As a homeschool mom, I have had all the questions and comments that go with the territory.
You know, the “But what about socializing?” one.
Personally my favourite comment is the “Oh well you must have more patience then I do, I could never homeschool”. I always want to laugh at that one. No offense.
Nope, I cannot say I am blessed with more patience then the average person. Believe me, I get frustrated and impatient just like the best of them.
I don’t homeschool because it’s easy or because I have extra patience. We homeschool because it’s what God has put on our hearts for our family.
We could send the kids to school, and maybe we will someday, but not at this time. I know in my heart we would not be at peace with it because it’s going against what God has called us to do at this time. And who are we to argue with Him when He calls us to do something ;)?
This week I had a question that I don’t recall being asked before. I was talking with a friend and she asked “Is home-schooling hard?”.
Hmmm…. how was I going to answer her without scaring her off? Because the truth is homeschooling is hard. And it is work. If homeschooling was easy then I think a lot more people would be doing it.
To be completely honest, there are days that I don’t want to homeschool, but it may not be why you think. Here’s the thing, homeschooling is hard, but the reasons I find it hard might not be the reasons someone else might find it hard, or vice versa.
When I first thought about homeschooling I had high hopes and dreams. My hope was that I would create fantastic lesson plans, we would have fun and nobody would be frustrated or dawdle. We would follow a well laid out schedule each day. We would stay on task and I would never lose my cool. We would go on multiple field trips and create amazing projects every week.
Sounds like fun right?
After 7 years I can say that those were great ideas, but not an everyday reality. We do occasionally have days like that, but it’s not every day or even every week.
Lesson plans, schedules and field trips, oh my!
I loved the idea (idea being the key word) of making curriculum lesson plans for each child, per grade, but I also knew that that would take lots of research, prepping and planning. As much as I love all of that; planning the kids school year and making sure everything was covered seemed like a bit too much to take on. Especially with babies and toddlers.
The idea of creating my own lesson plans went out the window and I have made peace with that.
I ended up going with a curriculum that was all inclusive and Biblically based so that I wouldn’t have to make sure everything was covered. Someone had already figured that out and packaged it up, so why reinvent the wheel?
I know to some people that sounds boring, but it works for our family. There have been some adjustments to the math curriculum for a couple of my children, but for the most part we have stuck with the same curriculum for grades K-6. If there are other topics or things the kids want to learn about, we have a ton of resources available for them.
Staying on schedule
I’ve tried, but it’s not always possible. Life isn’t predictable and things don’t always go as planned.
Guess what? That’s ok! I was getting so frustrated because my day dreamer would take WAY longer then the schedule allowed for a particular subject. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do it in that amount of time, they were just busy day dreaming instead of putting the pencil to the paper.
I had to let the schedule go because I was getting frustrated and angry. If the kids don’t get their schooling done within a reasonable amount of time, then they use up their play time finishing their lesson. It’s a self-inflicted consequence.
The kids still get their schooling done, but it may take more or less time than anticipated. Their goals are laid out for the week so they know what it is they need to complete.
I have found since we’ve been schooling in the school room, we tend to start later in the morning because all the breakfast chores get done before heading down. Before the school room, I would have the kids start at the kitchen table while I cleaned up dishes. So schedule? It’s a fluid concept ;)
Room for Improvement
The dream of everyone staying on task and always keeping their cool? Well…let’s just say we’re human and there’s room for improvement ;)
Multiple field trips a week would be a fun idea, but unless you consider the grocery store a field trip, we have not done as many intentional field trips as I had hoped.
For the last 7 years the idea of packing up the diaper bag, snacks, water, multiple kids, baby and/or toddler seemed like too much work for a field trip, plus chasing after kids once there. And then on top of that, trying to fit the rest of the schooling, all household duties and meals in. Phew!
This year we are in a new stage of life with my youngest being 3 ½ and diapers behind us. The older kids are a huge help and can help pack up and get themselves ready to head out the door. Getting out is a lot easier these days and I hope we will do many more field trips this school year and the years to come.
Fun projects? We have made some and we enjoy them! The kids are also coming up with their own projects and get to do quite a few of them in their co-op this year, so that takes the pressure off me feeling like we “have” to do them.
If I was to hold onto my ideals for homeschooling as the only way to home school I think it would make homeschooling a lot harder. The reason being is that I would feel like I never measure up and that’s a lot of pressure to be under.
Homeschooling is work and it requires time, your time, so make your peace with it. There really is no way around it. Even if you have a well laid out curriculum there is still things to set up. It takes time to listen to your children read, to give out spelling words, to mark papers, set goals and plan projects. It takes time. This is a part-full time job and you have to expect as much.
The biggest contributor to whether home-schooling is hard or not, is attitude. This is the one that can trip me up the most. I know why we homeschool and I have a strong conviction to do it. I also have lots of encouragement from my hubby and my family. So why is attitude so important and how does it make home-schooling harder for me?
Here’s me being completely honest with you. The thing that can trip me up the most, is feeling sorry for myself. I admit that there are times where I’m slightly envious of other moms that get to go out for coffee…without children, or go to the gym, or grocery shopping or even to work.
Then there are the days that the kids are bickering amongst themselves, or someone is taking 3 hours to complete a 10-minute assignment. Those are my “hard” moments. Those are the moments I have to remind myself of our big “why”.
Write down your big why, why you are homeschooling your children. You will need to remind yourself of that when things get hard.
Is Homeschooling Hard?
Honestly? Yes, it can be. There are moments I want to give up, but my attitude makes all the difference.
We have the choice to make it a miserable or an enjoyable experience.
Is it work? You bet!! We are overseeing our children’s education and that requires a lot from us as the parent(s). So yes, homeschooling can be hard and it is work, but it is so worth the effort! Relax and enjoy the journey!