Being new to homeschool is challenging enough without the trouble of the pandemic. So I wanted to try blogging more about my personal experiences with homeschool to encourage and offer support for anyone feeling overwhelmed.
Over the last 14 years of our own homeschool life, there have been ups and downs, but one thing I've learned teaching is that every homeschool family is unique with their own values, teaching styles, and circumstances. So please look at this less like advice and more like a fellow homeschooler's experience that could be useful. Of course, if you have different ideas your thoughts and comments are welcome!
1 Quality Time With My Kids
Homeschooling has meant A LOT of time together for us. My kids now range from 10 to 19. But when they were younger, and before the pandemic, I loved taking trips during the off-season. Spending time together and being on our own schedule has been the best reward for our family. Now, one is off to college and one is off to the military, but for the rest of my life, I'll treasure how much time I got to spend with them learning and growing up.
2 Diving Deep Into Their Interest
One thing people often miss about homeschool is the opportunity for mastery. You get the chance to go deep on a subject, and not just a glance. You get to follow the rabbit trail of your child's interest, whether it be dinosaurs, space or world history. Going deep instills a love of learning and a foundation of confidence that you'll see later in their more independent pursuits. There are so many ways to teach using your child's interest as a doorway into other subjects. Imagine taking a love for bugs to teach skip-counting, spelling, or multiplication.
3 Discovering Their Strengths
Homeschooling has been a game of discovery for me, as it is for most parents. I have six kids, and they are each incredibly different. Learning how to meet them where they were and are emotionally and mentally takes patience and resilience. I might cover this later, but the hardships here are real and well worth the struggle. When I recognized where my children excelled, it helped me honor their differences. My kids are not me, and they are not my husband. They're some sort of Frankenstein creation with their own quirks and foibles. One of my sons is a tinkerer, another has an incredible memory, and one loves music. Knowing your child's learning style, and just as importantly, your teaching style is something every parent might consider.
4 Teaching To Their Learning Style
More on this.… Realizing that your child might not be a mini-you can be hard to discover. You might have excelled at math, your daughter or son might struggle: so they're different. And lots of times the parents doing the homeschooling weren't ever homeschooled themselves - so it's a whole new ball game for everyone. All of this to say, it's essential we try NOT to harmfully project our pasts on to their present and definitely not their future. I've had the most success in homeschooling by appreciating my learning style and how I can grow or change to better help them. Learning how to reach your child will take you a long way and make your journey so much more impactful. You might be a visual learner, but your child might be an auditory learner. Writing spelling words 10x each for an auditory learner might not be as useful as recording the words and then listening to the recording.
5 Teaching Whatchu' Want
Homeschooling allowed me time to focus on things that matter. There is so much to learn. And while the standards create a guideline, how you teach and what you teach is entirely up to you. The way I look at it, homeschooling has become an extension of my parenting. There is a definite teacher on/off switch, but the skills I gained instructing, helping, and guiding them have forced me to grow as a parent. The experience has been invaluable and a primary reason I eventually started the Writing Academy (now Omagine) to work with other parents and their students. Whatever and however you construct your program, know that you will improve, so please don't be too hard on yourself. Just keep at it - you got this!
I hope this short post has provided some value for you and at least some perspective. If you're new to homeschooling and have any comments or questions regarding fall classes or how to fill out your PSA, contact me here. Thanks for reading!