It’s hard to believe that six months ago, I was gearing up to start our very first year of homeschool — L.’s third-grade year. Because I’m an over-researching, fact-finding crazy person, I was feeling pretty good about our curriculum. But there was no way for me to know the more abstract stuff — like how this adventure was really going to go, whether it would be a success or a failure, whether L. and I would still like each other in a few weeks or months.
But now, almost six months after starting our homeschool experience, I feel like I can finally take a step back and evaluate more of the “overall” stuff. And because you stopped by my blog today, you get to read my evaluation. Since I’m a natural list maker, we’ll just go with that structure to keep things more simple, ‘kay?
Without further ado, some of my thoughts on homeschooling, six months in:
1. This was the right decision for our family for this year. It’s so hard to know at the beginning if you’re doing the right thing. Of course, we made the decision for a number of reasons, so we were cautiously hopeful that things would go well, but you can’t really know. You don’t know how your kid will react to the change from school to homeschool. You don’t how you will react to the complete change of focus and schedule. And you don’t really know how the two (or more) of you will work together. In our case, I can say that we have no regrets at all about homeschooling this year. It has been, overall, an immensely positive experience.
2. We’re still taking it year-by-year. Despite the fact that this is turning out to be a wonderful year, I don’t think we’re at the point where we can say, “Okay, yes, we’re homeschooling for the rest of our school years” or “We’ll definitely homeschool until high school.” Right now, we’re talking about next year, praying about it, leaning toward homeschool, but trying to make sure it’s as good a decision for next year as it has been for this year.
3. I can do this… I was one of those moms who said, “I could never homeschool.” Confession: I’m kind of lazy, not always organized, and, as a major introvert, I need inordinate amounts of alone-time. So I thought homeschooling was an impossible thing for me. Turns out, it’s not. Halfway through and I can look back and see that…yes, we’re making it. We’ve completed a couple subjects already, are on track in the others, and we get through lots of material every day, usually finshing by noon. AND, I’m (mostly) keeping up with the paperwork side of things.
4. …but not always very well. I have my bad days. There are days when I am personally “done” by 10:30 a.m. There are days when I want to sleep until noon instead of homeschool until noon. There are days when I’m grouchy. There are days when I just want to go to Panera alone for three hours. Thankfully, those days don’t happen too, too often, but they still happen.
5. I treasure this time with L. No matter how many years we end up homeschooling, I know we will always look back at this season with gratefulness. It’s amazing to spend the days together, to watch him learn, to see complicated things click for him, to hear his thoughts on all we’re talking about. Even after especially tiring days, I’m overwhelmed with the thought that I love having this time together. And so far, he agrees. 🙂
6. You still won’t hear me telling other people that they “should” homeschool. More than ever, I’m convinced that homeschooling is a deeply personal decision. I don’t feel like “everyone should homeschool.” Yes, I see amazing benefits to our situation. But I also know that I couldn’t/wouldn’t be doing this a) without God’s daliy grace, and b) if I wasn’t convinced that it was best for us at this time.
7. I don’t think I’ll ever be a morning person. We start our homeschool day at 8:00 a.m. Most days, I wish I was still in bed. Honestly, I know it’s best to start then. L. is a morning person, he’s at his best during those morning hours, and yes, it is pretty great to be done by lunch-time. But I won’t lie. I struggle my way through the first 45 minutes or so, sipping my coffee and trying to clear the cobwebs. I just have to remind myself to not attempt to teach things like long division before I’ve had caffeine.
Many mornings, L. prays for our day before we get started. And one thing he always says is, “Please help today to be a good homeschool day…like it always is.” And I think he means it. He’s having a great year, he starts every day with a smile on his face, and really — that means the most to me.