Hopes And Dreams
When you first start out your homeschool hopes are all just dreams.
You want to do so much for your kids and you hope that where you want to go is where you will actually end up.
Then as the years tick on and you pass each new milestone, you start to see that homeschooling really does work. It’s not just a trick or a pie-in-the-sky ideal. Even though each year brings new challenges I have found as you face them with a prayerful attitude solutions come. And then the day comes when one graduates and then another and you can’t believe that it’s nearly over. Where do the years go!
What Was My Day Like 10 Years Ago
My first few years of homeschooling were filled with fear. I was always concerned that I wasn’t teaching my kids enough (although I had no yard stick for enough). My worrying made me a bit of a cranky homeschool mum because I had this constant anxiety that the lessons weren’t progressing fast enough and that I was behind – (and who defines behind.)
I remember one day when I was contemplating sending my kids to school I had organized the two oldest kids almost 6 and 7 at the time around the kitchen table to do some lessons. It was going so smoothly and the kids were learning their lessons and we were making great progress.
I was feeling really good about homeschooling – telling myself there is no need to send the kids to school – for that day the anxiety had dissipated. Instead I was congratulating myself on how well that day was going. The warm spring day put a smile on my face. The house seemed peaceful and birds were sweetly singing outside. The toddler and the preschooler had been quietly playing in the other room. But then my warm fuzzies suddenly melted as I discovered the reason for my peaceful morning. Before me stood a toddler dressed only in a nappy, who had been coloured in with texta by her creative brother who also was colourfully marked.
And even though I see the funny side now, at the time I felt like a failure.
- I thought I’ll never be successful at homeschooling because I am a hopeless mother.
- And in order for my kids to learn I have to neglect my other children.
- I’ll never be able to teach them properly.
- My kids will be stupid.
- They won’t get into university.
- All my critics will shake their finger at me.
And the evidence was standing before me as two Picasso inspired little ones.
Shortly after that incident I gave into all those fears and tried school with my two oldest children.
Homeschooling in fear will cripple you, like it crippled me, and stop you discovering the richness of homeschooling and ultimately it will stop you giving your child a balanced education.
Homeschooling In The Middle
I confess I was very influenced by the school model in my early days, even though I had years to prepare. It took me about three years with lots of ups and downs before I changed.
It wasn’t till I brought my kids back from school the second time that I realized that my teaching methods needed to change if homeschooling was going to work.
And this is when I began my journey of learning how to teach my kids at home instead of trying to replicate school.
I realized I needed home teaching skills and just buying curriculum does not make you a good home teacher. There is a steep learning curve when you first start homeschooling. You will learn on the job and the longer you home school the better you get at working out how to do it.
But you can fast track the process if you read about homeschool methods and teaching techniques. You can educate yourself on how to teach your children. And two of my favourite authors who do this are Ruth Beechick and Charlotte Mason.
So how can we deal with these fears and give our kids a good education without giving up or falling into the trap where it all about academics and following a curriculum.
Well I believe we can deal with these fears is by:
- learning how to teach at home,
- demystifying the curriculum monster
- and casting a vision for our homeschool
How My Homeschool Has Changed Today
14 years ago when I started homeschooling I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could hardly see the end of the term. Now two of my children have graduated from homeschooling, one is studying medicine the other has started a Bachelor of Arts and hopes to combine it with a Bachelor of Music. All of my kids are all actively involved in church and love God. And in case you are starting to think I’m a super mum then I’m going to burst your bubble. I’m an ordinary mum. I make mistakes, my kids have gaps, my house gets messy and my priorities get out of whack. I’ve plodded along on this journey gleaning much of my wisdom from other homeschooling mums.
Hang in there!