Preview: This is the letter I wish I had received when we started our homeschool journey. I hope the advice gives you encouragement on your journey.
When we first began homeschooling, there was a lot I didn’t know. I probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
I’ve learned a lot since we began homeschooling in 2007. Here’s a letter I wish I had received when we started our homeschool journey. I hope it gives you encouragement on your journey.
Dear Younger Me,
You’re about to embark on an incredible journey. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding. Your task will be easier, and you will be more confident in your new role if you will make time to write out your family mission statement and your homeschool mission statement. These two documents will become your decision-making framework and will provide guidance and support throughout your entire journey.
You will probably get caught up in lesson planning, housework, and parenting. It will be easy to forget that you already defined what a successful homeschool looks like to you in your mission statement. You will probably be tempted to compare your homeschool to your friend’s homeschool. When you feel the jealous monster creep in or seeds of doubt begin to germinate, remember why you are homeschooling and what you consider important.
Remember the goals you identified in your mission statement. You wanted to provide a rigorous and varied education for your children, but you did not want to focus solely on academics. You also wanted to develop your children’s character and help them become lifelong learners.
Don’t forget that you wanted to create a customized education for your children. You wanted to allow your gifted learner and your struggling learner to learn at their own pace so they can thrive. You wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to travel and pursue individual interests.
You will have days you feel inadequate. You’ll be tired, and you’ll want to throw in the towel and give up. You’ll see the yellow school bus drive by and wonder if your kids would be better off on that bus than at your kitchen table.
It’s okay to have a piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee, and forget the books for the day. Snuggle up on the couch and read a book with your children. Remember the advice from Gretchen Rubin:
The days are long, but the years are short.Gretchen Rubin
Some days will feel like they will never end, and you’ll never get the kids tucked into bed. But when you look back on the year, you will wonder how it flew by so fast and how your children grew up right up without you realizing it.
Make time to care for yourself. I know it seems like there are not enough hours in the day, but what flight attendants tell you is true. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of those who depend on you. Try to get regular exercise, prioritize your sleep, and eat healthily. You may need to get help from your spouse, grandparents, and friends.
And don’t forget that your children can help out too! They can do more than you think they can. In the beginning, it may feel like you are spending twice as long to complete household tasks, but they will learn and improve. Before long, they will be able to help out and reduce your burden.
Homeschooling isn’t all hard, though. There are many rewards too. You will be the one to watch the lightbulbs go off when your child understands a concept. Your family will develop deep relationships because of how much time you spend together and your shared experiences. And you’ll learn a lot too! You probably don’t even realize how much you forgot or didn’t even learn when you were in school.
Before you realize it, you’ll be talking about college with your children and discussing what they want to do when they graduate. You’ll find yourself reminiscing with them about the days they spent playing pretend and making a mess of the living room.
You will probably look back and wish you could change some of what you did. You will make mistakes, but it will be okay. Remember, your goal is not to teach your children everything they need to know. Your goal is to help them learn how to learn to become lifelong learners who can learn whatever they need to know whenever they need to know it.
You got this! You are your children’s best teacher.
With much love,
Your Older Self