Dear New Homeschool Mom,
If I were really being honest, I would tell you that if you homeschool you’ll have days where you will squash the urge to flee headlong in quite the opposite direction of your children.
So I am being honest, because I care about you, fellow homeschooler. And also because you’re going to figure this out yourself anyway.
There are days when your very own offspring will drive you absofruitly bleedin’ nuts. The weak parts of your character you’d prefer to keep nice and hidden, thank you very much, will come boldly forward like nobody’s business, loud and pushy. I picture you now, new homeschooler, nodding at me like I’m a senile old person that you need to humor.
But I’ve been to the other side and I know of what I speak.
Homeschooling is by turns exhausting, invigorating, exasperating, boring, incredible, plodding, and inspiring. There’s no getting around that.
What you will give up if you homeschool:
Your free time. Because really, you will likely spend years of your life—years, I tell you–obsessing over curricula, co-ops, and extracurricular activities. You will pore over catalogs and websites looking at hitherto unknown items such as “hands-on science” and “math manipulatives.” And just when you think you’ve got that all figured out, you will hit a brand new level of crazy when you reach the high school years with its credits and AP classes and SATs…oh my!
The ability to blame anyone else if your kid is not reading by age 7 or any other culturally accepted benchmark. Because guess what, homeschool mom? Extended family and well-meaning friends will be quick to point the finger at homeschooling if your child is delayed or a bit socially awkward or even naughty. (And no, you don’t get to also do the same in reverse to the conventionally schooled kids. I don’t make the rules).
Your clean house. This may be more of a challenge to some than others. I would consider myself a reasonably clean person, but this will be a shock to the obsessively clean or slightly OCD housekeepers among you. There is a certain level of clutter that seems to coincide with homeschooling, simply due to the fact that everyone is home nearly all the time.
But of course, all is not negative (I thought I might go ahead and weed out those who aren’t really all in before I get to the good parts). If I am going to stick with something for more than two decades, there has to be a positive.
The happy little surprises you’ll get from homeschooling:
You’ll be there when your child reads for the first time. Just when you think you can’t stand one more painful second of a beginning reader sounding out “d…o…g” they will suddenly become fluent readers right before your eyes. And you’ll beam with pleasure when they get those dratted 9’s multiplication tables right, write their first sensible paragraph, and help a younger sibling with a hard math problem. You’ll be there for all of it.
Your character will be refined. Those things about yourself you’d rather keep hidden? The dailyness of family life, raising children, and homeschooling have a way of bringing that stuff right up to the surface so you can deal with it. Have fun with that. But it also brings with it the dailyness of asking for more grace, more appreciation, and more patience. Since I have a tendency to forget my blessings, I am thankful for this constant reminder that I simply cannot do this on my own. I need God’s help every. single. day.
Moments you’ll never forget. Siblings in a hammock, whispering and giggling together. Your sons’ heads peeping out of a shrub as they excitedly describe to you the layout of their new “fort.” The day you set aside the books and walk to the stream to catch guppies in a Mason jar. The pillow fights. Sleepy faces after naps. Field trips. Laughter at an inside joke. The hours of hard study and a light bulb almost visibly going on over your child’s head. Movie Fridays. Library trips. Reading together. Vacations during the off-season. You’re building a family history rich with memories.
Is it difficult and challenging? Sure. Anything worth having is.
Can you do this? YES! You don’t have to figure out each step just yet.
Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
I believe in you, new homeschool mom!
Click here for “Dear New Homeschool Mom, continued…”
I needed to read this tonight. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much!
Love the list.
Will begin my fifth year homeschooling as soon as we finish our fourth year. I needed to read this! I needed to be reminded that grace extends to the homeschooling mama as well!
So glad–thanks for the comment!
Oh god i so needed to hear this tonight, i was ready to go nuts today,,, thank you thank you , im going to keep this post and keep reading it every night!!!! haha
Amen sister! You have written what my heart knows–it’s hard stuff requiring a hearty mama–and it’s totally worth it!
This post so relates to me and the reason I wrote my recent children’s book “When Mommy Grew a 2nd HEAD” I would love to give you (Jennifer) a free e-book coupon if you are interested in reading it. I think most new and old homeschooling moms can relate.
Sorry for the delay–yes, I’d love it! email@example.com. Thanks!
I sent you an e-mail about the free E-book but it didn’t go through.
I’m so sorry..it would help if I gave you the right one! firstname.lastname@example.org
As a mom who is about to homeschool 4 children this year, I thank you for this list. I count it a blessing to be able to be at home with my children every day as I run a business from home. I have already set my schedule, but haven’t thought about everything that you laid out here. These lists will help me prepare for August. I appreciate it, Jen!
Thank you! It IS a challenge to do both! I’ve been working from home for the past couple of years as well. It can be done! 🙂 Best of luck to you.
[…] real and beautiful homeschool article http://jenniferlmcdonald.com/2014/06/23/dear-new-homeschool-mom/ – prayer walk to confession, fresh start before our trip – purple ball on my travels – grace at the […]
AMEN!! Love homeschooling my kids!
Reblogged this on Simply of the Woods and commented:Yep, I remember thinking people who homeschooled where crazy and had lost their mind. Then came the day I was faced with homeschooling. Suddenly it didn’t seem to crazy. This blog is a great reminder of the tough times, but also the VERY joyful times!
Thanks for the reblog!
Loved this! We have been faced with the decision to possible home school this coming school year, and a part of me is completely scared, and another part of me is excited at the opportunity. I always thought it was the “weird” people, but now it may be us, and well I only think we are “so” werid 🙂 Thank you so much for this! We have brought you up many times in our discussion, after meeting you and your amazing children when we were in Hawaii, I am confident we can homeschool and end up with awesome kids because of it!
Aw, thank you! So glad to hear. 🙂 Yes, you CAN do it!!
What a brilliant post! I’ve been homeschooling for 8 years and am having one of ‘those’ days today. It was uplifting to read all these truths and be encouraged 🙂 Thank you.
Aw, thanks! Yes, we all have those days. So glad it encouraged you! 🙂
[…] I’m not sure what brought you to this place. Whether you always imagined yourself a homeschooling parent, fell into it quite by accident, or simply find yourself pulling your child out of school for reasons unique to your family, suddenly you find yourself…a homeschooling parent. […]
Yes! yes! Yes!! I can totally relate! Love this. I am a homeschooling mom to my three young boys (4, 6, 8) and I agreed with every word. 🙂 Thank you.
Yes! yes! Yes! I totally agree! 🙂 Thank you for sharing! 🙂
What would you watch for Movie Fridays?
Historical movies, old movies, new movies…whatever we liked! 🙂
What did you watch on Movie Fridays?
Please see above comment. 🙂
[…] literature-heavy, eclectic style of homeschooling. I’ve been talking with a dear friend about young homeschooling mommies and the pressure brought to bear to spend big bucks on classes and online learning and […]
I totally get this and will share it but I wish just once a blog post like this would also say dads. “Moms and dads” my husband is the at home parent/teacher. He can’t be the only one.
Agree, however I only personally know the perspective of a homeschool mom! 🙂 This is a post from over a year ago, actually. I did an article for Home Educating Family about homeschooling dads and they have others on their site as well, so be sure and check them out!
[…] how did I find myself a homeschooler? Well, through a series of events including having a first child who was an early reader, not […]