As this school year slowly gets under way I am hearing from more and more moms that have decided to homeschool their children this year. From experience I know that most parents go into thinking that it’s going to be a perfectly outlined routine day of dancing in the flowers with the sun shinning and birds chirping. Then the first time a tough subject is broached, books get throw, hair gets pulled out and momma gets stressed.
So here’s my advice for first year homeschoolers.
1. The first week or so will go great because you will have it planned to the hilt with fun activities and colorful art times. The schedule will work because you will have made it fit perfectly. I’m letting you know now, this will not stay this way.
2. Hide the number and address of your local public school. At one point you will think about driving by and opening the door while yelling to your child, “tuck and roll!”.
3. Screaming is to be expected.
4. Crying, also expected.
5. Your husband will come home to you looking like you stuck your finger in a light socket. Yes, you will reach the point where you try to explain it as a science experiment but really it’s from stress. He knows the truth.
6. It may not happen as much with kindergarten but as the children get older just get ready to hear it every single place you go, “why aren’t your kids in school?”. You could think of creative answers such as “botchilism outbreak, or the vet wouldn’t sign their medical release form,” but really your kids will just answer for you with a quick, “my mommy likes to play on the computer.”
7. It will not work out as planned. Ever.
So is that true? Yes. It is all true.
Homeschooling is hard. There are days that you might be so sick but you are your children’s education. There will be days that you have swim lessons at 7:30am, grocery shopping, an oil change, random errands, gymnastics at 3 and yet you still have to take the time out for lessons before church at 7pm. Those days you kinda hope your body will levitate from the door straight into bed. Then there’s days where all you want is to leave your house but getting out with several kids in the middle of an icelandic monsoon just isn’t enough to actually leave.
Then there’s the crying and the throwing of books. Yes, they’ve all happened around here. But the thing is that within time you learn that they are crying probably because they are overwhelmed. The books are being thrown because they might be tired of that subject, maybe you’ve spent a little too much time pressing that one topic. It doesn’t mean that you need to let the behavior slide but the longer you work at it, the more you get to know your children on a different level and the more you learn when you can push them and when you need to back off. There will be things that they just need more time on and pressure that you feel to get them going faster, further on subjects. One of our children were really struggling to read in kindergarten. There was sobbing daily. A few of my homeschool friends told me to back off, drop it totally and just try to get them to enjoy books again. First grade was the same until the last two months. Somewhere during the summer when we weren’t even doing any homeschool lessons, she picked up a book and read. It was an amazing victory. She started reading at almost her correct grade level because she did when she was ready.
No it won’t work out as planned. There will be bad days. But there will be the days when you see them overcome a topic and it’s beyond amazing. Today we worked on getting ready for multiplication. My daughter was so excited once she grasped the concept.
You get front row seats to their educational exploration. To know what they are learning and what they excited to learn about is a gift. Not only that but you get to walk through them with it, it makes it more than worth it.
The bad days will happen. The house will be messy. The potty training toddler will pee on the floor right as you are trying to review phonics. Just roll with it. Break the word “Pee” down into a phonics lesson or just get out the carpet cleaner and do what you need to do.
The first year was the worst for us. The second year was better and now the third year is even better. Just keep going. Don’t give up and stay away from the local public schools.