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Five Things Homeschooling Has Taught Me

Even though I've homeschooled on and off for years, I don't think I'm a natural homeschooler. The stereotype of a homeschool mom is a woman in a long flowing skirt with wildflowers in her hair in a field surrounded by five children.

She's enthusiastic and has prepared a lesson on the local butterflies. She has all kinds of models and charts prepared. She's prepared a quinoa-based picnic lunch and carries around homemade broth in a mason jar. That's not me.

I live in loungewear. Not the Kardashian earth toned, fitted type, the kind that doesn't match and is for working out except I'm not going to the gym. I consider jeans "dressing up" because they're uncomfortable. I love being home, but I like being home by myself to think, write, work, clean, and daydream.

I've homeschooled on and off from when my oldest was in kindergarten. We'd just moved from California to French Canada away from our family and friends to a place where she didn't speak the language. She needed time to get her bearings and make this place feel like home again.

Homeschooling has always been that: a response to what a child needed at the time rather than an overall educational philosophy. I truly love the idea of school: a place where children can all be together, you drop them off and go about your life while they learn, play, have fun, and then you pick them up. I love that. I'm not one of those people who think everyone should homeschool and it's automatically superior. Everyone has to do what's right for their family above all else.

But homeschooling just kept popping up over and over again with my kids, especially my two youngest, as something they needed at various times due to issues in school (bullying once...and it was a teacher doing the bullying), then the pandemic, then educational needs...

I fought it. I like school and didn't see myself as a homeschooling mom. So instead, I was always looking for a school that could do what I knew in the back of my mind my kids needed me to do and it felt like swimming upstream, fighting the current.

This year, I gave him and am glad I did, but it's been a journey.

I want to share five things I've learned as a homeschooling mom. Maybe they'll help you in some way.

1.. The education part is easy. Homeschooling is more about helping a child in ways you don't expect. A veteran homeschool mom once told me that homeschooling is about character building more than anything and she was 100% right. When you're working alongside your child, you get to see the areas they're strong in mentally and emotionally, but also the ones they need work in. It's like parenting on steroids and can feel intense sometimes, but seeing your child grow as a person is amazing. You'll also have to face yourself in new ways.

2.. I don't have to fit a stereotype. I really thought I had to become a different person to homeschool. I do have to rise to the occasion, but I can still be yourself. And I found out most homeschool moms aren't superwoman or earth mothers, they're all different and simply doing what they believe is right for their families. I will say there is a positive correlation between essential oil usage and homeschooling but at this point who doesn't love essential oils on some level. That lavender tho.

3.. Every child learns in such a different way, it's unfair of us to try to teach them all using the same methods. I say this to comfort moms with kids in school who are being told their child is doing poorly. There's no such thing as a "dumb" child. One of my kids was failing math in school, even with tutors, because she didn't understand the way it was being taught. 95% of the other kids did. She was the 5%. A lot of kids fall through the cracks because there isn't enough time in school to teach them the way they need so they get labled a certain way. I'm not a math teacher, but I understand her and she's getting it. Don't give up on your child.

Find out how they learn. Once you know how they learn, you can share it with your child so when they go into general situations, they know how they best absorb into and can do what they need to do (bring a tape recorder, read the material before class, find supplementary info, etc.). A lot of them is teaching them how to learn, how they best take in info.


4.. Keep it simple. There are so many curriculums (curricula?) out there. So, so many. It can feel overwhelming to choose one. Even after picking one, I still eyed others like that meme with the guy walking next to one girl and whipping his head around to look at another. At the end of the day, you just need to cover your child's level. Don't jump around too much. It can lead to learning gaps and confusion. Buy secondhand so you can explore parts of a curriculum without investing in all of it. It all comes together in the end. Try not to stress.

5.. You need a community. I am not a social person at all. If i had it my way, I'd stay at home 100% of the time and Door Dash whatever I needed. I'm not afraid of the outside, I just love the comfort of home. But when you're homeschooling, you need people and so do your kids (especially if you have an extrovert). Sign your extroverted kids up for activities. Take them and hide in the bushes (just kidding...kind of).

Join a group or homeschool co-op and make some friends. It's such a nice thing to be able to talk to other moms who are doing what I'm doing, hearing stories, sharing encouragement, learning you're not the only one on the brink after an hour of algebra...yeah it means everything. Get some people.

Homeschooling seems so foreign when you look at it from the outside, but when it's what you're meant to do, it feels natural- as if you're going with a rhythm rather than against it.

The biggest battle has always been in my mind. "Can I do this?" "Will my kids be ok?" "Will I ever have my days back?" <--- that one.

But nothing given to children is ever wasted and if motherhood has taught me one thing, it's that the stages fly by.

I saw an Instagram reel once talking about the verse that says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and how applying to daily life- finishing marathons or graduating college- is wrong because Paul was talking about surviving much harder things than the average person faces: jail and the threat of death.

Well I disagree. Yes, Paul was going through a lot, but he was talking about how how God sustains him in all things. How he can be in any situation and have peace because of God.

So I think Philippians 4:13 applies to my life as a homeschooling mom because I do pray a lot in my loungewear, drinking my tea, and eating tortilla chips at 10am as we laugh through a lesson on the Great Lakes. I can do all these things not because I'm super strong, but because God gives me strength and peace. And who is to say algebra isn't as hard as Roman persecution? Joking.

Big hugs to you whatever educational or motherhood journey you're on right now. Keep going.

♥️ Bunmi


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