This year we begin our 15th year of homeschooling. Having successfully graduated one that is off at college, and still homeschooling three more, I can clearly look back now at the things I wished I had known sooner! But my mistakes can hopefully be someone’s help!
So, here are my biggest tips to homeschooling! (for more homeschooling encouragement, click here)
Homeschool is not school at home.
Early on I tried to recreate the schoolroom in my house. It took a few years until I realized, homeschooling is completely different than just doing school at home. It is a lifestyle and a way of life. It provides the freedom to learn without being confined to four walls. You do not need a classroom in your home to teach. In fact, the best learning took place in our yard, on the couch, and at the kitchen table.
Real-life is really the teacher.
Most of the best lessons we learned over the years were never in a plan book or a textbook. They took place in real life. After all, we are preparing our children for life, not a test.
It’s okay to not finish a book.
Learning doesn’t take place when we cram. That may store knowledge into our minds, but true learning takes place when it is paced according to the learner’s needs. Don’t stress about finishing every book. I learned that schools rarely gets through a whole text in a year. And if you don’t finish during the school year, but you really want or need to, you have time. Finish it over the summer or even next school year. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are on your own schedule.
Stick with what works.
Let’s face it. These days there is so much available to homeschoolers and most if it is really good! We have endless options. But if you find something you like, stick with it. Don’t let the new and latest curriculum tempt you from what is already tried and true. Otherwise, we play the game of curriculum swap every year and we never really get into a good routine. So stick with what works, even when your friend says, “Oh, I saw this new math book…” 😉
Keep it simple.
My mantra. In all things. Simple is best and when you weed out all of the distractions, it is truly beneficial for everyone. Homeschooling does NOT have to be complicated. In fact, it is glorious when it isn’t! Too often we left the distractions drown us. Be free of all the extras. Keep God at the center. Love on your family. Enjoy learning together. Build your family. Not just a transcript.
Relationships trump academics every time.
One of the greatest blessings that have been a result of homeschooling is our family and the relationships we have built. We are a close-knit family. And I believe because we invested our time and energy into that, it has paid off. Was it always easy? NO. But nothing worth doing ever is. When attitudes were poor, instead of pushing books more, those were the times we focused on character and discipleship. Because when the relationship between you and your child is solid, it makes academic issues easier to conquer- together.
Never, by any means, compare.
The comparison trap will steal all the joy from your homeschool. Your homeschool is not supposed to look like anyone else’s. God created YOUR family for a unique purpose and He will accomplish those purposes uniquely to your family. When you look at what everyone else is doing, it is coveting someone else’s life. Keep your eyes on God. Don’t think the grass is greener elsewhere. Tend to your own. And remember, you answer to God alone. We work for an audience of one.
Keep God at the Center.
Want to be “successful” in your homeschool? Pray. Let God lead you. Don’t take your eyes off of HIm. Seek Him all things. That’s the key. Read all about this in my book Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead YourHomeschool.
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