written by Tasha Swearingen
If you’ve homeschooled for any amount of time, you’ve probably had to figure some things out for yourself…things no one ever told you were going to happen during your homeschooling years. Here, we outline some of the most common things that all homeschooling parents can relate to doing, thinking, feeling, or experiencing!
10 Things to Know About Homeschooling
Do you feel like there are things you wish you would’ve known before you started homeschooling? Maybe you’re just getting started with homeschooling and want to know as much as you can before you embark on this journey. Whatever the case is, we’re sure you can relate to the following:
- It’s a lot of work. This may seem obvious, but it really is a lot of work. Of course, anything worth having is worth the hard work…and most things worth having don’t come easy. Homeschooling is no different; it takes a lot of work and sacrifices, but the payoff makes it worth all the trouble.
- There are different ways to homeschool. When I started homeschooling, all I’d heard about was ABeka so that’s what I used. I’ll never forget someone in our homeschooling co-op at the time saying to me, “Let us know when you ditch that.” I thought, “Well that was rude!” (And it was…) But as it turns out, she was right. Once I learned that there were multiple homeschooling styles and different ways to teach, we were hooked on something else. At this point, we’ve tried everything out there, from traditional to unschooling. Overall, I’d consider us eclectic—we pull something from each style and only keep what works for our family. Still, if I had known from the beginning that there were different styles, I could’ve saved us a lot of trial and error!
- Homeschooling in the high school years is serious. While possible, homeschooling during the high school years is serious stuff. If your child wants to attend college, gone are the days of carefree times or no structure whatsoever. For your child’s sake, it’s best to get everything started during your child’s freshman year of high school. Don’t wait until your child is in 12th grade to try compiling 4 years’ worth of transcripts. If this article reaches you too late and you haven’t started, consider doing a subject-based transcript where you group everything your child has done by subject rather than by year. That might be easier than trying to remember what you did each year but either way, take this seriously. Also, consider AP courses and Dual Enrollment options for your college-bound child.
- It’s a joyful thing! Though homeschooling isn’t free of its own trials, it truly is a joyful thing. You know you’re giving your children a personalized education—something they won’t get in school—and you’re able to give them some of the best opportunities available to students. For instance, you don’t need “career day” to have your children speak with people in their chosen career paths. Sure, homeschooling can be tough sometimes but overall, it’s a joyful experience for both parents and kids!
- Teaching multiple children isn’t the same as teaching just one. When we first started homeschooling, I was teaching twins. While that in and of itself means teaching more than one child, it was still only one grade level. Fast forward a couple of years and I had another child to teach. A couple years later, there was a fourth child to teach! Trying to teach all four of them, though they’re close in age, was not at all the same as when I was only teaching one grade level. Teaching multiple children at the same time is a given if you have more than one child. It doesn’t come without its own challenges, but they’re certainly not something determination (and careful planning) can’t overcome.
- Teaching your children something and watching their eyes light up is better than Christmas. I liken this to Christmas because I think of all the warm, fuzzy feelings we get when it’s time to gather around the Christmas tree and sing songs or open gifts. No, I’m not about to say gathering around the dining table for school is anything like that; it isn’t. But watching your child’s eyes light up when something finally clicks…and knowing that you are the reason it finally clicked…is one of the most rewarding parts of homeschooling.
- You’ll almost never have a break. Since your children will be with you all day, evening, and night, you’ll pretty much never get much of a break from them without advanced planning and making arrangements for this. Does this scare you? It shouldn’t. You might be thinking you can’t deal with your children all day every day. Honestly, children who are the result of overstimulation in the classroom all day (and who are wired by the end of the day) are not the same as children whose commute to school means walking from their bedroom to the dining table. These children tend to not get overstimulated (barring there are no special needs to consider), so you aren’t dealing with a wired child all day.
- Homeschooling with a baby is HARD work. Whatever schedule of homeschooling you got used to doing before your youngest came along goes out the window when he or she is born—and somewhat before then as you carry around a heavy baby and all the extra water weight while still trying to stand up and teach because sitting is just uncomfortable. If the kids were in school, you’d be able to just sleep when the baby sleeps and could stay on bedrest during your pregnancy. That’s not the case when you’re homeschooling. You’re “on call” around the clock. Thankfully, though, you won’t have to wake a baby who just dozed off to sleep to go pick siblings up from school, nor will you have to worry about those siblings bringing germs home to the baby. Yes, it’s tough in the beginning but there are certainly benefits to homeschooling when you have a new baby.
- If your child seems “behind,” people will judge you. Of course, if your child goes to school it’s somehow the child’s fault but when you’re homeschooling, all eyes are on you.
- The joys outweigh the struggles. Remember this! Keep it in mind when you’re dealing with everything else mentioned above and remember the joys of homeschooling will always, always outweigh the struggles. Though the days feel long, the years are short. It won’t be long before you’re looking back and wondering how you had the energy to do all of this but the day you graduate your child is one you’ll never forget.
They say hindsight is always 20-20. When it comes to homeschooling, looking back on our lives means acknowledging the experiences we’ve had during the homeschooling years. Upon reflection, we may realize things we wish we would’ve known when we began. When you reach the end of the road (which is only the beginning for your college-bound child), you’ll look back at the choices you made. You don’t want to have any regrets and if you give homeschooling your all, you won’t!