Homeschool Blessings in Disguise
Homeschooling is a blessing in disguise. There are many days that are frustrating and seem to be fruitless, but other days you will see why you are homeschooling. The doubt fades away and all you are left with is satisfaction of a job well done.
Bringing Public School Home
When I first started homeschooling, it was mess. I had been a public school teacher for nine years and thought that I knew what I was doing. Instead, of 20 some fourth graders, I had only 4 kids. Even though they were of different ages, I could handle this. Boy, was I ever wrong.
I started the year with my nice neat lesson plans, and high expectations to match. Making sure that we kept to the schedule everyday, whether it hinder our relationships or not. My kids were going to learn to be hard workers, by finishing all of their curriculum work each day. Biggest mistake ever.
Homeschooling is not public school. Our kids learn better when the relationship that exists between the teacher and the student is one of love and respect. Worksheets do not make a kid smarter, neither does sticking to a schedule. I had to learn to be flexible. Reinventing my idea of what schooling was and falling in love with learning all over again.
When my kids were younger, keeping them busy was the task. I had a friend’s kid and my son who were both preschool age. My middle daughter was in second grade and my oldest child was in eighth grade. I had bins put together for the younger kids of educational toys that they could play, with when I was teaching the older ones.
My oldest daughter struggled with the transition the most.I expected her to do some of the work on her own, and she wasn’t used to that. In public school the teacher led the class with a discussion about that day’s lesson, then the kids would complete their worksheet. It was the same thing, pretty much everyday. But at home my expectations were different and she did not like it at all.
We fought. Tears flew. Hearts were damaged. And I was at a lost as to what was wrong.
I started reading books like the Well Trained Mind, Teaching From Rest and The Core. Helping me to see where I was going wrong.
A Few Years In
A few years later my oldest daughter went back to public school to graduate. I had only my son who was now in first grade and my middle daughter who was now in fourth grade. I had learned a lot in those first few years.
Relationships mattered more than finishing the worksheet.
The subject that they were the weakest at, I moved to the beginning of the day.
Reading aloud to my kids was essential.
Doing homeschooling with other moms was a game changer.
Blessings in Disguise
The years passed and I started to realize that my relationship with my kids was different than it would have been if they had gone to school. It would have been easier for me to send them to school, then homeschooling them. But, building a life, where we did everything together, was pretty cool.
My kids learned to cook from a young age. Using kitchen utensils, including knives, from the time that they were five/six. We learned to cook a lot of meals together. Reverently helping each other finish a family meal showed them how working as group made the task easier. Realizing that we did chores together, helped them to see that we are a family unit. What benefits one family member, benefits everyone. They still struggle every now and then with the me, me, me mentality, but it is only when my husband and I let the balance of the family unit lean towards them.
My husband was let go from his job while I was homeschooling. I had to take a waitressing job while he filled in as the homeschooling teacher. We made due for a whole year, till he was able to find another job. With the new job however, came the need to travel.
We are not a family that likes to be apart, so we started traveling with him. We were able to relocate to Kentucky for two months in 2019, and 2018. Being able to keep our family together was a game changer. I can not imagine if I was still a public school teacher, who came home to an empty house every night, while my husband was away at work. I think that it would have really damaged our marriage and the kids’ relationship with their dad.
Traveling also helped us to become closer together, because we didn’t really know anyone when we first moved. Quickly, creating a vortex around our family, showing us how much we mean to each other. Our conversations were vibrant about new people we had met, new places we had seen and the fun we were having.
My first few years I tried homeschooling on my own. We didn’t really do any homeschooling co-op groups, and the one that we did tried, didn’t produce the type of friendships that I needed or that my kids needed.
Eventually I found a homeschool co-op that fit. Classical Conversations was a homeschol group that allowed parents to be trained to tutor a small group of students. Filling a hole in my life, as I really missed teaching a class of other kids.
This community filled the need to homeschool alongside other moms that were on the same page as myself. Moms that I could go to when I had questions about homeschooling. Moms that prayed with me. That lived life with me. My kids also found friendships that mattered. Friends that have come to our house numerous times. Friends that have been there for the good and the bad.
After being a public school teacher, I felt lost as to how to teach my kids at home. I didn’t like worksheets, but that was all that I had ever known. Following a curriculum had been my life. Now I had been given full range as to how I could teach my kids.
I found myself researching all of the different ways to teach a child. It was overwhelming to say the least. From unschooling, to Charlotte Mason Style, to different curriculums, to Classical Education, there was a lot of information. When I read about Classical Education that spoke to my heart. Now, I had to learn how to teach this method effectively.
It took time and effort, but the results have been amazing. The kids and I love the attention that reading aloud the classics and memorizing your work gets. It simplified how I taught, what I taught, and showed me how the brain works best at each stage.
As I watch my kids blossom into logical thinkers, that have memorized thousands of facts and who love being read to, I am so grateful for this opportunity.
They have been able to also pursue their own passions, due to the extra time that homeschooling allows for. My daughter is great at all types of art work. My son loves to build things, play the drums, be outside and spend time with his grandpa next door.
My favorite part about homeschooling is having my kids know God. Not on the level of remembering the great Bible stories, but really knowing Him.
Understanding why God asks us to do certain things. How to love others first. What His Word says and how that relates to their lives. Making God a real God of today.
Their ability to quote scripture when they are scared, confused, angry, frustrated and more has been such a powerful tool in helping them grow to be a child of God.
Our conversations about the Fruits of the Spirit, to gratitude, to helping others and how God wants us to live, never cease to surprise me.
The blessings that come from homeschooling can not be seen from the trenches. They come when you least expect it. When you want to quit or after crying for days while it all seems to be falling apart. In the tiny moments of finally understanding how to read, to the times your kids love each other when you did not expect it. In the midst of our life called chaos we find relationships that grow bigger than we ever imagined. And in those times, we can look up and see how much God has blessed us.
How has God blessed you through homeschooling?