A friend of mine recently started homeschooling. Before she started, she asked me a few questions about my routine and what works for me. I wanted to give her lots of good ideas and tips – lessons I’ve learned along the way – and encouragement (because all homeschoolers need a lot of encouragement!). As I thought about my own homeschooling experience, I kept contradicting myself. For example, you have to keep to your schedule, but the best part of homeschooling is having lots of flexibility. You must be stern and stand your ground when the kids don’t want to listen, and yet you get to cater most of your curriculum to your kids’ preferences, interests and strengthens (and also their weaknesses – see, I did it again!). If something is not working, you can mix things up, but some times you have to see things through. I also started to think about how much work homeschool is, researching and prepping, but it’s also incredibly easy – especially those magical times when everyone’s in their “groove” and you finish school by noon. I thought about the frustrating times when a child is struggling with a subject, but also the joy at seeing something click inside your child’s mind and they just get it. I thought about the energy and enthusiasm I have for it, but also the exhaustion after a long week. Most days I love it but some days I desperately want to put the kids on the school bus and enjoy a day to myself.
How could I possibly give any sort of advice without sounding crazy and confused?
I guess I’ll just call it the paradox of homeschooling. It is the easiest and hardest thing to do. It’s flexible but also scheduled. It’s loving and disciplined. It’s fun but also hard. It’s a paradox because it’s real life!
After looking at this puzzle, I realized it all comes down to intuition. As Moms, we know our children and we (generally) know what’s best for them. We know when we need to urge them on and when we need to give them space and time to grow. We know when a curriculum isn’t working for our children. We also know when we need to teach them to persevere. Here’s my one bit of advice that might make sense: trust your judgment and your choices. Push aside what everyone else is doing and do what you think is the right choice and best option for your family. The rest of the puzzle works itself out from there.
**Speaking of homeschooling, if you want a laugh and some encouragement, take a minute to watch this video posted by Jamie Grace. She talks about her homeschool experience and some misconceptions. She’s so neat, this video was so cute, and I’m really glad she posted it!