I have been homeschooling for over nine years now. My daughter is wrapping up her middle school years and very quickly heading toward high school.
It is a bittersweet time as I watch my little girl grow up and realize that I will probably be the shortest one in the family!
The thing is – I get to start the whole homeschooling journey over again. My kids are eight years apart. It is not exactly the way we planned things to be, but there is beauty in the age-gap.
I get another shot at the whole homeschooling gig.
This time, though, I have the benefit of almost a decade of experience under my belt.
3 Pieces of advice for your homeschooling journey
Today, I wanted to share three pieces of advice with you all. These are the three things that I am reminding myself of as I embark on this homeschooling journey once more.
#1 – You can teach your child to read.
When I first started homeschooling our daughter, teaching her to read seemed like an insurmountable mountain. There was so much to teach – like letter sounds (she had the hardest time differentiating the sounds of “o” and “u”), consonant blends, phonograms, and more. I was part of the learning-to-read-by-sight pilot program in elementary school, so I never learned phonics.
There were days when I questioned whether or not I could really teach my child to read. But there came a magical day when everything clicked – all the sudden all the phonics I had been trying to drill into her head suddenly dropped into place like a puzzle and she could read.
This time around – we are playing more games and adding in some movement to our phonics instruction. But when my son has difficulty distinguishing between the sounds for “e” and “i” I don’t panic. I am confident that if we put in the work, one day he will learn to read.
#2 – Don’t become a curriculum slave.
“Curriculum is meant to be a tool, not a master.”
I’m not sure where I first heard that statement, but it is so true. In the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I let curriculum be my master. I had to check every single box – no exceptions. I didn’t want to add in things or follow rabbit trails because that would throw off the schedule.
My fear was that if I didn’t do everything that was suggested, I wouldn’t get the desired outcome. As it turns out – fear is a nasty and usually destructive motivator. We had too many tears in our early years as a result of the curriculum master.
I have learned that I, the teacher, direct how we use curriculum. I adjust it to fit her needs, throw out the unnecessary things that won’t work in our house, and add in things that will enhance what we are learning.
Never forget that curriculum is a tool in your homeschooling journey. It can shore up weaknesses and enhance your strengths as a teacher.
This time around I will wield my curriculum instrument with the precision of a fine sculptor.
#3 – Take time to enjoy the journey.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey – the process of getting there. My goal is to produce a well-rounded student who knows how to learn.
It is good to keep that goal in mind when planning our school year and evaluating our progress. I need to know where we are heading in case I need to make course corrections along the way.
However, you can be so focused on next week, next year, and next stage, that you forget to enjoy this week, this year, and this stage.
This time around I will slow down. I will embrace the miracle of having the opportunity to nurture a child’s intellect. I will enjoy this homeschooling journey from start to finish.
The Final Product
Have confidence in your ability to teach.
Wield your curriculum tools.
Slow down and enjoy your journey.
That is what I am saying to myself as I begin the second round of my homeschooling journey.