5 Things This Homeschooler Wants You To Know

5 Things This Homeschooler Wants You To Know | Rochester MN Moms BlogThere are a few stereotypes about homeschooling moms.  The first is that they’re completely socially backward and fearful of any outside influences that the world may have on their kids.  They probably have eight or more children, and are caricaturized as wearing denim jumpers over Bible quizzing shirts.
The other less common stereotype or caricature of homeschooling moms is that they have everything together, and everything they think, say, or do is a blissful full-body learning experience.  Their kids delightfully discuss Plutarch and listen to Poulenc while analyzing classical grecian art.  Their dining room is Pinterest-worthy, and no bickering or discipline ever happens.
I am neither of those moms.  I wear jeans and a hoodie, most days.  We didn’t come to homeschooling out of fear of what the world would do to our kids, but out of confidence that a smaller teacher ratio (1:2 right now) and experiential hands-on learning would be beneficial for our family.  I just scrubbed I-don’t-know-what off of the dining room walls, and I can assure you that having everything together is not a descriptor that anyone would attach to me.
Here are the top five things I would want you to know about homeschooling.

1. Homeschooling is hard work.  But not too hard.

For me, the hardest part of homeschooling is planning (a.k.a knowing what is The Right Thing To Do or the Right Curriculum To Choose.)
I’m an  out-of-the-box/play-it-by-ear person, so sticking to curriculum plans is difficult.  Because of my personality, I make homeschooling a little harder on myself than it ought to be.  Right now, I’m working on planning next year’s book choices and activities, and it is so overwhelming for a type B person.
But the actual teaching?  Easy peasy.  Except for that one time that I needed a mommy time out because 10’s and 1’s place value was not clicking with my kiddo.  Generally speaking, our days run smoothly, and we get done what I plan to do.  Or we veer off on rabbit trails.
Nine days out of ten, teaching is fun and easy.
Homeschool Books
It’s also important to note that for THIS mom, coffee is an absolute necessity.

2. There are days I wish I could just send the kids off on the bus.

Some days, our rhythm is absolutely off.  Some days,  I am the kids are crabby, and conflicts occur.  Those days, I often feel a twinge of jealousy.  We live across the street from one of the public schools, and watching the moms in the drop-off lane kiss their kids’ chubby cheeks and head off to Starbucks unhampered is too much for me.

 But invariably, later on that afternoon, there will be a magnificent breakthrough in character training or in an educational concept, and I remind myself that THIS is the reason that I continue.11079364_659265136959_6182143329921999408_o

3. Homeschooling can be lonely.

Many of my friends send their kids to public or private schools.  Then they go out for mommy dates and talk about dropping kids off at daycare or at the school bus.  I understand there are homeschool co-ops and play groups (and we’ve participated in a couple.)  But the idea of trying to make relationships amidst corralling three to thirty kids is just not appealing.  I’m a one-on-one kind of person.

4. Our kids aren’t model children, nor are we model parents.

See #2.  Seriously.  But there’s another thing that always happens.  Every time I tell people that we homeschool, I get the “I couldn’t do that.  I’m not patient enough!” remark.  I’ll clue you in: I’m not either.  But that’s another excellent reason for me to muddle through it now.  My character will be sharpened just by being around my kids all day, every day.  Practice makes perfect, right?

5.  A lot more counts as “school” than meets the eye.

Taking the kids at 5 a.m. to watch hot air balloons launch?  Homeschool.

Canoeing? Homeschool.

Reading price tags and talking about percentages off while shopping?  Homeschool.

Teaching the kids how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for themselves?  Homeschool.   And pretty glorious, I might add.

Going on a cross-country roadtrip, a farmer’s market expedition, a nature walk, a trip to the home improvement store?  Homeschool.

It’s all about developing an eye for what your kids could learn in a situation.

About 60% of our homeschool is learning from life experiences and interaction with our environments.  The other 40% is mostly comprised of reading aloud together at this point.  We do have some workbooks and papers, but the idea of having our kids at home wasn’t to replicate the 83 billion worksheets that public-schooled kids have.

Ultimately, every family’s educational decision is up to them.  We’ve found homeschooling to be a perfect fit for our family.  There are some beautiful moments that happen when we’re present…in the moment.  Those are the moments that remind me that all of the work, the occasional loneliness, and the planning are worth it.

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With four young kids within five years of each other, Heather's hands and heart are absolutely full. She's passionate about good food, literature, social justice, handmade items, and making her house a welcoming and comforting space for all. She also spends a lot of time nursing her long-term relationship with coffee. Heather and her husband Michael blog about homeschooling, living life with a hearty mix of both abandon and intentionality, their future working with refugees in France, and other sundry topics at Those Kinds of People.