4 Things I've Learned on Our Homeschooling Journey

Change is inevitable. Especially for homeschooling families. As you learn and grow with your children you slowly find what works and doesn't work for you and your kids. It's a growing & learning process for the whole family. Looking back at our own homeschooling journey, I can see how we've slowly grown and changed through the years.

There are four things that I've learned on this homeschooling journey. It's okay to relax, try to simplify, find time for rest, and educate yourself. Take a look at how we've changed on this homeschooling journey.

Beginning the Homeschooling Journey

Like many new homeschooling moms, I was so excited to jump right in... with a 3-year-old daughter. I created elaborate plans {and even mapped out her whole schooling journey through high school...}. When she started sounding out her letters I bought a phonics primer and all the extras because I was going to teach that kid to read. I thought she was brilliant and gifted because she was sounding out her letters at 3 years old. But actually, she was just an average kid. That didn't stop me from diving in. We did preschool stuff and kindergarten stuff, and once she turned six we "officially" started first grade {in January!}.

What I've learned on this journey

I know my story is similar to many other homeschooling moms. We are so excited to jump right in and try all those fun looking programs and teach our kids. Now that I'm a few years into this homeschooling journey, I still get excited about a shiny, new program but I'm learning to temper that with a bit of caution. Here's a small glimpse at how we've changed through the years.

It's okay to relax.

In my excitement for homeschooling, I pushed my daughter too much. This was really evident in our phonics lessons when she was small. Looking back, I can see those times where I was trying to push through the lesson and getting frustrated with the slow progress, were really times that my daughter's brain was making new connections. She just needed to pause and absorb what she had learned before she could move on, prepared to progress on to new information.

Through the years I've seen this same thing play out in reading, math, and other skill areas. It's absolutely normal to have these 'fits and starts' where kids are moving right along and then seemingly 'hit a wall' in their learning. They really didn't hit a wall. Their brain or body just needs to catch up and absorb all this new stuff. It's normal.

How we've changed? Now, I have no problem with taking a break. TJ is having issues with fractions this year so we've slowed down. We're backing up and reviewing a little bit. We've had to slow down in Latin too. It's okay. We are making steady progress, even if it's slower than the "perfect" schedule I had planned.

Simplify.

While I was very excited to jump into homeschooling, I was also nervous about those subjects I wasn't confident in {mainly math}. So I overcompensated. We used 2 programs plus a drill program every day. Overkill? Yes.

I did the same with history. I was so excited about all those fun history projects and great books. I spent hours coordinating huge lists of books {not that we had the time to read even half of them}, trying to match up topics and create that "perfect" program. Yeah, that didn't work out so well.

And all those fun projects? We did a lot of projects for the ancients in our first year. And we did quite a few for the middle ages and the renaissance. After that, we did maybe two projects a year.

How we've changed? I don't try to weave 3 programs together to make one "perfect" program. I read aloud, assign some writing, give TJ a book basket so she can choose her own books. She does some notebooking and keeps a timeline. Those projects? We have 3 planned for the year.

Guard against stress & burnout.

Burnout is one of those problems that I honestly didn't think I would ever deal with. I only have one kid. It wasn't like I had a houseful of toddlers and little ones running around. Just one.

Let me tell you, it doesn't matter how many kids you have - you are still prone to burnout - especially if you are trying to push your kids or you're just trying to do too much or you are spending all your time planning.

All those history projects - we burnt out on them. All that math - it was just too much.

How we've changed? I take breaks intentionally. I have a few extra days that we can use when we just need a breather. I don't try to use too many programs. We don't do a new project every week. I don't schedule every minute of the day. Sometimes a school day might be a math lesson and some reading. That's okay.

Take time for self-education.

When we were new to this homeschooling journey I spent so much time researching different programs, spending time on homeschooling message boards, tweaking that 12-year plan {which has definitely changed through the years!}.

What I should have been doing instead? Reading and focusing on all those subjects that intimidated me.

Instead of spending so much time researching all those programs, I should have been reading and studying and preparing myself.

How we've changed? I don't spend as much time on those homeschooling message boards anymore. I don't pore over curriculum catalogs like I used to {but I still read them occasionally!}. I spend my time reading books and working on Latin {and soon we'll be adding Greek!}.

How has your homeschooling journey changed?

Looking back at our own homeschooling journey, I see quite a few mistakes but, in the grand scheme of things, I'm so amazed at this gift of educating my own child and the close family relationships that homeschooling has brought to our lives. And, like many things, as we learn and grow, we change, our goals change, and our homeschool faces new changes too.

Growth and change is a natural process for homeschooling families. Interested in reading more about those changes? The bloggers of the iHomeschool Network share their thoughts.

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.