Life While Homeschooling
I guess you could call me the grandma of homeschooling. As the director of a large home school co-op, there I was involved with a lot of home school families. Each family was unique in its own way. Some busy and rambunctious while others were quiet and more refined. It is truly amazing how diverse the homeschool family really is. Being the director gave me the opportunity to learn so many valuable lessons from such a wide variety of families.
I have a bucket full of memories collected over 19 years as a home school mom and co-op director. I had families share with me things that were both successful and the pitfalls to avoid that just didn’t work well. One of my goals as director was to help new families get started on their journey. I wanted to be there for them, to offer encouragement and share with them the things I had learned either by experience or observation.
The mom just starting her new journey is filled with a lot of anxiety about her decision to teach her children at home. She questions the curriculum choices, the schedules and her ability to accomplish her goals. All of these deserve the utmost attention to help accomplish her journey. I have noticed one common thread that runs through every successful school experience. It‘s one that new home school moms have difficulty grasping.
Every mom new to the schooling experience has to realize that life continues to happen everyday, even if they are schooling. Emergencies will happen, schedules will change and your curriculum choice may not work for your students. This doesn’t mean that you are a failure at what you are doing. Things just have a way of happening but the way you handle them is what is important. Homeschooling needs to become a way of life, not just from 8-3. If you insist on maintaining a strict schedule then stress will certainly be the result and you will quickly become overwhelmed. Don’t allow your schedule to rob you of the joy of teaching your children. I am not advocating- no schedule-that would certainly reap academic failure. I am just simply saying reality will happen and the family that is prepared to handle life’s interruptions will be more successful. During my homeschool years I lost both of my parents and underwent several major operations and still accomplished everything needed. No, I am not a superwoman, I just came to realize that it was a lifestyle, not a job.
Lesson plans can be adjusted and curriculum choices can be changed but some things are out of our control. The mom who starts her journey as a new way of life will be better equipped to handle interruptions. Her expectations of the perfect classroom experience will not be shattered and she will not be ready to easily call it quits. I can speak frankly after observing so many families who struggled with the classroom mentality. When it becomes a way of life you allow yourself and your children the freedom to handle the everyday without stress. Make your schedules, work hard to complete them, but be realistic when life happens. You may have to work on math in the evening because you took grandpa to the doctor in the morning. You may need to work on Saturday because you helped a friend recover from surgery on Thursday. When schooling becomes a way of life you will make it work, but if you insist on an 8-3 time schedule you are setting yourself up for a stressful school environment. Enjoy your school days and don’t hate your interruptions, you may be surprised to see all your children have learned just by watching how you handle things.
The successful homeschool mom will learn how to work with all of the interruptions that come her way. She will learn how to make things work for her family. No two families are the same so there is not a perfect plan to follow. Just settling into the routine that works best is a must. Every family is unique with different goals but long-time homeschoolers will share with you that it is definitely a way of life. So relax and enjoy the everyday.