If you’re getting ready to dive into homeschooling life, you may be feeling a bit nervous. Or excited.
It’s okay! You’re normal, I promise. We’ve all felt nervous and excited and overwhelmed at the beginning of the homeschool journey. To tell you the truth, I feel that way every year - and we’ve been homeschooling for quite a few years now.
Perhaps you know why you want to homeschool but you just need to know exactly WHAT you’re getting yourself into. Because believe me, homeschooling is hard work. It takes time and real effort and a definite commitment to educate your children. You need to be passionate about your decision to homeschool.
Before you dive into homeschooling, there are some things that you need to know.
It isn’t all sunshine and roses. There will be bad days (and weeks). Times when you don’t feel like working. Days when your kids just can’t seem to settle down and get to work. Months where you feel overwhelmed.
But there is a light in the darkness (I promise!). There are days where your kids just whiz through their work. Cherished moments when you’re reading aloud and realize that there isn’t anything you’d rather be doing than spending your days with these precious gifts you’ve been given.
If you’re new to this journey, I can positively tell you that it is worth all those difficult days. But I want you to be prepared - there are some hard truths you need to understand.
Homeschooling is hard work.
It really is.
Homeschooling takes time and effort. If you’re going to take on this task, you need to look at it as your job. Really.
Homeschooling is work and you need to put in the effort to make it successful.
It’s not a part-time hobby that you can do when you feel like it.
You need to make a commitment to yourself and your children that you are dedicating yourself to this task.
Related: How to Start Homeschooling
Your home will be messy.
Between the kids being home all day and the piles of homeschool books, whiteboards, school supplies, art supplies, educational games… (the list really does just keep getting longer) and the lack of time for dedicated cleaning things will be messy.
It’s just a fact of homeschool life. After all, your kids are home with you all day - by the time you get one mess sorted, they’ve created three more.
Of course, there are some ways to manage the mess. You’ll find a rhythm that works to at least keep the chaos to a minimum.
But during the homeschooling season of life, wall maps and white boards will probably be the nicest decorations in your dining room.
Related: Homeschooling & Housekeeping
Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean life suddenly stops. There will be illness, family emergencies, or unexpected travel.
The beauty of homeschooling is that instead of missing school days, you can adjust your schedule accordingly.
Your kids will annoy you.
One homeschool blogger I know uses the phrase ‘children are like sandpaper’. The constant time spent in each other’s company will make everyone’s worst traits float to the surface.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Homeschooling gives you the rare opportunity to work on character flaws (in yourself as well as your kids).
Kids will experience learning plateaus.
It’s absolutely natural for kids to make a few ‘fits-and-starts’ when it comes to learning. When they are learning to read, they may struggle sounding out those new words but then all of a sudden just take off. Or they may fly through simple addition but get bogged down when they get to subtraction.
This often means we have to throw our carefully detailed lesson plans and color-coded schedules out the window and instead, focus on where our children really are. Sadly, kids don’t learn according to our carefully color-coded plans.
Related: Mastering Your Teacher's Manual
Your family may have issues with your educational choices.
Not everyone in the extended family will be on board with your decision to homeschool. You aren’t the only one to experience this. My advice? Whenever it comes up, change the subject (or ‘pass the bean dip’) and move on. It’s not your responsibility to change their views about homeschooling. If you’re lucky, they will eventually see the light (then again, they may not).
Don’t take it personally. Make the best decision for your family and ignore the criticism from well-meaning family.
Lest you think that these homeschool realities are just a long list of reasons NOT to homeschool, I think it’s important that you know what it’s like. But there are still plenty of great reasons to choose homeschooling.
Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to build close family relationships, provide a personalized education for each child, and create a lifelong love of learning.
There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschool families.
Related: Why homeschool?
Now it’s your turn...
We each have our reasons for homeschooling, but it’s important to know the realities of homeschooling before you get started.
Homeschooling is hard work. But the ultimate rewards are worth the effort.
Are you passionate about homeschooling?
Share a comment - tell me about your homeschooling journey.
If you're new to homeschooling and looking for some guidance take a look at this 'How to Homeschool' page with plenty of tips and advice for starting successfully.
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