It’s been over two decades since I began homeschooling. That might put me in the ranks of a seasoned expert, but in all honesty, I’m simply experienced. But maybe that’s all I’ve needed to enjoy a successful homeschooling experience.
I took each day as it came, sought wisdom, and did the best I knew how.
Admittedly, the best I knew how didn’t always look like success. I was a very impatient kindergarten mom but loved teaching concepts through food and cooking. I did well with teaching and explaining stories and concepts but dreaded science, and the kids knew it. Looking back, though, I see that successful homeschooling wasn’t really about doing things perfectly. Instead, it was about recognizing my weaknesses and learning from my mistakes, as well as leaning into my strengths and growing in my successes.
Now my children are all grown and are launching out on their own. So, what am I going to share with them as they begin having their own families?
I’m a foodie, so a lot of my thoughts come back to the kitchen experience. With cooking, you need to know what ingredient are necessary before you can create a successful meal. So, as I pondered the question of what wisdom to pass on to my adult children, I began wondering what ingredients you need for successful homeschooling. Here’s what I’ve experienced.
Successful Homeschooling Ingredient #1: Realistic Expectations
I have to be careful when I begin to plan a school year. It’s easy to over plan or expect too much from myself or my children. I’m quick to get caught up in every new elective, subject, or curriculum, or even to over plan the areas where I want to improve as a teacher (like those pesky science experiments!). Instead, I need to focus on the basics, plan realistically, and allow time to just be. I’d rather my children have beautiful memories of homeschooling than a constant image of mom being burnt out!
Successful Homeschooling Ingredient #2: Consistency
We live in a day of distractions. Between text message alerts, phone calls, enrichment activity opportunities, play dates, and more, it’s hard to stay consistent with homeschooling. However, understanding the gravity of my responsibility for the educational success of little one forces me to set a school day plan and keep to it.
Saying no to outside distractions and staying focused on getting a good day’s work in pays off in the long run. A word to the wise: when it comes to enjoying successful homeschooling, I find it much harder to play catch up than to maintain consistency.
Fortunately, routines and rhythms are the trick to making this happen. When I set up routines, build my schedule around them, then use them to create a solid rhythm of life, homeschooling can nestle much more easily into that rhythm. This naturally inclines us all toward greater consistency and, as a result, more successful homeschooling.
Successful Homeschooling Ingredient #3: Long-Term Vision
Successful homeschooling goes beyond the details of what is taught when educating your little one. Success is the relationship you have with your children at the end of the journey. Having a long term vision for your homeschooling helps with the day to day frustration or exasperation one might experience occasionally. It also helps in making directional decisions for how time is spent.
Very early in our homeschooling journey, I learned the value of sitting on the couch and enjoying read-aloud time. Comprehension was being learned, and perhaps some grammar too. But more than that, a relationship was forming that was priceless.
Whether I’m coming to the end of a challenging week, processing an evaluation, or simply needing a little pick-me-up, I find that it’s easier to visualize success and find encouragement if I keep these three pointers in the forefront of my mind. May they help you, too, as you seek to enjoy a successful homeschooling journey.