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So, this is our sixth year of homeschooling. And, let me tell you, it’s been one crazy ride.
I was clueless when we began this home educating gig. I was scared and excited. Concerned and curious. As prepared as I could be – and oh, so unprepared.
Believe me. We’ve had our ups and downs. There have been days when I totally rocked it as a homeschool mom and there have been days when I couldn’t pull myself off the couch.
Looking back now, I’m pretty sure I have learned so much more than the kids.
Here’s what I wish I knew before we even got started.
What is Homeschooling Really Like?
#1: Homeschooling is not just about an academic education, it’s about relationships.
Homeschooling creates an environment where members of the family are together all day. Every day.
Each member of the family becomes an expert on every other member of the family. I know what my children are thinking before they even think it. Likewise, my children can anticipate my mood, general attitude, and reaction to most things most of the time. Above all, they trust me.
We have an intimate knowledge of one another because we have spent loads of time together. This has its advantages and disadvantages.
I will tell you this: homeschooled children (with siblings) have tons of practice when it comes to getting along, fighting, making up, teaming up against others, feeling left out, being bullied, standing up for oneself, and socializing in general.
Wondering what the wonderful advantage to this may be? They get to socialize under your care and standards. Homeschoolers get to practice relationshipping (that’s so not even a word!) all the live long day. And, they are better for it.
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2. You really, truly do not have to know how to homeschool in order to homeschool.
(Need more proof? See relationshipping above. Yeah! Our state lets me homeschool the kids – even with incorrect grammar. There’s a reason I started the UnQualifiedMom blog.)
Check with your local state to see what the minimum requirements are. Then, move forward!
There is an enormous amount of information regarding every single aspect of homeschooling. And if there is still something you are unsure of, then ask someone who homeschools.
Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular each year. And, there are tons of more experienced mamas out there willing to listen and answer your questions. Homeschooling is like a great big club. The only prerequisite to becoming a member is to actually homeschool your kid. All other members will gladly spill their secrets when asked.
That’s how it works. We help each other out. And, we learn as we go.
3. Homeschooling will leave your house a total disaster – most of the time.
Okay, so this may just be at my house. But, I’m mentioning it because it was such a surprise to me.
Homeschoolers are home – a lot. We use every square inch of our homes all day, every day. One mess is made just as quickly as one is cleaned up. Instantaneously! (Babies and toddlers may not be using the toilet everyone else does, but they make up for it in other rooms. Ya’ll feel me?)
All that quality time at home makes a home messy. The bathrooms never get a break. The kitchen never gets a break. The couch never gets a break. Finger paint is mixed with Cheerios is mixed with Legos is mixed with puzzle pieces is mixed with mom’s favorite mascara is mixed with . . .
There is no cleaning the house over the weekend, so it can stay nice and fresh for the upcoming week. Just go ahead and let that dream die.
4. Interruptions will reign in homeschooling, so be able to adapt.
The baby will have a blow out, which must be attended to right in the middle of a spelling test.
The preschooler will get a paper cut right in the middle of the math lesson. (Only the Frozen Band-Aids will do. Right now!)
The second grader will spill the entire bag of dog food down the basement stairs right before you start the reading lesson.
The fourth grader will have a temper tantrum because you are making him shut down electronic devices even though he completed all his chores.
Ahh, the life of a homeschooling family. It’s a wonder we ever get anything done.
Here’s the good news: Not all days are like this. A lot of them are but there are those sweet days, too. There are days when accomplishment rules! And, those are the days that make up for all the others. Try to take it all in stride.
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5. Homeschooling is more amazing than I ever dreamed.
It’s taken a few years, but we have finally found our groove. Every struggle has revealed some sort of necessary change. Our family is stronger, closer, and more loving (most days) than I ever imagined it would be.
We are learning together. We are growing together.
The children are actually doing pretty well on state mandated standardized tests – in spite of their teacher.
There is minimal outside influence in our children’s lives. Mine and my husband’s beliefs and standards have zero competition – for now.
And, we have made beautiful friendships we wouldn’t have made any other way.
I’m not gonna lie. Homeschooling has presented challenges I was unprepared for. But, it has been totally worth it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it has been the greatest honor of my life.
Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept His strength.
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