What I Wish I’d Known about Homeschooling (Part 2)
Read Part 1 here.
“I was always in a hurry with my homeschooling, fueled by a nagging sense of falling behind.”
3. You are going to skip something. And worse, it will be something really important. My twin sons enjoyed calling me from college their freshman year to report in on yet another news flash that would have been good to know! I told them thanks, and that I’d make sure their younger siblings benefited from their feedback. Seriously speaking, we are living in a world of rapid transformation. The skills and knowledge base our kids will need for their future lives is anybody’s guess. That’s why majoring on learning how to learn is the very best use of our time. My sons were teasing me when they called; they knew I was at home sweating bullets that first semester they were away at school. Fortunately, raising an independent learner had been a focus of our home school. And they just headed over to the library, searched online or visited their professors during office hours to get the information they needed to be successful. Posture yourself as a fellow lifelong learner alongside your kids. Modeling a love for learning and taking joy in the process will be a powerful influence on your children’s attitudes toward education and the effort they put into it. It’s also the best backup plan to offset the effects of your inevitable failures and oversights.
4. What’s the rush? You have a lot more time than you think. I was always in a hurry with my homeschooling, fueled by a nagging sense of falling behind. I see now that was just a cultural norm not rooted in reality. God has created an inner timetable for each child called development. And it is not the smooth trajectory we see drawn on the pediatrician’s charts. Our kids’ physical, psychological and cognitive growth moves forward in fits and starts often preceded by seasons of dormancy. Kids need time to ponder, to experiment, to rest, and to play—even into their teenage years. That’s how their brains develop, that’s how they learn anything deeply. We support this God-designed process by filling our homes with books and resources that pique their curiosity, by building leisure into their schedule, and by bringing a sense of playfulness to our homeschooling endeavors. And who says they have to be ready to leave home or go to college at age eighteen? Gap years are becoming far more common, as is a part time start to college or gentle entry into the work force. Don’t be afraid to slow down your curriculum and to draw out the time allotted for completing algebra or learning how to read. What matters is consistency, not the pace we set.
Tomorrow I will post three more things I wish I’d known about homeschooling. I’d love to hear your thoughts too. What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your homeschool adventure?
Debra Bell is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling and The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens from Apologia Press.