Are you ready for 6-10? There were a few “biggies” in 1-5, but the one that is the very hardest for me is in this post. You’ll have to read on to find it, but I’ll start with one that is really the most hysterical – mainly because I haven’t actually taken this advice. My husband is, as I type this, painstakingly painting our office/schoolroom to get it ready for the school year. What can I say, he loves me… and my schizophrenic schoolroom…
6. Schoolrooms: Don’t get attached. It’s going to change at least 12,000 times before next summer.
It’s the constant struggle between more light in the dining room, more space in the basement, easier access in the office and gorgeous weather outside.
Trust me, just go with it. Wherever your kids will learn, go there. And for each kid it could be different. One of mine likes to sit behind the recliner in the corner of the living room (???), while the other needs one-on-one contact at the dining table while the 3rd – well, I just don’t even know yet… The point is, don’t get bogged down in logistics, isn’t that part of homeschool?
Make it fun. When you are reading volumes of read-a-louds, no one wants to be tied to a desk…get comfy. Go to the couch, if it’s nice out, go to the hammock. If not, build a blanket fort – even for your teenager, (trust me, they’ll love it – they just wont tell you).
7. As a general rule, avoid engaging vocational educators in homeschool conversations.
Please hear me (especially if you are a teacher), I think teachers are the single greatest people on the planet. Ok, too much? Well, how about this… I think teachers are awesome, they have a HUGE job and a hard one. I have a hard enough time teaching my 3, I couldn’t imagine a room full of 20-25 kids I’ve never met before.
Now, with that being said, please guard your heart and that of your kids. A well-meaning vocational teacher can (without intent-or maybe with intent) send you right over the proverbial homescool edge.
I have a few teachers whom I know and trust that I will go to and ask advice and opinion, because I want to do this thing well and they are trained to do just that. But please take caution when having these conversations with random educators.
A few mishandled concerns or miscommunicated “horror stories” and you can find yourself questioning your ability, your kids’ ability and quite frankly maybe even your sanity.
The place for these conversations is with a trust-worthy advisor, not with people you barely know in a bible study, or at a family reunion or waiting for a table at your favorite Mexican restaurant…don’t ask.
8. Find your people.
This one is HUGE. If this list had been in order of importance, this would have been much closer to number 1.
Because weird and unsocialized homeschool families are still a thing…don’t be one of those. Don’t do that to your kids.
We were designed for community. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 Here’s how that translates to homeschooling. Mama’s, you can’t do this alone. Homeschooling has the potential to break you in so many beautifully and wonderfully excruciating ways. Two can defend themselves – invite your husband to be a part of this. If you don’t have a husband – a family member or close friend. Seek the Lord together for your kids and their education.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. These are your people – your community. You guys, I couldn’t do this without an army of other families in our community. Find an enrichment program, a co-op, a playgroup – ANYTHING. If you don’t even know where to begin to find other homeschoolers, start here.
The point is, have a support system. Don’t go rogue.
Now this next one, hurts. I’m not sure I can even type it out…I’m stalling can you tell?? Here goes…
9. Put down your phone.
Yes, you read that right. No Facebook, no twitter, no Instagram, no long texts to the principal about what HIS children just did to the playroom.
Just don’t. They need your attention.
This is my very hardest one. Leave your phone somewhere you can’t see it. Your night stand, your car, the top of the fridge. Somewhere you aren’t tempted to grab it.
If you lose focus, its done. Picture Julia Roberts in “Runaway Bride” when she had to keep her “eye on the ball” to make it to the altar.
If you look away for a minute, that precious fruit of your womb will be hanging off the back off a fedex truck waving goodbye and you might as well give up on school for the day.
Hear me on this one in particular, they’d rather be on a screen too. If you aren’t interested in the War of 1812, trust me, they aren’t either.
Lord teach me.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about why we’re really doing this…
10. You were their Mommy long before you were their schoolteacher. And you will be long after.
This is your first role. School teachers can be replaced in your child’s life, Mama’s cannot. We, as homeschoolers, get this rare and wonderful gift to get to be both.
There are so few things in this world that give lasting tangible results, and teaching your kids to read is one of them. Everytime one of my kids opens a book and reads out loud, I get this overwhelming satisfaction and I can’t help but think, “I got to do that.”
I got to be the one to cheer him on as he sounded out “cat” for the first time. I got to be the one who counted out 10 straws 10 times to make 100. I got to make a construction paper wigwam while learning about early native American homes. I got to watch him painstakingly diagram his first sentence (hold me Jesus). I get to be there for every first, every victory, every heartbreak.
Homeschooling is a privilege. One I take for granted far too often. I am forever grateful to my God for calling us to this painful and beautifully sacred assignment. Grateful to my man who works so hard and sacrifices so much for us to do this thing and to my boys who let me be their Mama first – but also, their teacher.
Did you miss Part 1: “10 Things Every Parent Should Know BEFORE Homeschooling (Part 1)”.