I have homeschool friends in person and online, and a large number of homeschoolers I follow on social media. I read, see, and experience a lot about homeschooling on the daily, but there are a few truths that I don’t hear mentioned very often. Maybe in the homeschooling world they are all inherently understood, but if you’re new to homeschooling like I was a few years ago, I think it might be helpful to hear these homeschooling truths no one talks about.
You don’t need a dedicated room or space to homeschool.
Is it nice to have? Sure! Having an accessible and organized spot for materials is definitely nice, but take it from a mom (me) that set up an entire room for homeschool learning, it’s not necessary. Despite having the space, most days we end up at the kitchen table. So while it’s normal to pine after that beautiful set up you see on Pinterest with a chalkboard wall and the perfect cozy reading corner, I can promise you a pillow and a blanket set up in a closet can feel just as magical to a child.
Curriculum matters… but not that much.
I agonized over our first curriculum choices. But this year? …well, yeah, I actually did a lot of overthinking as to our perfect curriculum choices for third and first grade too. I don’t know why though because as an experienced homeschool mom I know that while the curriculum provides a great structure and road map, it’s not the end all be all. With any curriculum, you’re going to have days you don’t follow it in favor of veering off course for a more fun way to study verbs. You can expand upon any decent curriculum to make it the right fit for your family.
Being a good mom comes before being a good teacher.
I shared about when we push through lessons and when we press pause in this post on how we handle the hard days of homeschooling, but one thing remains constant- being mom comes first. The family and the home is at the core of a successful homeschool. Teaching is and always has been a natural part of parenting and I try to view teaching them school subjects through the same lens that I taught them anything else- how to eat solid foods, how to walk, how to sleep through the night. All of these were taught with love at the core, and some boundaries to provide structure. School is no different. I want us all to remember the feeling of togetherness and fun we had through these homeschooling years. The learning will happen when there is peace in the home.
Make a schedule that fits your family, not one that impresses strangers.
Again, this tip is coming from a mom that outlined a daily schedule for kindergarten. While I still thrive on having a general routine, some days we do language arts while we eat lunch because we wanted to swim in the morning or we tackle history in the evening after dinner because I have a captive audience that is trying to delay bedtime. Learning takes place all day long and does not necessarily have to fit into an organized time block. If your family thrives on a structured day, that is wonderful! But don’t feel like you have to have that set up if it doesn’t fit. Remember that homeschooling is not the same as recreating school at home. Make it work for you.
There are gaps in every education.
Every new homeschool mom’s worry is this: am I going to miss something and screw up their education? Let me answer that for you: yes, you’re going to miss something, but it will absolutely not screw them up. There are gaps in every education whether you are learning at home, online, or in a school. There is actually no agreed upon body of information that qualifies as a gap-free education. The good news is that as humans, we never stop learning. So maybe whatever that gap was will be learned the next year, or in 10 years, or never if it turns out it’s not necessary or of interest for that particular person.
My hope is that this encourages you if you are on a homeschooling journey. If you have homeschooling friends, you’ve probably discussed all of these at one point or another, but if you’re just getting started, so much of what you read or see on social media can look intimidating. However, just like in parenting, the majority of it we are all making up and doing the best we can as we go along. I’m so grateful you let me share my journey with you!
Also, I feel like it needs to be said in this current schooling environment: whatever choice you are making for your family’s education right now, I am 100% cheering you on! In person? Wonderful, best of luck! Virtual? Wonderful, best of luck! Homeschooling? Wonderful, best of luck! Flicking a spinner and going with whatever it lands on? Wonderful, best of luck! 😉