooling families. My children do an accredited distance learning program which gives them a transcript and a high school graduation.
11. Random strangers feel that they have the right to quiz your kids on everything from The Alamo to prepositions. Something about the words “we homeschool” elicits the need for random strangers to check to see if you are “doing your job.”
12. You will spend an insane amount of money on curriculum until you find what fits for your family. There is no right or wrong choice here. Unlike the pioneering families who started homeschooling decades ago, there are a plethora of choices available today. Usually, a trial and error approach seems to work here.
13. You will never stick to a regular school schedule. Things come up. Kids get sick. Life happens. My children don’t get snow days, we take sunny days instead. Take full advantage of traveling when prices are cheaper and places are less crowded.
14. You can’t do it all; you will need help. My children take piano from my pastor’s wife, art from a sweet friend from co-op, and sign language from another friend. Also, my mother calls each day and reads aloud to the kids. In the few years she has read them many of the classics. My husband also picks special enrichment topics to teach them. Seek out others who have skills or knowledge that you don’t and get some help.
15. You wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know that God set this task before me to challenge me, grow me and most importantly to bless me. I count homeschooling as one of the biggest blessings God has bestowed upon me. There are days that we struggle and days that we succeed, but each day is a new adventure with the ones that I hold most dear.
Do you have curriculum questions? The guest poster would be happy to share with you, I will connect you or you can leave questions in the comments. She has found an amazing curriculum after many years of trial and error.