What the First Year of Homeschooling Taught Me
When we began learning at home, I had no idea what to expect. I quickly noticed the plans and decision-making would solely be in my hands, but that was only the first of my realizations I would face.
While starting homeschool came with a world of new territory to explore and navigate, there were many lessons to endure along the way as the parent and leader of the operation!
1. Homeschool is more than learning at home
At the beginning of this new journey, I was trying make our homeschooling experience mirror the traditional classroom. I was familiar and comfortable with that, having been in that environment and situation before. This couldn't have been further from the wrong mindset to have. I was driving myself crazy! Imagine trying to fit a square homeschooling block into a round public school hole. Only then did I realize that was what had been burned into my expectations. Not only did this mean that I needed to change the focus to fit my son's and family's specific needs, but it meant that I had to embrace my confidence to navigate new waters for our new reality. Along with these changes, came a transformed outlook on the opportunities that learning at home provides. We are learning together, through tailored activities for my little and lessons that I encounter as the leader of our daily routines.
2. Your home learning experience may not look anything like mine- and vice versa
Often we are trying to frantically find a template, outline, or example to base our own path on. What if those paths aren't intended for us? It's difficult not to wonder if you're doing your learners justice, but to even consider those ideas show you are far more invested in their wellbeing and success than you may be giving yourself credit for! It took a few months for me to realize that not all homeschooling scenarios have common threads. My processes and expectations may be completely opposite of yours, but that doesn't make either of us less committed or dedicated to teaching our babies. Every experience we come up against offers various offers of ways to handle it or how to feel about it, but the combinations make life interesting! Don't compare your 24 hours to anyone else's. We're all doing our best to make the most of it!
3. The freedoms of homeschooling effect the entire family
I definitely didn't see this coming. Routine? Schedule? Haven't seen either of those in a few months, but I'm not mad about it! Back in January, we switched a few things up and ditched the strict schedule after the holiday break. That was by far the BEST DECISION EVER. The flexibility allowed for magic to happen in our learning! Authentic excitement and wonder sparked in my son, and I couldn't have asked for anything more. While homeschooling became more natural, energy in our house shifted to a lighter and more relaxed environment. I haven't felt this kind of calm, welcoming light in a long time, but we're excited to continue fueling it with a grateful heart.
4. Learning is not "one size fits all"
As we can't expect to copy and paste another family's homeschooling ways, we should similarly make room for our children to pave their own learning trail. No one approach works for every lesson let alone every learner. By allowing our littles to blossom at their own pace, we set them up to flourish in ways that may not have been available to them in other school settings. Genuine patience and love can drastically effect one's confidence and hunger for knowledge. This happens when we welcome our children to grow uniquely and authentically.
5. Your plan is the best plan for your family
Lastly, I have learned to trust myself. The routines you create, activities you plan, and outings you take are perfect for your family because you chose them.
While tidbits of what works for others may enhance your homeschooling experience, what makes it remarkable will be the people who are part of it.