In conjunction with our “I Can’t Homeschool” series, I’d like to take a step back and ponder things I wish I had known before homeschooling. Little pieces of wisdom I didn’t yet know, lessons I’ve learned along the way, and tips for making my own life easier.
Here are 10 things I wish I had known before we started homeschooling:
- This isn’t a one-man show. I wish someone had told me at the very beginning that I wouldn’t need to stress over every decision being made about my children’s education. My husband has a great deal of input and the Lord does the leading. I’m not in this alone, and I’m not expected to complete the task single-handedly.
- Believe in the gap theory. Every student has some gaps in their learning, every single one. I need to stop stressing over this and just accept it as fact. Does this mean we don’t give it our best and pursue as far as we can? Absolutely not! We firmly believe in mastering our studies. However, it also means we understand that I can only do my best, my kids can only do their best. Gaps are bound to happen.
- Plan routines, not schedules. I love schedules, really I do. The danger with schedules, however, is that they tend to be rigid. Instead of a set schedule, I need to have a routine, which changes and flows with the family unit. It’s okay to have a plan in place, as long as it’s not set in stone.
- Being a good teacher does not mean I’ll always be treated well. I used to equate my teaching with how well my kids treated me. The Lord had to teach me a lesson. My kids are sinners, too. They make mistakes, they are unkind at times, and they are still learning patience. I can be the best teacher there is (I wish I was) and they might still have an off day. This is not a personal reflection on me as a teacher or parent, it’s just human nature.
- One bad moment does not a bad day make. Sometimes I can get caught up in the moment. A stressful situation can cause a shadow to be cast on the entire day. I need to take each moment as it comes. I should extend grace, accept repentance, and move forward as if the day was new. Often that one moment passes with the remainder of the day being lovely.
- Repetition is not a bad thing. It can be disheartening to teach a particular lesson again, and again, and again, and again, only to have our child still not understand. We can often mistake this for poor teaching on our part or a problem with our child. In truth, it might not be either. Our child might be easily distracted, this could be a difficult concept to grasp, or a change in approach might be needed. Instead of losing heart over how long it’s taking to teach the lesson, I need to be encouraged that my child still wants to learn and remain focused on the objective. Repetition is a good thing.
- Finding friends can be hard. I wish I could say we are surrounded by tons of close friends. While we do have some friends we are blessed to fellowship with, this hasn’t always been the case, nor has it always been easy finding them. Through prayer, time, and many group outings, this area is improving.
- Sometimes it’s okay to spend money. I tend to be a penny pincher. If I can make it, why buy it? However, I only have so much time in my day and so much patience. If I have the option of buying something for a reasonable price, saving myself time and energy which could be better spent with my kids, I’m going for it. It’s okay to be frugal. It’s also okay to see the greater good, more time spent with my family.
- I need to take care of myself. While I’m a firm believer in taking care of my family and serving in ministry, I also need to make sure I’m not neglecting myself. I tend to eat last, hardly drink anything, sleep very little, and do too much. It’s okay to admit I need help with various tasks, take a moment for myself, and restrict my volunteer work. Being a good keeper of my home does not mean I need to run myself into the ground.
- There are days I will feel lost. No matter how long I do this, the enemy is still going to creep up on me, whispering in my ear, “You can’t do this. What were you thinking? You’re in over your head.” It’s in these moments the Lord reminds me of the truth: I cannot do this. On my own I am over my head. The beauty of the situation is that I am not alone; He is my strength. While I cannot do this, God can do all things. He is my compass, my True North. With Him, this is possible.
While I’ve learned a lot through homeschooling thus far, I’m sure the lessons the Lord has for me are not yet over. I look forward to all He has in store, knowing it is for the greater good.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Time to Chime In: Share the top five things you wish you’d known before homeschooling! We’d love to hear your thoughts.