First year homeschool blues
With the homeschool year well under way, the excitement of your first year might be wearing off along with the smell of newly sharpened pencils and crisp papers. If you are starting to question your decision to homeschool, don't give up yet.
If you are a first-time homeschooler, you might wonder what you have gotten yourself into. Thankfully, you're not alone — the first year homeschool blues are real, and we have all felt them at one point or another.
When I started homeschooling — some 10 years ago — I started out all wrong. I fell into the trap of trying to emulate the classroom setting. I tried keeping a very strict schedule — I wanted every worksheet completed and all sections of our curriculum covered. I wanted to meet "school" standards. This only made me a cranky, stressed out mess! I learned early on that we would not survive homeschooling if something didn't change.
I took advice from veteran homeschool moms and relaxed. I took the "school room" pressure off of myself. Some days we do nothing but read and discuss. Other days we will drop all formal lessons and head to the local nature park for nature studies.
We have been conditioned to think that there is only one way for our children to learn. We need to de-school and allow ourselves the freedom to discover the unique path of our homeschool journey.
The first year of homeschooling is a trial and error adventure. You are trying to figure out what works best for your family. Some of you are trying to figure out how to manage multiple children in different grade levels. First, give yourself plenty of time to figure out what homeschooling style works best for your children, then decide on a schedule that you're comfortable with.
Stop reading homeschool blogs
Don't get me wrong, we can learn a great deal from the many resources, tips and words of encouragement found on homeschool blogs — as long as you don't compare your homeschool to theirs. All too often, we compare ourselves to veteran homeschool moms or moms that seem to have it all together, but this will only leave us feeling inadequate. Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. The truth is, none of us have it all together, we all struggle, we all second-guess ourselves and we all have to deal with attitudes and sibling rivalry. You might even covet the perfectly pristine, Pottery Barn-clad, homeschool room you found on Pinterest. However, you don't "need" all of that to have a nurturing, happy learning environment. Do what you can and enjoy what you do.
Don't try to go it alone
Include your other half as much as possible in the daily happenings of your homeschool, as well as decision making. Being able to bounce thoughts off someone can be very beneficial. Get involved with your local homeschool community, and join a homeschool group for support. Being able to share your joys and struggles with fellow homeschool moms will make a world of difference. The first year of homeschooling is often the hardest — it can take time to find a groove. Be flexible and allow your family room to grow and evolve. The benefits of homeschooling will far outweigh the challenges. Hang in there, it will get easier.