It’s no question that homeschooling is on the rise. More and more families are choosing to home educate their children for whatever reasons; however, there is also another epidemic on the rise.
As families make the transition to homeschool or decide to skip traditional schooling all together, they are hitting some bumps in the road. Many of these bumps stem from the attempts to make their homeschool look like the school system so many are familiar with.
Other parents get caught up in the comparison game of trying to measure up to the family who makes homeschooling look like a piece of cake. And even then, some parents are simply overwhelmed with the amount of information out there and try to model their homeschool by all they see.
In the most recent years, I’ve become an advocate and promoter of “homeschooling your way,” but that doesn’t always make the most sense to people. What I’m saying is that your homeschooling journey should be just as unique as your family.
Yes, you may use the same curriculum as another family. You may be involved in the same COOP group. You may even choose the same kind of schedule as someone else. With all those similarities, there is still a level of uniqueness that every homeschooling family should embrace.
Uniqueness doesn’t mean that you’re doing things completely different than someone else. It means that you are homeschooling according to your family’s unique dynamic. The question now becomes – How do I do that without falling into the latest systematized epidemic?
Focus on What Matters
At some point in your homeschooling journey you’ll hear these words. Focus on what matters. What matters can sometimes be clouded by the many trends that run through the homeschooling community. From the “best” curriculum to use to what “method” you’re using can seem like the most important things. However, I beg to differ.
I believe the things that will keep a homeschooling family grounded are embracing your unique family dynamic. A homeschooling family of seven will look very much different than a homeschooling family of two. These are things that should be used as fuel along the journey.
Know Your Why
This is one of the single most important ways that makes your journey unique and your own. It’s all about the why. Again, families decide to homeschool for similar reasons, but embedded in those reasons are personal experiences, values, morals, and beliefs that come alive when voiced in your why.
If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend writing down why you homeschool and keep it somewhere you (and your family) can see it. Update it as often as needed and allow it to keep you encouraged.
Find Your Rhythm
I love using this analogy because I love music, and I see our homeschool journey as a big song. There are times when we’re dancing or singing off beat, and there are other times when we have to change the song completely. Either way, my husband and I are always making an effort to keep our family in rhythm and in tune.
There are lots of aspects that go into finding your rhythm, but a few important ones are:
- loving and trusting yourself
- being content in the season you’re in
- understanding your child/children’s learning style
- breaking free from any hindering systems (like homeschooling from a school-system mentality)
Explore Curriculum Options
This is another area that I could go on a full blown tangent about. The curriculum marketplace for the homeschooling community is on the rise and much of it looks a lot like the very system that we want to keep our children from. This is where finding out how your children learn best comes in.
With knowing that, if becomes much easier to incorporate whatever learning tools and resources necessary. For example, if your child cringes at the thought of doing textbook work or a stack of worksheets, then perhaps that kind of curriculum is not the best option (at the time). If your child is a hands-on learner, then it certainly makes sense to give the opportunities to use their hands… and there are resources for that.
When it comes to curriculum, I see so many mamas get bogged down by spending bookoos of money only for it to not work. The trick is to not worry so much on what to use to teach your child versus using your child as the guide in knowing what to use.
Organize & Plan Your Way
This is another area that allows your uniqueness to shine. I love seeing the various ways that homeschooling families organize and plan. Some use binders while others use folders. I’ve seen some families plan four weeks at a time while another can plan an entire semester at a time.
I also advise mamas to use their strengths in this area. If you’re OCD, use that! If you are a minimalist, use that! You may not see planning and organizing as your strong suit in general, but I know you have some strengths within you that can make up for what you’d consider a weakness. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid of the “h” word!
Don’t Be Afraid of the “H” Word
The “h” word I am referring to is H-E-L-P! As a six-year homeschooling mama, I have to admit that I wouldn’t have made it this far without some kind of help. Whether the help came from my husband, a COOP group, online support, or having mentors – it was totally necessary, and still is.
I even dedicated an entire chapter in my book, Just for Today’s Homeschooling Mom, to this topic because asking for help seems to do something to our thought process. For some reason, when we need help we have to go through the merry-go-round of negative and incompetent thoughts.
The fact of the matter is we all need a great support system. There are no benefits to staying quiet and dealing with any stress, intense moments, and/or anxieties that may arise. But here are benefits to seeking out help and using it – especially if you’re new to homeschooling!
Speaking of which, I have an amazing masterclass for homeschooling moms who are looking for help with getting (and staying) on a path to homeschooling successfully. Jumpstart Your Homeschool Journey is self-paced, packed with seven videos (plus one audio), and comes with lots of complimentary resources for you to use years on end! There is also a live group mentor program offered three times per year that goes with this masterclass (February, July, December).
Take advantage of this resource, or anything else I have to offer! Can’t wait to connect with you!! Cheering you on!