by Sara Jones
Dear Homeschooling Parent,
As I think back to the day I sat down with my oldest daughter and opened our first real schoolbook, there are a few things I wish I'd known:
1. Do things your way. We're surrounded by voices telling us the best way to "do" homeschooling. But what's best for someone else isn't necessarily best for your family. Want to finish all school before noon and devote the rest of the afternoon to creativity and extra stuff? Great! Or maybe you'd rather start later in the morning, do some subjects over lunch, and finish them after supper? A lot of teenagers would be up for that (mine are). One of the perks of homeschooling is its flexibility. Enjoy it!
2.Pace yourself. While you might feel like you have to cram in as much as you possibly can during your school time, I'm here to say . . . Pause. Breathe. Slow and steady gets you where you need to be.
3. Make room for yourself. Being a parent is an intense job. Being an educator is an intense job. Put the two together, and your life is intense-squared! I highly encourage you to cultivate outside, non-school interests for you and your family. Home-based education lets you make space for family relationships that last long after the schoolwork is done.
4. Don't try to do it all yourself. Directing your child's education is a big job, and you can't do it all on your own. From the very beginning, seek out people to help you in this journey. Involve your spouse or partner in the homeschooling process. Find support groups, co-ops, tutors, counselors, and friends. Be intentional about building a community to make this homeschooling journey the best it can be.
5. Your kids won't always love school. I think this was my biggest mental adjustment. Homeschooling doesn't guarantee that your kids will be engaged every moment. Kid's will cry, complain, or dismiss the entirety of earth science as "boring." When this happens, you aren't failing; you're just living real life. And every now and then you will see that blaze of excitement and love of learning. Homeschooling lets you be there for these moments.
As the new year begins, you've got a lot of discoveries, challenges, and joys ahead of you. HSLDA is here to support you at every stage of your new journey. Best wishes from a veteran mom— and if you're new, welcome to the homeschooling community.
Used by Permission: Originally Published at HSLDA
Sara Roberts Jones grew up in Mississippi and married a Canadian; they compromised and live in Virginia. In among homeschooling their four children, Sara writes, visits friends, takes long drives, and finds stuff to laugh at.