thoughts for those new to homeschooling

Amy from Saskatchewan has asked, “I have all the fears I suspect most moms have but also a sense of peace has replaced my sense of dread…Any tips via your blog are appreciated!”

She’s taking her son Nathan, grade 4, from the system, and wants to know if I have any tips. And though I’d love to sit with a glass of Malbec and shoot the breeze, using words of encouragement that might undergird her first year on this journey, we’re not in the same time zone. So here it is…

1. It won’t be quite what you expect. The curriculum you have on the shelf might seem a waste of money in a few weeks. The schedule you’ve drafted might not work for one child, and not the next. Or it might work for you and not your child.

You might discover you’re lonelier than you thought you’d be. You might discover that you want everyone to come home. You might discover that you’re preaching this lifestyle like I am. You might discover that it’s a lifestyle, not just an educational alternative.

2. It will change from the beginning to end of even the first year. Your approach will adjust to all the relevant information you’re receiving from your child as you explain a math concept, as you see him too tired, as you see him overwhelmed by a busy day, as you see yourself on a PMS day.

There’s a lot of information to take in that first year. There is no way to do it right and be certain of your path, especially in the beginning. You discover you’re teaching a child, not teaching a curriculum.

3. Your expectations will likely be too high, of your son, and yourself. You will get frustrated more times than you thought were possible. And you will understand when homeschool moms say, stop that yellow bus, I’m putting my kid on it!

Or you wonder how moms get through the days of kids avoiding work, avoiding schedules, avoiding you, so they don’t have to do what they know they need to do.

You will discover that there’s a lot to learn, about learning, about your child, about yourself that you thought there would be. And it might just seem like you need that glass of wine to start the day…

4.Your independent bone will strengthen. With repeated questioning of your decision, and with your own internal questioning, wondering if you really should be doing what you’re doing, you will garner a stronger, more independent framework.

You’ll discover that all homeschoolers are not homogenous. And you aren’t either. That you’ll do what you do because it works for you, and your child. You’ll come to understand homeschooling, like everything else, through the specific lenses that you’ve garnered through the years. You’ll learn not to focus on the things other people think you should be doing, and you’ll happily live through the lenses of what you want to be doing.

5. You will be happier than you thought you could be. Kinda like parenting. The prospect of sweet babies resting in your arms, falling into a deep sleep as you sang them lullabyes and placing them into a cradle…walking them around the block in their pram, leisurely enjoying the world…strangers oohing and awing over their coos and perfection…that’s the picture of what you thought it’d be like.

And some days it was. The days where he wouldn’t sleep without wailing tears. Wouldn’t let you wander the grocery aisles for a full cart of food. Scowled at strangers, and your mother. Well, that was part of parenting as much as the dreamy days. Just like homeschooling. And you’re happier than you thought you could be…

I want to know what you think. Let me know.

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