Friday, July 31, 2015

The Evolution of Our Homeschooling and What I've Learned Over the Years.

When we first started homeschooling, I thought we had to learn ALL THE THINGS.

I thought we had to learn MORE than the public schools taught.

I thought my kids have to be smarter and better read and more socialized and numero uno in every academic area.

You see...I did well in school.  I did REALLY well.  I did straight-A valedictorian well. 

School was my thing,  I could do school.  I could ace tests and papers and class participation grades.  I was good at school. 

Then I graduated.  And I realized that being good at school doesn't make one good at real life.  Not, that I'm think I'm necessarily bad at real life.  I'm just no better at it than anyone else.   I struggle just as much as the next person.  

School is just school.  That's all. 

Super, super excelling at school isn't the be all and end all of childhood.

I know that, yet I still got caught up in the we have to learn all the things and do everything better mentality.

Then I got burnt I learned to relax a lot. 

We relaxed all the way to dirty feet and inside out shirts

I'm still probably on the more rigorous side when it comes to homeschooling.  And, I place a huge importance on writing.  Because, by golly, my kids are going to learn to write well. It's an absolutely essential skill. 

I went to public school for 12 years.  I went to what was generally considered a GOOD public school.

And, there are LOTS of things I never learned there.  Like geography.  For some reason, I never really learned geography in school.  I never had to memorize state and capitals or countries and capitals or the location of Budapest. 

I still don't  know where Budapest is. 

But, I have learned a few other life experiences with it comes to school and children and homschooling.

1) It really doesn't matter if a child learns to read at age 4 or at age 8.  By age 10, both kids could easily be reading at the same level.  Easily. 

2) Sometimes you need to take a break.  This is really the first time we took a summer vacation.  Really.  I kinda like it...this whole summer vacation thing.    And our vacation will have ended up being fairly short...just a few weeks.  But those few weeks were just enough. Also, sometimes you need a break in the middle of the year...a mental health day or a cleaning day, or field trip day, or movie day.  

3) Homeschooling is a job.  One that doesn't pay (sadly), but it's a job. It REALLY helps to lesson the expectations on yourself once you realize that it's a job and requires as much time and energy as a job.   And, because you are working at this job, you can't spend as much time on other housecleaning or volunteering. 

4) Homeschooling is not a 12-year long commitment.  At most, it's a 1-year commitment.  that's it....just one year at a time.   That's all you have to worry about.  And it's okay to change curriculum and books and approaches and schools as needs and situations change. 

5) Everyone homeschools for a different reason.  For me, it really is all about relationship.  My relationship with my children and fostering that relationship.  Other families have different reasons.   Don't expect every homeschool family to be like yours or to homeschool for the same reasons. (For the record, I don't think I've ever met a homeschooling family that actually wears denim jumpers)

6) Don't expect perfection.  Not every kid who goes to public school gets straight As or learns their multiplication facts in third grade or is reading perfectly by age 7.  Just like some public- schooled kids excel, some are in the middle and some are behind, some homeschooloed children will excel, some will be in the middle, and some may even be behind.  It's okay.  This is a big one with me.  I tend to expect perfection. 

7) Support is essential.  You need to find your people. Find people who will provide support and understanding and friendship.   This could be a homeschool group or it could just be like-minded friends.  But whoever it is, you need to find your people.

(Linking up for 7QTF). 

P.S. This is also one of the 7 posts I promised. 
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