Real Homeschool Moms Share Spiritual and Practical Advice
Much has changed since I first began my homeschooling journey in 1991. I remember feeling quite the fashionista with my spiral perm, denim dress, and white tennis shoes with bobby socks. Of course fashion is not the only thing that has, quite thankfully, changed over the years. The climate of homeschooling has changed as well. The resources that parents have available to them today are abundant. Many universities no longer question a transcript from a homeschooled applicant, and as a matter of fact, many of them seek out and welcome homeschoolers.
Homeschool Moms Share Spiritual and Practical Advice
Yet, even with all the advances within the homeschooling community, some things never change. I polled some real homeschool moms with whom I am friends—some veteran, some still in the midst of the great homeschooling adventure—and asked them what they wish they had known when they started homeschooling. Now, these homeschool moms share spiritual and practical advice with you.
- Homeschooling is spiritual, and it is a calling.
- Purpose the day to God.
- Do not not sacrifice your time with the Lord. Bible study, reading and praying for wisdom and discernment are keys to success. Personal time with the Lord keeps us grounded and focused. Praying for our kids and for understanding of their individual and specialized needs is necessary.
- Let your children be who God created them to be, not necessarily who you think they should be.
- Follow your heart; don’t follow the crowd. Pray about the best homeschooling option for your children. Remember, they are created individually and uniquely by God. Allow Him to guide you as you make decisions for their education. After all, He is the one who created your children, and He knows what is best for them.
- Incorporate Jesus into your daily routine and model a Christ-following lifestyle. Let your kids see you praising him in the car, praying for them when they are sick, reading his Word, and discussing spiritual matters as a family.
- Allow your children to see your vulnerabilities. They need to see you going through trying times and getting through them with the Lord. Trying to live up to superparent is way too difficult to maintain, and it sets our children up for false expectations when they become adults.
- Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your kids when they are young; life moves way too fast and before you know it, they’ve graduated!
- Relax. When just starting out, less is more when the kids are young.
- Give yourself grace.
- Go on lots of field trips.
- Take school to the beach, the park, or the back yard.
- Listen to veteran moms who have completed their homeschooling journey. They are a walking encyclopedia of information!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance. There is a tendency to feel intimidated by others who seem to have their act together, but they rarely do. Be willing to admit those times when we almost threw in the towel and marched our kids down to the local public school.
- If someone is willing to share their struggles with you, give them gracious and compassionate words of encouragement towards their heartfelt admission.
- Moms know their kids better than anyone else, including teachers, administrators, doctors, or other experts; trust your instinct where your children are concerned. One mom said, “I was afraid that I was going to ruin my child–I didn’t need to worry about that.”
- Don’t compare your kids to anyone else. Your child is unique and designed exactly the way God intended, flaws and all.
- Read to your kids, read to your kids, read to your kids! And don’t feel bad about doing it, or that you need to come up with an excuse for taking so much time to do it. Don’t stop reading to them when they become teens. Spending time reading aloud paves the way for many unexpected conversations.
- Don’t get yourself or your children overcommitted with too many activities. Families need downtime together. It is vital to the strength of family unity.
Focus more on helping your child develop his/her strengths, rather than focusing on weak areas. Yes, address their academic weaknesses, but more importantly, allow your children time to work on what they’re naturally good at doing, perhaps allowing extra time for science or art.
- Don’t go solo. Join a homeschooling group, whether a PSP, charter school, or co-op with other families you know. No need to reinvent the wheel. Embrace the many opportunities to be involved with other homeschooling moms and dads. You may find another parent who loves to teach a subject that you do not. Trade and teach the subject you love and let them teach the subject they love. More than likely, your children will enjoy learning from another perspective, and they always enjoy being with other kids.
- Homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning and occurs everywhere. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
- Homeschooling is a lot like marriage in that it changes, needs nurturing, and commitment to grow and mature. Each year will look different than the year before as your children’s interests begin to develop, and their needs change. Be flexible, and always consult the Lord.
- With the busyness of caring for and teaching young children in the home, every one needs quiet time in the afternoon. One veteran homeschool mom wrote, “When my kids were younger, they would have a ‘blanket time’. The kids would lay on a blanket with their books, toys, trucks, dolls, paper and pencil, etc. and have a quiet time for a given amount of time. The blanket was their boundary of play activity. The house was quiet, the activities were few and allowed a ‘break’ of the routine. It was good for all of us. This also was a great time for the kids to learn how to play by themselves, and I could take some time to read, call someone, make appointments, do laundry, or just have a quiet time.”
- The experience really is too short and ends so quickly. Enjoy every moment of your homeschooling experience.
Remember, homeschooling isn’t only about academics or just lecturing your children and giving them worksheets to complete. In the early years, it may mean sitting next to your child every day, learning together with your child. It means demonstrating the love and joy of learning, and rejoicing as your children begin to learn on their own. Later, it means that you will be holding their kite string as they soar, watching them working independently. Then your job is transformed to simply being available whenever they need a little more guidance, which you will find, occurs less and less as time goes by. Then, you get to stand back and bask in the joy and honor of a job well done, good and faithful servant. They will turn out OK…I promise!