I’m hearing this particular question often these days. Whether from friends, family or mere acquaintances (who used to ask the question with a hint of judgement in their voice), now suddenly are interested, and inquiring as they make decisions for their own family.
“Yes, some of my kids.” Is the usual reply before I get barraged by a host of questions about curriculum, how I made my decision and where to even start with planning a school year.
I relax. Take a deep breath. And then reply that after 7 years of homeschooling, I have realized that I am not ever prepared to homeschool.
Yes, I’ve chosen my curriculum.
Yes, I’ve made a schedule.
Yes, I even have a special room.
But with kids, things rarely go as we imagine them to.
I have five kids and each one is unique. The have all been a blessing to teach, but every single one of them have had their struggles, in different areas. I can pick the perfect curriculum for one child, while the next child absolutely hates it. Then I switch things up for the next year and the other child loves the rigid teaching style, while the other four struggle to thrive. And then I face the problem with missing important things because I’m switching curriculum year to year. It’s never simple, but we’ve always made it work.
For those new to homeschooling, here’s a little secret: You simply will not achieve the perfect school year… BUT, you can definitely achieve a productive and rewarding one.
This year is different for everyone.
There are so many uncertainties each person has to face. Many, who would’ve never previously considered homeschooling before, are now delving into it.
I’ve also had some thinking to do.
I’ve homeschooled each of my kids through their elementary years. I always planned to send them back in middle school. The purpose of this was to make the transition to public school easier and for the opportunity for friendships to be formed before they entered a high school where one rarely has two classes with the same people.
Still, this didn’t stop me from reconsidering for this year.
I have never wanted to teach high school, and truthfully, I looked into it this year for my oldest son, but felt a tad overwhelmed. The stakes are higher with the older grades and questions that are pretty irrelevant for the younger years, are sobering now. What if I miss something and he falls behind? What if I miss the courses he needs for getting into college? What if the university/college he applies for doesn’t recognize a homeschool graduation diploma? And finally… these are his final years to form healthy friendships as an adolescent, how can I keep him home? So finally, I made the decision… he will be entering grade nine this fall in a local private school.
I was less sure about my middle schoolers, especially my son who struggles with asthma and can barely stand a mask on his face for five minutes before he starts flailing his hands, begging me to take it off. I offered both my daughter in grade seven, and my son in grade six that they could homeschool this year. I even ordered curriculum for them, but they both would really like to try out public school with their friends this fall. So, I agreed to let them try it out. If huge issues arise, we will simply take them back home.
As for my youngest two, they will be at home with me. They are in grades 1 and 3 and are the best of friends. Both enjoy being taught at home. They love the extra time they have in the afternoons to play and enjoy the slower pace of homeschool life.
I sit here and write, knowing full well I should be working and lesson planning because… well… school’s now just two weeks away, it’s canning season, and we are in the middle of basement renovations.
Each room is stacked with boxes and tables and furniture that should really be downstairs. I know some people fly through life with stuff thrown everywhere and don’t seem to mind. But as for me, when things aren’t in their rightful place, it leaves me feeling scatter-brained and frustrated.
Not a great way to start off the school year.
However, I know from experience that I can have the most organized classroom, but if my heart is not ready to teach, it will be a difficult year.
I have to be ready for a messy house some days, while I ignore the clutter and teach when I want to clean.
I have to be ready to adjust my plans when things aren’t working out.
I have to be ready to put away my phone during the teaching hours so that my children have their mother’s undivided attention.
I have to let some things be less than perfect.
I have to be ready for bad attitudes, sick days, children who are out of sorts ,and fighting siblings… I have to be ready for a lot of patience and selflessness.
I have to be ready to put of finishing my book for just one more year.
This year, my room doesn’t look ready… but my heart definitely is.
How about you? Are you sending your kids to school? Homeschooling for the first time? Are you ready? Let me know in the comments!