Dear First Time Homeschool Parents,
So, you’ve decided to embark on homeschooling this year! Whether by choice or out of necessity, welcome to the ranks of homeschooling parents across the world.
Perhaps you’re excited! Maybe you’ve found a curriculum you’re absolutely in love with and resources you feel confident will assist you in creating the best possible homeschooling year you can for your child or children. If that’s the case, then that’s amazing and we wish you all the best of luck as you embark on this new journey.
However, if you’re still second-guessing every choice you’ve made from curriculum to the choice to even homeschool at all, you’re not alone!
We chose to homeschool out of necessity. I was never the type that fantasized about homeschooling the boys with Pinterest-perfect projects and Mary Poppins-worthy lessons. When friends talked dreamily about how excited they were to eventually homeschool their kids (most of which never went on to do so), my insides cringed as I smiled and said, “I know my limits and that’s just not something I could do, but I totally respect anyone who can!”
As fate would have it, it was something I ended up having to do.
And dear doubtful homeschooler, I had all the same doubts and fears that you have now.
I wondered how I’d ever figure out, let alone complete, the complicated lesson plans provided with our curriculum.
I struggled with whether or not I’d actually be able to teach the boys anything, even though I’d worked in classrooms in special education for years.
I looked at my workload, I was already a WAHM, and wondered how I’d juggle work and homeschool.
I had panic attacks, envisioning the kids failing out of school and inevitably life because I’d been the source of their educations.
The fact is, all of these fears and doubts mean you care … a lot! And honestly, that’s a great foundation for the skills you need to get through a homeschooling year.
And while every day may not be easy (we had entire years that were absolute agony, to be honest), by the end of the year you will look back and feel a sense of accomplishment for your child/children and for yourself.
Now, I’m not going to pretend homeschooling is my cup of tea. In many ways, I still find it a struggle, but I will say that the more time goes by, the less I worry daily—now, it’s more like once a week. 😉
Here is the reality of homeschooling, in my opinion, for those that don’t feel completely confident doing it:
You will have bad days. In fact, some days will be a total wash. Know when to quit for the day or to change things up and do something you know is easy for them and for you, then start fresh the next day.
You will question yourself … frequently. As I mentioned above, I still question regularly whether or not I’m destroying the boys’ entire futures. In reality, I’m probably not, but that doesn’t mean I recognize that to be true every day. Know that you’re doing the best you can and as long as you’re getting things done (even if it’s at your own pace) you’re probably doing okay!
You will have serious homeschool envy. There are some homeschooling parents out there that have their stuff together. And not just prepped and ready, but TOGETHER. They have projects scheduled every day, they tie every subject into every other subject seamlessly and they make Martha Stewart look like a kindergartener building popsicle houses. They’ll talk about how wonderful every day is and how beautifully their child is doing. You’ll look at your irritated child as you try to explain something for the second time and wonder, “What am I doing wrong?”
Friend, you’re not doing anything wrong. The reality is, some people do find homeschooling a breeze, but the majority of people I know struggle! Some just hide it better behind beautifully orchestrated projects and sugar-coated posts on social media. Don’t worry, maybe your child didn’t build a scaled replica of the Taj Mahal while you studied India in history & geography, simultaneously tying it into math by discussing volume and measurements while cooking an authentic Indian meal. Would it be nice to be able to pull that off? Of course! Is your child going to end up jobless and penniless because they didn’t? Doubtful.
In the end, the best advice I can give you is this: Know your limits, know your child’s limits and just do your best.
If you’re frustrated, take a minute. If they’re frustrated, give them a minute.
Research the programs you use and if something ends up not working, chuck it and use something else. We’re starting on our 6th year of homeschooling for our oldest and 4th for our youngest. Different programs work for each kid in some subjects and every year we re-evaluate what did and didn’t work before we start a new school year. There have been years where I’ve scrapped programs mid-year to replace them because they clearly didn’t work for us. Homeschooling is a constantly evolving process, from my experience.
You’re going to be okay! And if homeschooling ends up not working out in the end, that’s okay, too! You know your child/children best, give yourself the confidence to make decisions knowing that to be true.
Sending positive homeschool vibes your way,
Doria A.K.A. Your Fellow Hesitant Homeschooling Mom
P.S. If you’re curious about the programs we’re using this year (and ones we’ve used in the past) I’m happy to share if people are interested! If you have any questions please feel free to share them below. Also, please feel free to share your words of encouragement or advice below if you’re a veteran homeschool parent.