Before I had children, I never in a million years thought I’d be a homeschooling mom. I have always valued education, but homeschooling was a totally foreign concept to me. I grew up in public school and knew very few homeschoolers. As an adult, my perception of homeschooling changed gradually. By the time my oldest child was 4, I thought homeschooling would be the best option for our family. Being the supportive, understanding man that he is, my husband agreed that we should try it out and see if it worked for our family.
I won’t lie – the first year was rough.
At first I didn’t know how to approach homeschooling. I did a lot of reading and I only became more confused. (Who knew there were so many different ways to homeschool?!) On top of that, I was insecure about my ability to teach my own children. (Aren’t we all a little insecure about that, at least in the beginning?) I came up with a plan, and tried to implement a somewhat flexible schedule full of reading and math. My sweet, energetic, creative 5 year old had other plans. I should have known it would happen. His free-spirited nature was part of the reason I decided to homeschool in the first place. In my heart I knew he wasn’t ready for what we were doing. He wanted to invent and build and make art projects.
Kindergarten was a year of learning, but mostly for me. I learned to let go. I learned to quiet the voice that said, “well, so-and-so’s 5 year old is already reading novels, so why are we still struggling with the first Hooked on Phonics book?”I learned about the type of homeschooling mom I want to be. I learned what works for my children and my family. Books and articles reassured me that learning through play was okay. I learned that short (very short) reading lessons would probably work better for Ben. I realized that pushing him too hard would backfire. (I actually knew that from the beginning, but it sure is hard to step back and regain perspective sometimes!) The first year was rough, but we all survived.
We have begun our second year and we are taking it one day at a time.
In the end, I want my children to love learning. I want life and learning to go hand in hand. That’s the ultimate goal!
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”