What Do You Need to Know as a Homeschool Parent?

I had no idea what I would have to learn to be a homeschool parent.

Some days, I think back to my idealizing notions of homeschooling and I don’t think I knew what I was signing up for (no, I don’t think…I know I didn’t). I wonder if I would have had the fortitude or the willingness to learn everything I needed to learn had I been a fly on the wall to many of our days in the last eight years.

Everything I Needed to Learn I Learned as a Homeschool Parent (or will learn someday).


What you need to know as a homeschool parent

I remember studying Russia in 1989 as Mikhail Gorbechev entered leadership. I remember discussions of the Iron Curtain. And a whole semester of the Soviet Union in Grade 6 social studies. I don’t remember a lot of details other than the gargantuan size of the country or the dissolution of the states. I’m relearning some of this stuff with one of my kiddos.

There are math concepts that I was exposed to as a child and I relearned them as a homeschool mom. There are grammatical concepts that seemed like a hazy mess back in the day, and now I could sentence diagram most sentences (if I wanted to, but I’d rather spend my time keeping the kitchen floor photo worthy: much more fun).

My learning isn’t just Russian history, conjugating French verbs, writing algebraic equations, or memorizing geological time periods. Kid you not, that’s the easy stuff. Learning how not to let my spirit rise to a child complaining for the bajillionth time that day, or organizing French learning when everyone in the room isn’t at the same level, or incorporating exercise and writing time into a kid-focused extracurricular schedule? There’s the learning.

Learning to let go of my expectations that I can be god to my children: I can’t always listen to everyone’s thoughts on everything, I don’t always not get mad, I can’t love them unconditionally, I can’t, and don’t want, to multitask most days: I find it exhausting. Letting go of my expectation of perfection is definitely something I continue to learn.

Amidst the mess of real homeschool parenting and the actual homeschooling, I get to do exactly what I always wanted in my homeschool days: to be with my kiddos at the best times of their day, lap up their happy juices (when they’re having happy days), enjoy their energetic juices, I get to see them consume books like potato chips, write short stories as quickly as they consume the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid offering, and conquer math concepts like Napoleon on a colonial mission. I get to watch them spend time together, play games or help each other with tricky math concepts, no matter how far apart their ages. I get to watch them grow right before my eyes.

Melanie Wilson, on her homeschool podcast, Homeschool Sanity, told her listeners:  “I got to squeeze every last drop of my kid’s childhood as I homeschooled him for eighteen years.”

There’s no doubt about it, just as I am squeezing every last drop of experiencing my kiddos, I’m also squeezing every last drop of learning about my world too. The subject could be world geography, or it could be patience. It could be botany, or it could be kindness. It is definitely algebra, and often dissecting my emotional projections of internal struggles onto those I love the most.

So many lessons, and yet so much time to learn them. No worries that I might not get the lesson the first time, I’ll have so many repeat opportunities to learn them. And in the meantime, I get to squeeze every last drop of my kiddo’s childhoods.

I’m learning what I have to learn when I have to learn it.


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