Whether you’re homeschooling your first year, your tenth, or your twentieth, sometimes you just need some reminders of those little (and not-so-little) truths about homeschooling.
(For the record, I’m just guessing about that 20 years part. We’re not quite there yet.)
1. Socialization is a non-issue. I’ve posted a time or two or three about my opinion on the whole socialization issue. The truth is, if you’re anything like us, some time about midway through the first or second year of homeschooling, the real socialization problem becomes making sure that you turn down enough social opportunities to actually be able to stay home and get some school done once in awhile.
2. It will take a while to find your groove. This whole homeschooling thing is an adjustment for everyone (especially if you’re transitioning from public school to homeschool). You may realize right away that homeschooling is the right choice for your family, but it’s fairly common not really to feel like you’ve got it together for two, three, or even four years.
3. Your home doesn’t have to look like a public school classroom. I mean, if you want to say the Pledge of Allegiance so your kids can learn it or take recess so you can go outside and play for awhile, go for it. But chill out. It’s called homeschool for a reason. Live, laugh, and learn together. Naturally.
4. Character training is as important as academics. When we first started homeschooling, there were these crazy people on this email group (Remember those? It was pre-Facebook.) who sometimes suggested putting the academics aside for a bit and focusing on the character issues. Except, as it turns out, they weren’t crazy, they were experienced.
Academics are important, but character is that aspect of your child’s homeschool education that will be there long after she’s forgotten the names of all the Egyptian Pharaohs – except for King Tut and Hatshepsut because, hey, they’re fascinating.
5. Don’t focus on the areas of struggle. Yeah. No, seriously, don’t turn your child’s area of struggle into the thing that defines him. The rest of the world focuses enough on that without your help. Spend some time shoring up the weak areas, but focus on your child’s gifts and talents. Let his strengths be what define him.
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6. There will be learning gaps. Do you remember everything you learned in school? Did you learn everything you need to know about life in school? Of course not. Neither will your kids. The important thing is to give them the necessary skills they need to succeed and make sure they know how to learn.
Does that mean that you only teach them the basic skills and nothing else? No, but if they have those skills and they know how to learn, they can learn anything that you might miss – or they forget – on their own when the need arises. Homeschooling’s goal is to equip kids for life, not teach them everything about it. If you try, you’ll drive yourself and your kids crazy.
7. Read about a variety of homeschooling styles – even the ones that you think will never be for you. There is always something to glean from all the different homeschool styles. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
8. You will doubt yourself. It’s normal. We all do it, but you are absolutely qualified to teach your kids. You can do this.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Homeschooling’s goal is to equip kids for life, not teach them everything about it.” quote=”Homeschooling’s goal is to equip kids for life, not teach them everything about it.”]
9. Never take glitter to a homeschool party. Really. Just don’t. Trust me.
10. You will survive teaching algebra. Surprisingly, algebra makes much more sense now than it did the first time around. Really. I give Teaching Textbooks the credit. Even if you struggle, there are plenty of ways to effectively teach the subjects you find difficult.
What’s your best bit of homeschool wisdom?
updated from an article originally published August 10, 2010