After over a decade of homeschooling and years of sharing our family's homeschool journey on Instagram, I often get homeschool related questions from mom's and homeschool families from many different walks of life. From new homeschool moms who want to know where to start. From tired homeschool moms who want to know how to press through when things aren't going the way they had planned. From lonely homeschool moms who don't have a support system in place and often feel completely alone. I hope that these 10 points will helpful to each and everyone of you, no matter what stage of this homeschool journey you are on.
1) Let go of anything that is not bringing you AND your children joy. It may be a curriculum that you thought you would love. It may be a unit study that you planned for weeks. Whatever it is, if i
t's taking the joy out of learning set it aside. There have been so many times that I have had to do this very thing. And even though it's been hard at times, my children & I are so much happier when our lessons & days consist of the things that fill us with joy.
2) Know your why. We all have different reasons for homeschooling & I have found that it is so important to write down what those are. Your life's circumstances will change. Your children's needs will change. You as a mother will change. Your why may even change too! But on the hard days, when I have felt overwhelmed and been tempted to ship them off to the closest school (yes, we all feel that way at times) I have found that by going back to my whys I am able to re-center and to focus
on the most important things which for me are spending my days learning alongside my children.
3) Never allow someone else's light to dim your own by comparing your homeschool with theirs. Okay. Read that again. Friends, this one is so important. No one's homeschool is as pretty as it looks on social media. There is a lot of encouragement and wisdom online but as soon as you start to look at someone else's homeschool and feel inadequate, it's time to step back and remind yourself that all your child really needs is you.
4) If a subject is so difficult it's bringing your child to tears put it away until it doesn't. Because their hearts are more important than math. (Or reading, or penmanship or spelling.) I plan to share more on this soon as it has been a huge game-changer for us!
5) Don't panic if your child isn't where you think they're "supposed to be" in a subject. They each learn in their own way and at their own speed and our job is to cheer them on along the way.
6) No one likes to be judged so don't compare your child's learning progress with someone else's. Not a sibling, not the public school kids...no one. Just like we would hate to be compared to other mothers, women, or parents, our kids don't like it either.
7) Find out what topics your child is interested in and learn everything you can about that subject. Make collages or write stories about it, go on field trips related to it, read all the books you can.
8) Exploring outside beats sitting at a desk EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Seriously! If you have the chance to explore or take your learning outside do it!
9) Read as much as you can! Together as a family, independently, have the children read to one another. Reading is invaluable for so many reasons and in an age where videos and media are constantly bombarding us all, it is truly a gift and privilege to instill a love of reading in our children.
10) Find a group of homeschoolers either locally or online that you can turn to for support and encouragement! The homeschool journey can feel lonely at times and finding your tribe is so important! If you aren't able to find a local homeschool group or if you are just looking for a group online, you can join the For the Love of Homeschooling community here.
And since we have technically been homeschooling for 11 years, here's a little bonus for you!
11. Hard days and even hard seasons will come ... and that's okay. It's okay to not have it all together every day. It's okay to cancel school & have a movie day once in a while. And it's okay to admit that some days are hard. This does not mean you are failing. It doesn't mean that your children would be better off in a regular school. It means that you are human & since you are raising little humans it's probably okay for them to know that hard days happen to us all. And when they do happen they will see firsthand that it is okay to be gentle with yourself, it's okay to redirect & it's okay to take a break.
Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear what you would add to this list!
And if you're looking for a ton of encouragement for your homeschool journey, be sure to check out our 2022 For the Love of Homeschooling Virtual Conference! Tickets include lifetime access so that you can watch at your own pace and re-watch whenever you need some extra encouragement for years to come!