The Top Ten Things I've Learned About Myself Through Homeschooling
10. Order and planning are very much essential to the life of my homeschool. If I don't have at least somewhat of a plan for my day or week, everything tends to falls apart because I have a tendency to not manage my time well. If I already have a list of tasks that need checked off, I'm less likely to procrastinate and waste time. That's not to say that we always have to follow the plan word for word but having a plan does generally help things to run smoother.
9. Sometimes I just have to throw everything out the window. I know this kind of contradicts my last statement but hear me out. If we're plodding along through something, and we've REALLY been trying to make it work but it just won't...then it's perfectly okay to chuck it and find something that works. This is also true for when we're having a really rough day. Sometimes you just have to throw the plans out and go outdoors, read a book, run some laps, or even take a nap.
8. Even though it can be challenging sometimes, I really do love being at home with my kids and teaching them. I love seeing their faces light up when they "get" something, spending time working together on projects, reading stories that I loved as a kid, coloring, crafts, and taking the time to learn about the things they're interested in. I love being able to explore different subjects to their hearts content.
7. With that being said, I also highly value my alone time. I do love being with my kids. But like everyone else, I also need some time just to myself. For the time of life I'm in right now, that's practically non-existent. But I get it where I can. After the kids are tucked into bed for the evening (and finally asleep) there are a few little hours there where it's just me and the baby - and I can watch a little TV or read a book. When the baby gets up for his early morning feeding, he often goes back to sleep right after. If I were to stay up then, I could have some alone time then too. (But I usually just go back to sleep!) And when I can get a babysitter for my older kids, even if it's just for a few hours, that gives hubby and I time to reconnect
6. Time for Momma and Daddy is even more important. It is very easy to get caught up in all of the "mom" and "teacher" duties and to neglect others. I make a point to chat with my husband when he gets home from work (after he's had a chance to get settled in) and to text or email him when he's gone. We also try to get a babysitter at least once a month so we can do things, just the two of us. (Although at this point in time we also have a little baby so he obviously stays with us too for now.)
5. Being around other homeschool moms can be the difference between "I love homeschooling" and "Where is that school bus again?!" I really treasure the friendships I have made with other local homeschooling moms - they are my lifeboat when I feel like I just can't do it anymore or when I'm totally lost on how to tackle a problem. It is SO reassuring to be with them and to know their kids aren't going to pester mine about not going to "real' school (yes, someone told Zeke that once) or to hear them talking about issues we've also been through. The more experienced, veteran moms almost always have the answers and the younger moms are right there with me in the trenches, so to speak.
5. Reading blogs about homeschooling can be very helpful...as long as I take them with a grain of salt. I love reading blogs about homeschooling. There are SO many creative ideas online and helpful activities I can use in our homeschool. I'm very thankful for the internet. However, I've learned to be careful when I'm feeling weary or down. I can't compare one of our crappy days with the picture perfect post I see online where the children are all sparkling clean, they do their work without complaint, and everyone is perfectly cheerful. We're only seeing the good stuff. When I have one of those days, it's best to go for the posts that are chock full of "real life" stuff, about the nitty gritty of homeschooling.
4. Curriculum catalogs can be the devil. Curriculum catalogs are oh so bright and shiny and they arrive in my mail to tempt me. "Shaaayyyyy....here is a magic curriculum. It will solve every problem in your homeschool! And only for $99.99." Or "Shaaayyyy...you need to read this book on homeschooling. It will help you learn what you're doing wrong!" I kid, I kid. I do buy stuff sometimes. It just seems like the catalogs all arrive at once and then I'm left scratching my head and wondering if we should switch to this subject from that publisher or if one of the kids would do better with another type of curriculum.
3. It is totally okay to not know or understand something. When we first started out homeschooling, I was really worried about what I would do if I didn't know how to do something and the kids asked about it. However, I've found that it really isn't that big of a deal. Whatever it is just becomes a learning experience for us. We either look it up online, in a book, or ask someone who can explain it to us.
2. Prayer is a must. I take everything to God in prayer, but especially my homeschool. I pray for guidance when we struggle and I praise when we experience joy. In those moments when I feel like the kids entire future and well-being rests on whether they get this one problem right...I pray. (Because obviously that's not the truth.) When I wonder if the kids will ever learn the hard stuff...I pray. (Because they will.) When I wonder if I'm good enough to teach them the hard stuff...I pray. (Because I alone may not be, but through HIM I can be.)
1. Whatever problems or challenges I may face, God's got it under control. 'Nuff said.