Photo by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Hoodwink: [verb] to deceive or trick; synonyms: dupe, fool, delude, misguide
When it comes to homeschooling, you may have been hoodwinked if you think:
· Homeschooling should come naturally.
· There’s only one “right” way to homeschool.
· You’re “just a homeschooler.”
Let’s examine each of these.
Homeschooling should come naturally
While some skills come easily, not everything comes “naturally.” Homeschooling is no different. I don’t know any parent who didn’t seem to have a bazillion questions before embarking on teaching their children at home. Plus, it often takes some trial and error to learn how to best help your child learn.
Once your family gets into a rhythm, homeschooling can feel “natural.” Yet even then, things may not go as planned. Meltdowns happen. Lessons take longer than anticipated. A few months in, you may realize your curriculum isn’t working, so you have to chuck it and find something else.
By the way, if you’ve found yourself in this situation, it’s okay. You’re not the only one. And it doesn’t mean your child will fail. He could actually excel with a different curriculum that’s more in tune with his learning style. If you’re afraid that switching curricula will cause you to fall behind, remember that you can always extend your school year into the summer to complete the work. Your school, your schedule. You can structure it however you like.
Also, beware of viewing yourself as “not as good” as families who seem to have it all together. Even seasoned homeschoolers struggle at times. The trick is knowing when to ask for help.
The “right” way to homeschool
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one,” according to author Jill Churchill.
Likewise, there’s no “right” way to homeschool, and a million ways to do it well. The thousands of curricula and online programs attest to that. Some parents teach all the subjects themselves; some enroll their children in co-ops; some have their students take online classes; and some use a combination of these options. What works for one family may not work for yours and vice versa. Beware of “the grass is greener” mindset.
What works for your oldest may not do at all for your youngest. Children don’t all learn in the same way. You need to find the groove that fits each of your kids. Let your vision for them guide your homeschooling. It’s so much more important than chasing perfection.
On the flip side, beware of judging others whose preferences differ from your own. Remember, it’s not a contest. There are as many styles of homeschooling as there are personalities.
Mother [muh-ther]—noun: a woman who does the work of twenty for free. See also saint. =============================================================
You’re “just a homeschooler”
Being a homeschooler doesn’t mean you’re unimportant. Your role as a teacher is super significant. The emotional safety alone that you provide is often a life-changer. Your child’s progress, whether in academics, maturity, or self-perception, may not be evident overnight, but it’s there. It takes time. One day builds on the next. And you never know the impact simple activities or lessons can have on your child.
I still remember visiting a museum’s special genome exhibit when our daughter was 13 years old. I’d never seen her light up so much. I thought our field trip was just another outing to a museum we’d visited countless times before. But the excitement that stirred in our daughter never left; in fact it’s the reason she’s now majoring in genetics and biochemistry in college.
Don’t belittle yourself for being a stay-at-home teacher. The world needs more moms and dads who selflessly pour their lives into their children.
While homeschooling takes time, it’s worth the effort. Acknowledge any areas in which you may have been hoodwinked. Then give yourself, and others, a lot of grace and the room to make mistakes. Avoid the comparison trap. Don’t take your influence on your kids lightly. And remind yourself that “unnoticed” doesn’t mean unimportant. After all, a mundane moment can turn into a treasure when you least expect it.