We are about to start our 8th year homeschooling. With experience comes some wisdom or perhaps I’ve just learned a lot from my mistakes in the early years. Either way, what I “thought” was important in the beginning, isn’t nearly as significant as it once was. Every summer when I clean out our homeschool room for the upcoming year, there are some truths that I pledge to hold fast. As a new homeschooling mom, or even with some years of experience, we can learn from each other’s mistakes.
Here’s my top 10 list for new homeschoolers:
- You’ll never use all the flash cards that you’ll be tempted to buy.
- Curriculum is like crack to a homeschool mom. No matter how much you already have, you’ll still want to purchase more.
- Buy tons of pencils at the beginning of the school year when they are on sale. You’ll never have enough. If possible go for mechanical pencils (see number 4).
- Pencil sharpeners are just not made the way as they were when I was in school. If you do happen to find a good one, it can be a total time suck. I can’t tell you how much time my kids have wasted trying to sharpen their pencil. I have given up on that nonsense and only buy mechanical pencils.
- Crayons will multiply like gremlins.
- You will never need all the books you will be tempted to hold on to “just in case.” That “one day” never comes because you will be too busy to remember or you’ll never find the perfect time. Just get rid of it.
- All the extra stuff you’ll be tempted to buy (visuals. games, mini-workbooks, posters, etc.) you will likely never use and will instead become a distraction that takes up both physical and mental space.
- Don’t judge your homeschooling area by browsing Pinterest. I finally came to the conclusion that a cute room was just not going to happen and have opted instead for a functional clutter free environment.
- You can’t do it all. It’s impossible. Don’t expect to be able to homeschool, keep your house clean and organized, cook dinner, etc. as you did before homeschooling. Investing in our children’s education as a homeschool mom requires sacrifice and time. Set attainable goals and expectations based on your new schedule not what you were able to accomplish before homeschooling.
- Don’t feel like you can’t take time off. After years of homeschooling, I have found that by taking time off for Winter Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break, etc. we come back refreshed and renewed. Even if it’s just a day or two, don’t feel like you have to be so rigid as not to carve out time to relax and enjoy your family without schoolwork.
In a nutshell, my greatest piece of advice is to SIMPLIFY in everything that you do. You’ll be so tempted to do so many “extra” things and compare yourself to other mommas who look like they have it all together (they probably don’t). We all have our struggles when it comes to homeschooling. I have found that one solution, merely to simplify, has brought the most peace to my life. More than anything, celebrate your successes along the way. Now I give myself a pat on the back for a job well done instead of focusing on the things I wish I had done differently. I do always reflect at the end of the school year on areas I’d like to change, which is productive, but I don’t beat myself up. At the end of the day, homeschooling is the right choice for my family. We’ve gained much through our homeschooling journey; our family is closer, our kids are smart, and we are the greatest influence in our children’s lives. You can do this momma! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! If God has called you to it, He will equip you for every step of the journey.