There are many things I wish I had known when I started homeschooling. I still remember what I said the first time I heard about someone teaching their kids at home: “I could never do that!”
I seriously didn’t think I would ever be qualified to do such a thing! At the time I didn’t know anything about homeschooling, so that made it seem very overwhelming to me.
Over time God used people and resources to change my mind, and with a bit of trepidation mixed with excitement, I began kindergarten at home with my daughter. Two years later I added our next daughter to our school, and on it went with all eight of our kids.
Over the last 31 years, I have learned many things that I wish I had known when I first started homeschooling. I will share some of the top ones with you.
9 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Homeschooling
1. Relationships are more important than academics
There were many times in my early days of homeschooling when I would get frustrated and impatient with one of my kids when they just couldn’t “get it”.
Math was a big struggle with one of my kids, and there were many days when she sensed my impatience or frustration. She would run to her room crying, and that was the end of our school work for the day.
After a while, I realized that not only was I allowing a face-off with an academic subject to kill her love of learning, but I was also allowing it to hurt our relationship.
At that point, I realized the subject wasn’t all that important in comparison to our relationship. Relationship always trumps academics.
2. I wish I had known that commitment is the key to success
There have been many times when I would have rather skipped school, and just read a book or slept in. Other times, I wanted to put ALL the kids in the Christian school.
However, my husband and I felt God had called us to teach them at home, and we made a commitment to do that.
Commitment keeps you consistent and keeps you from acting on your feelings or quitting on those rough days.
3. You are qualified to homeschool your kids
If you love to read to your kids, spend time with them, and watch them as they learn new things, you are qualified to homeschool them! Nobody loves them as you do, or knows them as well as you do.
As a homeschool parent, you don’t have to be an expert! No teacher has all the answers, but they know where to find them. As we look for answers while teaching our kids, we are teaching them how to be lifelong learners.
4. You don’t have to teach every subject every day
In the elementary years, it’s best to focus on the 3 R’s, along with lots of reading aloud and playtime. You can introduce them to history and science by having them read historical novels and nature readers a couple of days each week.
5. I wish I knew it is normal to be afraid
We want to give our kids the best education and do all we can to prepare them for life and God’s purpose. It’s a big responsibility, so a little fear is normal.
You WILL question yourself – A LOT – especially in the beginning. That’s normal and okay. Find other homeschoolers to encourage and support you.
6. It doesn’t take all day to homeschool your kids
Much of the time that children spend at school is spent in waiting, recess, and lunch. Even though kids are at school for about 8 hours a day, they aren’t actually doing school work that whole time.
Don’t try to copy the schools or another family’s homeschool. Don’t worry if someone else spends six-plus hours a day, and your kids are done in two or three hours!
Keep in mind that kids are learning all the time, even though it may not be through sitting down and working in books.
7. There will be bad days
I wish I had known when I started homeschooling that there will be bad days. Those bad days used to really get me discouraged, but then I realized that bad days are just part of the package.
We all have days when we are tired or just not feeling up to par, and we also have those days when the kids are being extra difficult and trying our patience.
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I found that the best thing to do on those bad days is to take a break. Put the books aside and go outside for a walk, or sit at the table and play a game.
If the bad days are happening too often, try to determine what the character issues are, then take a few days to work on character.
8. You don’t need to worry about high school
Probably one of the things I hear most often when people are afraid to homeschool, is that they don’t think they can teach their kids high school.
If God has called you to homeschool, don’t worry about how you will handle it eight or nine years down the road. God just asks that you be faithful today.
He will help you with high school when the time comes, or provide you with the help you need. God doesn’t call us to something, and then not provide the help we need!
9. Homeschooling will reveal your character flaws, and help you grow
It was probably on the very first day of our home school that my lack of patience was revealed! God used my difficult children to help me grow in the areas of self-control on a daily basis.
Homeschooling also gives you the opportunity to see the character flaws in your kids, and work on them daily as you are teaching them.
If they are having a bad attitude, it’s much better to stop the work and deal with it than let them get two lessons done with a bad attitude.
When there is a problem with obedience, address it right away. Read:10 Tips For First Time Obedience
Having the kids there gives us a definite opportunity to work on their character. Don’t look at it as a disturbance, but rather take advantage of those chances to train them in Godly behavior and character.
What you know or don’t know as you begin to home school, or continue to home school, isn’t the big issue. The most important thing you need to know is that you have to rely on God. Don’t start a day of your school without first seeking Him in prayer for direction and wisdom.
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