Saturday, January 4, 2014

20 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling

Golden Grasses: 20 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling

We've homeschooled for over 2 decades now. Naive little homeschooler that I was, way back in the day, I thought homeschooling was really all about the 3 R's. Which it is, at it's most basic, but so very much more. My blogger buddy, Kayla, over at Arrowood Zoo, made a great list of things she wished she knew before she started homeschooling, and I thought I'd join in the fun. Besides, Monday kicks of the 3rd Annual Virtual Curriculum Fair and I thought this was a great tie in before me and 30 other super bloggers share some Nitty Gritty's about curriculum (for more info about the VCF, keep reading!) So, without further ado, here it is: my list of 20 Things I Wish I Knew about Homeschooling.
1. Homeschooling will change you. Don't think it won't. In ways you never expected or could see coming.
2.  People will think you are brave, courageous, crazy, radical and challenging. People will laugh at you, revere you, keep you at arms length and make sure you know that they aren't patient as you and that they don't like their kid as much as you apparently do.
3. Homeschooling will take you off the beaten path. Once you've veered off the beaten path, your life might go in directions you never dreamed or imagined. One little veer away from "normal" and "average" leads to a whole lot more faster than you think.
4. Feel the fear and let it drive you to do something great along the way.
5. What is innate joy for one person can be painful drudgery for another. Just because your oldest can do the multiplication tables at age 5 doesn't mean your 3rd kid can. Kids are individuals. Just because your friend can homeschool 10 kids, keep a spotless house and work from home, doesn't mean that you can. Homeschooling allows you to honor the individuals in your home, including yourself, if you let it.
6. It's just as important to embrace and encourage your kids in their areas of strength and passion as it is to shore up their areas of weakness. Do not sacrifice one for the other.
7. Your kids will grow up and have minds of their own. Especially if you homeschool. No formula, curriculum, or parenting technique can assure that they remain faithful to educational freedom, love or anything else. They will, at some point, make their own choices and they might make you proud, break your heart and probably both.
8. Anyone who tells you that homeschooling is easy is trying to sell you something. It's a job. Jobs take work, effort, energy, time, money and intentionality. It can be fun and satisfying, but it's often not easy.
9. For the most part and for most people, living on one income is expensive and a job in itself. Don't underestimate the pressure of forced frugality. Find fun, no matter what your income. In the same vein, working while homeschooling is challenging on many levels.
10. Don't underestimate your ability to creatively overcome the difficulties, expense and challenge of homeschooling, having kids, living on one income or not knowing stuff.  You are far more creative and resourceful than you realize.
11. Organizational systems and management skills are necessary, even if they don't come naturally to you.  They will allow you to accomplish homeschooling, save your sanity, keep everyone in clean clothes and well fed. Lack thereof can and will tank homeschooling faster than anything else.
12. Your kids will grow up faster than the speed of sound. Raising them up close and personal is one of the sweetest gifts you can give yourself and your kids, despite what you sacrifice to do so.
13. All you really need for elementary school is a great library and art supplies.
14. Utilize your "servants" as much as possible; it doesn't mean you are "cheating," it means you are making the most of what you have: CD and DVD players, computers, on-line stuff, co-ops, class-days, etc. The homeschooling world is richer than ever. Take advantage of it.
15. Take care of yourself. Drink more water, or this, which is better than water. Work out, learn a hobby, continue your education, make friends, pray.
16. Take care of your marriage. A good one is hard to find, so make the one you have the best it can be.
17. Homeschooling is a method and a tool, not a panacea for the world's ills. It won't save anyone, make them brilliant or assure admittance to an Ivy League. If the tool of homeschooling stops working, use a different tool.
18. Homeschooling High School can be challenging, but it's also a blast. Just keep feeling the fear (see # 4) and do it anyway.
19. The homeschooling world continues to grow, expand, change and become richer, broader and more diverse. Look for and embrace the change; it might lead to a wild adventure (see # 3 above).
20. Be willing to create what's not readily available where you live (co-ops, class days, camps for starters) and bless others (see # 10 above).
With all of that in mind, you might want to get down to some Nitty Gritty's. Monday kicks off the 3rd Annual Virtual Curriculum Fair at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds.

This year’s dates and themes (links will be added here as each theme goes live):
  1. January 6th---Playing with Words: the Language Arts---includes phonics, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speech, literature, etc., etc., etc. Latin and foreign language studies could also go here.
  2. January 13th---Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science---includes anything to do with mathematics, mathematical thinking, numbers, arithmetic, symbolic logic, critical thinking, and math-y sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.).
  3. January 20th---Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science---includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc., etc., etc.
  4. January 27th---Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World---includes any of the arts, handicrafts, but really ANYTHING at all that adds beauty to your homeschool.

This year's participants come from all over the country and from all walks of life. Check out this awesome list of homeschoolers who are going to share what they know with you this month!

Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road 
Laura Hoggard @ Four Little Penguins 
Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Kristi K. @ The Potter's Hand Academy 
Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling
Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker 
Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun 
Jessica @ Modest Mama
Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World 
Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun 
Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life 
Mary from Texas @ Winecup Christian Homeschool 
Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue 
Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Laurie @ Our Abundant Blessings 
Lori Moffit @ My Journeys Through Life 
Michele Pleasants @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Brittney @ Mom's Heart 
Monique B @ Living life and learning 
Jeniffer D @ Thou Shall Not Whine 
Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset 
Christa @ Fairfield Corner Academy
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Kim @ Homestead Acres 
Chelli @ The Planted Trees 
Hillary M @ Our Homeschool Studio 
Sharra Badgley @ The Homeschool Marm
Lynn P @ Ladybug Chronicles

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!


Nicole T said...

I love the simplicity of your statement on Number 16. So true, and so many of us take that for granted. Thanks for getting my attention this morning.

Tonia L said...

Love this list! I had no idea for the changes that homeschooling would bring to our lives (for the better!).

Chareen said...

That is all so true Lisa. Some of those things happen quietly and others take you by surprise but it happens that way.

Sandie said...

I LOVE number 12! It's so true and no one believes it. Or they THINK they know it until they blink that the kids are all grown up! Dizzying! lol :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I've been homeschooling for 7 years now, and I think I could make my own list. I liked your #18 as that will be me next year. ~Jennie

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the list as a newbie. Thanks for sharing.

Amy Meyers said...

I enjoyed reading your list as a newbie. thanks for sharing!

Amy Maze said...

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom said...

I totally agree!! Homeschooling is something that consumes your entire life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Sheryl @ said...

Fantastic list! I particular like the reminder that my kids will have minds of their own. It isn't an easy reality to accept, is it?