I was a home school mama for over 10 years.
My oldest started his journey now with IGCSE and hope to be starting without A-levels 2020. I would lie if I tell you the time flew by… It didn’t. It crawled. Sometimes painfully. Sometimes naturally. But it still crawled.
My youngest is spread out over three grades! You probably wonder ‘what in the world is that supposed to mean’. Well, it means that he’s busy working through grade 7 science, plodding on through grade 6 math and moans through the rest of his work at grade 5 level. I bet you thought math would be 5 or science would be the challenge. Nope, my youngest loves his sciences and math. Always an adventure!!
Through the years I’ve gained loads of experience and learned about loads of resources. Some were great! Some sucked. Some was ridiculously expensive. Others free! Nice, right?
Over the next few months or maybe years I would like to share what we used, what worked for us and what was really bad for us. Maybe I’ll even have guts to tell you how we used it. Yup, sometimes the instructions are filed in file 13 because we found a different way! Part of the adventure.
TO NEW HOMESCHOOLING FAMILIES, RELAX!!!
– It’s a journey, not a race. You don’t need a school room or a curriculum or any sort of structure from the get go. Discover. Discover your kiddos little gears. What makes them tick. Discover your own itch and motivations. Discover your approach. Discover your loathing styles. Connect with one another. Talk. Play. Have fun! These things take time. The journey matters the most. Through the journey we get to the end goal.
– Let them play. Kiddos learn and develop a lot more through play than any structured education. Ease back on activities. I almost want to say that starting later with all sorts of activities and clubs will be so much better in the long run that having a provincial gymnast at 5 or a Little Einstein for the science club. On this subject o can go on and on but really, they don’t HAVE to start with anything until much later. And even then it’s still not compulsory.
– If you’re trying to copy traditional school, DON’T! There goes 90% of your stress. It’s ‘HOME’ school. It’s going to be different from traditional school. It should be different!
– Don’t strive to create geniuses. We need problem solvers that has a love for learning in our ever evolving world. Geniuses have their place but flash cards and boxes don’t create them.
– ENJOY your kiddos. Educating and training them for this world might crawl past but they grow out of their little bodies and baby shoes in the blink of an eye. Then memories fade because we didn’t take time to imprint it on our hearts and in our minds.
– Don’t get attached to a program or curriculum or system. Some kiddos fit into a program or a curriculum. Bliss!!! Others don’t. I have them both! Take time to get to know your kiddo. You’ll eventually see that this one is a notebooker. That one is a ticklister. This one is a kinetic learner and that one is a silent schooler…and there is something for every little itch.
– Be flexible!!! Routines are great but true learning sometimes happens outside of your set routine. A general order of things are great but let those borders be elastic.
When an emotional breakdown happens, your kiddo needs YOU, not the tick-list. Or the deadline.
When the coin dropped for fractions, reading can wait till tomorrow. Cement that realisation in. That foundation is much more important than time schedules and regimes. Believe me, when these little events are allowed to happen, they speed through other things again and you make up all that ‘lost’ time.
Another home school mama used to say that as homeschooling, we are always ahead.
– Take time off for yourself. This should be the no1 thing for a home school parent. YOU NEED IT. And, your kiddos need a break from you! Shocking I know!! But you need to be able to step away to actually do the work of being the best for your kiddos as parent and facilitator
– That brings me to another thing: homeschool parents are FACILITATORS! They are NOT teachers! We give our kiddos the tools and resource and opportunities. But they are the learners. When you’ve trained them and showed them, they do. When they need a helping hand, you are there, but they are the learner.
Our kiddos need the responsibility. I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t want responsibility. How do I know? Because they all want freedom. And ‘with freedom, comes great responsibility’ If you will forgive my Spider-man quote here! If they taste freedom, they live responsibility.
– Use tutors. Please do! We are not all mathematicians. But sometimes we have a mathematician to help. Or maybe you have a crafter but can’t draw a straight line with a ruler! It’s okay. There are somebody to help. Put a question out there for somebody to help and you will be surprised who feels the same as you and needed help as much as you did but can help find somebody to help.
– Be kind to other homeschooling families. I’ve met many many homeschooling families over the years and boy o boy. Homeschooling is not a fashion item. It’s not a status symbol. It’s also not a testimony of your spirituality. It is a way to protect our children, raise our children, love our children, bless your children and give them a fighting chance in life. We all have our own reasons for starting this journey in the first place. It is not more or less important than the next family. If you happen to have political reasons or spiritual reasons or medical reasons or social reasons or maybe practical reasons, good on you!!! It’s your reasons. It’s my reasons. It is all about the next generation. We are all working together to raise the next generation which will hopefully be a blessing to themselves and to others.
– MAKE MISTAKES! I know this is the worst thing I could have said. But trust me, the absence of mistakes in our home school journeys are probably the biggest recipe for disaster. Through every mistake we’ve made in our journey we learned more than any other time. We learned about each other. We learned about ourselves. We learned about others. And we learned about this journey. In the end all of that worked out. We became better at being a family. And that is what mattered most.
This post was supposed to be about a home school product… I guess not!
until next time then