In my last blog post I was mourning our departure from the public school district that we have known and loved for the past 7 years. No doubt this decision to homeschool wasn’t an easy one and I’m sure what lies ahead will be a challenge. I hear it can take weeks, months, or even a couple of years to “deschool” your children and find the right rhythm for homeschooling. Well, that really stinks for us because I don’t plan to homeschool for more than a year (although we all know by now that plans can change!).
I feel like I have realistic expectations for what homeschooling will be like. There will probably be tears, regret, and unmet expectations. On the other hand I am also very optomistic and looking forward to this adventure. Here are the top five things that make me giddy about homeschooling-
- Spending this time with my children
I know that sounds like such a cheesy saintly thing to proclaim after months of quarantine where so many parents are ready to throw their children out the window. Surely I must be a superior mom with perfectly well-behaved children. NOPE. I have my hands full (as strangers like to point out) and I too would love to get a break from the madness that is motherhood. However, as my children are getting older I feel the years slipping out of my grasp faster than they did before. J and I got our driver’s licenses renewed this week and they don’t expire for three years. Afterwards, he pointed out that next time we had to go to the DMV Z would be coming with us. At first, I didn’t get it. Then I realized he was talking about Z getting his driver’s license! The reality is, our children are growing up in the blink of an eye. “Sacrificing” my plans for a year to focus on them 24/7 is nothing. And God bless all the homeschool moms who do it all the time.
2. Flexible Schedule
I am starting our homeschool year this Monday. It’s three weeks earlier than the public school here, but I want to spread our breaks out more. I am really excited about extending our Christmas break from Thanksgiving to the New Year. I am also looking forward to potentially traveling during off-peak seasons and visiting places when they aren’t busy. Woo Hoo! Back in 2016 I wrote a blog post called “Summer and School” about why I am in favor of year round learning.
Most people think that I’m crazy, but it’s how I have felt since my kids have been in school and now I actually get to implement it!
3. More Cleaning
I am not going to lie, as my kids have gotten older it’s been nice having more help around the house (see the blog post “Kids and Chores” for more details).
It’s tough to have kids wake up early, put in 7 hours at school, have extracurricular activities including church and then expect them to help out a lot around the house. Now that they are going to have all of their school work done in half the time, I am hoping to amp up the chores. Not anything crazy! I am planning to add some more in-depth cleaning and cooking to the chore list though. This isn’t just for my sake, I promise! I think part of homeschool is learning valuable, practical life lessons like budgeting , grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. So that is part of our “schooling” this year.
4. Fun subjects
The joy of homeschooling is also getting to teach things that really interest you and the kids. I am looking forward to diving into more sign language, Bible, art, and music as a family.
5. The Lesson of a Lifetime
I’m not going to downplay the pandemic and the lives lost or the impact it has had on jobs and families across the globe. It’s definitely not as simple as life gives you lemons, make lemonade. However, this is a very teachable moment for my children. Even though they have missed out on a lot they will certainly have a story to tell about what life was like during the coronavirus pandemic. I really hope that they’ll remember when mom and dad were faced with some crazy new challenges they didn’t cower in fear. They took the bull by the horns.
Our strategy through all of this has been to play offense, not defense.
In the past four months we got chickens, learned how to live stream church services, planted a garden, built a treehouse, and now we are learning to educate our children from home.
I saw a shirt the other day that read “Underestimate me. That’ll be fun”. I think I need that shirt and for the record, my strength comes from the Lord.
Homeschooling is not something I saw myself doing but I hope my children can learn from me. Yes, I hope they learn academically, but I also hope they feel empowered as they watch their old lady navigate uncharted territory.
They will see me struggle, because believe me I am not always crushing it. We keep looking to God for strength though and I’m trusting Him with homeschooling too.
In January I announced my word for the year– “Home”. When I committed for that to be my focus in 2020, I certainly did realize to what degree but He did. Homeschool here we come.