I have been homeschooling my children for 11 years now! Wow, I can't even believe that! I actually have a 10th grader and I'm still plugging along. Homeschooling has brought me so much joy over the years. It will truly be one of those things when I look back over the years of my life, where I know I will have no regrets that I did it. The time I was able to have at home with my children has been priceless to me and I will forever be grateful for the memories it has created!
If I had to give advice to younger moms who are thinking about homeschooling or the ones in the middle of it with small children I would say. . . RELAX! It really doesn't have to be as near as stressful as we make it. Your children are learning so much just doing life with you. When you see them older you are going to be amazed at the knowledge they have that didn't even come from the curriculum that you put so much time into!
I have three children. I would say a gifted one, special needs (dyslexia), and a creative one, and every one of them just blow me away. I really thought my second child would never read and never count but I now have an almost 6 ft tall boy who reads on level! It will happen! Maybe not in the time slots that traditional school gives, but it will happen.
Isn't that one of the reasons you chose to homeschool anyway? So you wouldn't feel you had to keep up with the standard system?
My fear for younger homeschool moms is that they will spend so many years worrying and stressing that they will forget to enjoy the moments. The moments you first hear a child read to you, the moment your child decides to devour a book in one sitting because they can't get enough reading, the moment they spell every word right on their spelling list or when they write their first letters. Don't let those moments pass without savoring every one!
If you are struggling right now find some ways to make learning simple for a little while: Here are some ideas:
*Writing letters- this is a great way to help children with their handwriting skills, I have them write to friends and family. You can also have them write poems or stories to grandparents and relatives; I even have my kids illustrate them.
*Read, Read, and Read some more- Reading books to your children is NOT just for your younger ones. You create wonderful memories when you read great classics to your older children. It creates great conversations and bonding time, some of our fondest memories are reading great books together.
* Field trips- There are so many places to visit locally such as the zoo, aquarium, museums and much more. We like to take a day trip every six weeks or so where we travel a couple of hours away to see a historic place or museum that is not in our area. These places are so educational and it gives your kids a love of learning when they get to go somewhere fun.
Educational websites & Apps- This is a great way to bring learning into the house with the new electronic age. They have apps for everything from multiplication tables to phonics. Some special needs children learn best this way!
Last but not least:
Kids need time to play- there is so much that can be done by just getting dirty in the sandbox, swimming in the pool, using their imagination in their play forts and being with family and friends. In our culture, every hour is structured for kids and studies show that it hasn’t made a big impact on learning, and maybe has even hurt the learning process. Kids need time to be kids; it opens their minds and gives them a love for learning.
Remember, you want to raise children who love God and will have strong integrity more than a high grade point average. Many times we SAY that, but our actions prove differently. Great questions to always go back to are: "Why did I start homeschooling? Why was I so excited about it in the beginning?" Don't lose sight of your calling or your reasons, because if you do, you will blink and the years will be gone. Instead enjoy every moment!!
Angela, Together with Family