I now firmly believe that the first year homeschooling is a battle learning ground for everyone involved! Everyone is learning new things and getting accustomed to the new student and teacher roles. It was definitely a transition for my family.
I am not going to lie, homeschooling is hard work. The past year challenged me to increase my own knowledge, open up to new learning avenues, and really try to see and understand my kids’ perspectives.
I truly feel that homeschooling has made me a better mom and a better woman.
As intimidated and scared as I was the summer before we started homeschooling, we all survived, grew a little, and became a closer family. No, I don’t have it all figured out. But that is the beauty of homeschooling, continuous learning, for me and the kids.
As we go into our second year, I was thinking about all the lessons that I have learned so far, and there are a lot of them, so I wanted to share them with you. Maybe you are considering homeschooling, or you are in your first year wondering if you are going to make it, or you just want a little glimpse into a first time homeschooling family’s life.
Whatever it may be, here are the 21 things I will be taking with me into our second year of homeschooling. 🍎
In no particular order….
21 Things I Learned Our First Year Homeschooling
1. I have more patience than I thought.
As a former working parent that struggled with staying calm during weeknight homework, I was REALLY concerned about my patience level. But I figured out quick that the homework battle and homeschooling are two VERY different things.
Homework is another annoying task that has to get done in the evening. Homeschool is an opportunity to teach your child something they want to learn or something you find interesting and important, at your own pace and schedule.
2. The public library is an invaluable resource that should not be overlooked.
I found that utilizing our local library for books and fun kid’s activities saved us hundreds. The best thing about the library is that it is FREE! 📚📀🎨
3. There is a YouTube video on pretty much everything.
Looking for a video that talks all about that rare bug you discussed in science? Or do you simply need to know how to make slime? Guess what, there is a YouTube video for that!
4. It is okay to say “No, I am sorry but we are busy,” if something does not fit into our family’s schedule.
I have finally been able to let go of the guilt, or most of it, and actually stop saying yes to every event that I am asked to. My family is my #1 priority and therefore I prioritize my time to reflect that. I guess that having to say no when we had school work to do, carried over into everyday life.
5. Kids really do like to learn when you are not trying to shove facts down their throat.
Shocking right? I read about this strange thing, you know, kids actually wanting to learn. But homeschooling has allowed me to see it with my own eyes!
6. Even though I am not a certified teacher, I can teach my child to read.
Nope, no teaching degree here.
I was terrified that I would not be able to teach my son to read. But guess what? I can and I am. No, he is not reading great novels yet, but we still have plenty of time for that, he is only 5.
7. You can spend as much or as little as you want on your homeschool curriculum and resources.
Thinking of teaching your kids how to trim the bushes and you don’t know how? Chances are there is a curriculum out there for that. More than one even, one free one and one that is $500. 😆
Seriously though, there is so much out there. Navigating the curriculum waters can be a little overwhelming. Keeping your goals and your kids in the front of your mind are so important in the curriculum search.
8. My kids are doing much more socializing while homeschooling than they did in traditional school.
I was a working mom. My kids’ daily interactions mainly consisted of classmates and after-school care mates. Evenings were for dinner, homework, bath, and bedtime. Weekends were for recovering from the week and trying to squeeze in family time.
Now my kids get to have real play dates, go to community events, participate in extracurricular activities, and visit with anyone we come in contact with while running errands. They socialize with people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors!
9. I can’t do it all and that is okay with me…..most of the time.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any superpowers that allow me to do it all: mom, wife, chef, maid, dog walker, fitness fanatic.
Homeschooling is just like having a day job. So the idea that I could homeschool, blog, make videos, keep the house spic and span and the laundry done, or a have three-course meal on the table every night, had to simply be thrown out the window. Like I say in my Homeschool Beginner Bootcamp, be realistic, not idealistic.
Or do YOU have superpowers? PLEASE, PLEASE tell me how you got them if you do!
10. No other mom really has it all figured out either. We are all doing our best and helping each other out as much as possible.
Since I spent the majority of my adult life secluded in my own little working woman world, I had no idea that no one really has it all figured out. Some have more experience with certain things than others, but we are all just a work in progress.
We can all learn from one another’s experiences and encourage each other to be the best that we can every day. I get to experience this more now in my stay at home, homeschool phase of life.
11. It’s awesome to be able to visit attractions during slow times and the offseasons.
Not being surrounded by crowds and saving money is super nice!
The downside is that it has totally made me a little snobby about sharing our activities with crowds. The very idea of having to share our local trampoline park with other school kids! Oh, the horror! 😮
12. So much learning can happen in only a few hours per day.
With only two kids, two different ages, actual “book work” school work takes less than four hours four days per week. Leaving the rest of the day for free learning, playing, and hands-on activities.
