If you had the opportunity to homeschool again, what would you do differently if anything at all? I can tell you if I could do it all over again. Here are 7 things I would do differently and 3 I would do exactly the same.
As we start our 12th-year homeschooling I find myself reminiscing and thinking about our home education journey.
It has not always been the easier, cheaper, or socially acceptable path. However, when I look back I would not take a different journey, but I would do a few things differently.
If someone was to give me a time machine and tell me I could go back and do it over again, I would, in a blink, I would make a few small changes
7 ways I would homeschool differently
- Wouldn’t spend a fortune on curriculum. The first year I spent almost $1000 on the curriculum for one kindergartener, I look back and think that was crazy. I spend a fraction of that now homeschooling 5 currently. I was so worried I would “screw something up” so I overspent and overstressed. If I was to start over I would try the approach of calming down and trying less is more.
- Would realize some people will never “approve” of my decision to homeschool: So don’t waste any energy trying to prove anything to them. I had/have people in my life (mostly relatives) that never did or ever will agree with homeschooling. I thought to myself “If I can prove to them that my child is on target or even ahead they will finally approve and quit with the rude comments”. The truth is some people will never agree with you or me. They are oil and I am water, we will never mix, and I can never under any circumstance “win their approval”. Doing what is right for my family doesn’t and never did need the approval of anyone else.
- Realize all kids are different so if mine isn’t reading as well as someone else at the same age that’s fine: Every kid wasn’t all walking great at the exact same time, fully potty trained at the exact same time, or learning to speak full sentences at the exact same time. So why would they read exactly the same at the same time? When my third child proved to be dyslexic, I stressed because he was not reading when he should have been. If I had to do that all over again I would slow down and move forward at the pace that was right for him.
- Do more life skills training early on: I am a big fan of life skills and even Vintage Skills training, but I didn’t start that right away, if I had to do it all over again we would start with my favorite vintage hands-on skills before we even started with letters. Kids of all ages including preschoolers and toddlers can help grow a garden, forage for food, tend to animals, and more.
- Understand I can not compare siblings: Just because an older sibling learned one way does not mean a younger one would too. When some standard out there says your child should have 20 words by this mark and chapter books by this age/grade, and that’s great if they do (my older kids did) but then when a younger sibling came along and didn’t have that yet, I stressed way too much. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t compare my kids to my experience with their older siblings or any other standard.
- Continuously assess and adapt: Many times I took an approach because of a recommendation from a friend or fellow homeschooler (bad curriculum choices included). If I had to do it all over again I would regularly evaluate my homeschooling approach and make adjustments as necessary. Each child is unique, so being open to trying new methods, curricula, and approaches that best suit their individual needs and learning styles, even if that is not what other moms are doing.
- Create a more flexible schedule: While I agree structure is essential, maintaining flexibility in your schedule can be beneficial, especially in a homeschool. Here we are schooling around life not living around school. If I had to do it all again I would make sure I had enough flexibility to allow for breaks, field trips, and spontaneous learning experiences. To really enjoy and embrace the opportunity to adapt and tailor my child’s education to their interests and learning style.
3 things I would do again in homeschooling
As much as I look back and I would make some different choices if I could go back and do it again, I also have a few things I am forever grateful I did, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
- I would feel the fear and do it anyways: We had many naysayers in our lives back in those early days. The number one slot was my parents, they 1000% didn’t agree or think I was capable of well anything much less home-educating my kids. They spoke a lot of fear and doubt into me. Turns out that was just their limiting beliefs, not mine. So if I was to do it all over again, I would feel that fear and step forward in faith anyways.
- Find a way to push through the tough times: Throughout the years I have found different times to be tough, certain times we had financial setbacks, kids who fought wanting to learn, and a lack of support were all struggles I felt. But I found a way through them. If I had it all to do over again I would find a way to carry on.
- Would know that the cause is worthy of the journey: those tough times that do and did happen made me second guess my choices and a voice of doubt and self-defeat started playing in my head. However, at other times, I heard a voice of encouragement pointing to all the great things that had happened. If I had to do it all over again I would remember that the cause is worthy of the journey even the bumpy road parts.
Homeschooling isn’t an easy job, and over 10+ years I have had ups and downs. If I got the chance to go back and homeschool all over again would I? Absolutely, I would love to take what I have learned and make some changes. I would do these few things differently, but without a doubt (especially in the world we live in now) I would homeschool all over again.
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.