I honestly had no idea we could cover so much information in such a small amount of time. And they actually learn it, not just regurgitate it to pass a test.
13. Shockingly, family, friends, and even strangers have had a more positive response to our homeschooling “coming out” than I expected.
It has been one year and four months since we officially made the homeschool decision. In that time, I have only experienced one naysayer.
Based on what I have heard or read from other homeschool moms, I think I am fortunate in this area. But I also think that it truly is a sign that homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, and all walks of life are seeing the value of educating their kids at home.
14. I need more time socializing with someone other than my kids and hubby than I thought.
I’ve read about so many homeschool moms trying to find a polite response to people who question their children’s socialization. But has anyone asked you if you were getting enough socialization?
I was so concerned with finding the kids friends to play with and activities to do, that I totally forgot about me! As a borderline introvert/extrovert (ambivert), socializing didn’t seem like a priority. But I was wrong. When other fantastic homeschool moms walked into my life, it was a true blessing. I needed them. The time we have spent over coffee or tea chatting about mom life, kids, and homeschooling has kept me going when I wasn’t sure I could.
15. A teaching or learning opportunity exists in pretty much anything.
So your kid wants to buy something at the dollar store? Well, how many quarters, pennies, dimes, or nickels does it take to make a dollar? And then is it really going to cost just $1, or do you have to add on that annoying thing called sales tax?
Turn that $1 request into a money lesson, a sales tax lesson, a shopping lesson, or even a local government lesson (as it relates to sales tax.) So many opportunities for learning that I never even considered before we homeschooled.
16. It is so much easier to get to know your kids, understand their perspective, how they learn, and what upsets them when you become their teacher.
Yeah, Laura… isn’t it obvious that my child’s character traits will become more apparent? Well yeah, but I guess I never really thought about it in the context of creating an entire education curriculum around one unique personality.
I can now shape their education to play on their strengths and build their weaknesses.
17. My kids now have time to not only see me as a mom, but also a person with faults and a host of responsibilities.
We are people too and we work hard. It is pretty obvious that we get to know our kids better, but did you realize your kids will get to know you better? They get to see up close what being an adult and a parent is really like. I am trying to look at our closeness as a positive! 😆
Get this….. A few months after we started homeschooling, we hosted my son’s birthday party at our home. We had hosted their parties at home before, but they had never taken part in the preparations, cleaning house, shopping, etc., before. So they had no idea the amount of work it entailed. I will never forget how my son said, “I never want to have my party at home again. That was too much work!”
18. Most people are more than willing to talk with the kids about their jobs or how things work around their place of business.
Honestly, I never thought to ask the guys at our local water store to give us a look into the back where the filtering happens, much less explain it. But one day one of the employees offered to give us homeschoolers a tour!
Scenarios like this occur periodically when we are out during the normal school hours. It is pretty cool how kind people are and how much the kids have learned by taking time to stop and have a conversation.
19. Having school outside is unbelievably fun.
When I was in school, I tended to stare out the window wishing I was enjoying the sunshine. As an adult at work, on the rare occasion that I had a window, I would long to be outside rather than in.
Now, not only do I get to call school outside when I feel like it, but the kids get to experience outdoors as a part of their school day. I love it!!
20. Coffee is my new best friend. ☕
When I worked, hot tea was what jump started my day. Now I rely heavily on coffee!! Does drinking three cups a day make me an addict? (I have not mentioned the size of these cups either.)
You are welcome to join me for coffee anytime!!
21. Margaritas are the perfect end to a long school week. 🍸
Most every Friday night around our house is a movie night. Cheers to movie night and another week of school in the books!
You Can Do It Too!
Think homeschooling sounds too hard for you? I don’t think it is. You can do this and thrive just like we have!
I am excited to learn even more during our second homeschool year. One of my goals is to have more fun!
If you take away one thing from reading this: Nobody has it all figured out! Stop and have fun, keep moving forward, and smell the flowers along the way!!!
If you enjoyed this post you may also find the following helpful:
- Should I Homeschool? Our Homeschool Decision Story
- Homeschool Expenses: A Look Inside Our First Year
- How To Start Homeschooling Checklist
- Free 10-Day Homeschool Beginner Bootcamp
- How I Created Our Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
- New to Homeschool: Making Sense of Homeschooling Styles
Also don’t forget to jump over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel for videos to help you understand more about what homeschooling really is, how it looks, and how to get started yourself!
Happy homeschooling!!! 😃