Thursday, October 23, 2014

10 things people will not dare tell you about homeschooling updated January 6, 2016

10  30 31 32 33 things people will not dare tell you about homeschooling

Heavy sarcasm alert written from an eyewitness account, grounded with solid truth.  Warning:  There are grammatical errors. You will understand after you read the article (aka #swamped).  This is not an exhaustive list on any account and be sure to read #30. 

I really wanted to add the same Ann Voskamp music in my page as I am a huge fan, but my music truthfully would sound more like something from Cheap Trick, "If You Want My Love".

I am a mother of 6 children and new grandma to one precious baby boy.  I have been married to one man over 23 years and this has been tricky at times (see song above) and I am sure he would say the same about me. I would consider myself a fairly seasoned homeschooling mom as we entered our 18th year this fall.  I mean, I think I am seasoned? We homeschooled for 5 years living completely off-the-grid with an outhouse, oil lamps and a ringer washer on a 40 acre farm. During this time we had our last baby at this idyllic place while we farmed full time – and we were homeschooling, so yes, I do consider myself seasoned. 

Each year when I approach fall to plan my homeschool year, I still get nervous.  I wonder if I can really do another year.  That homeschool mom that looks like she has it all together from afar, she needs your prayers and encouragement just like the new homeschooling mom embarking on her first year.

I am going to tell you the truth about homeschooling and what I have witnessed first hand in our home and from many frank discussions with other close “seasoned” homeschool moms. I can hear some of you new homeschool moms now, you still have that zeal and excitement so you are perplexed at my intro.  You might still be at the fun stage with a 7 and 9 year old.  Now don’t be gettin’ that blue jean jumper in a bunch.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have zeal too with a little less excitement than you because I have some years behind me.  I am glad you are excited to homeschool as you should be if you are going to do it. 

I am a grandmother to 2 and counting, I have graduated 2 children and 1 is quickly following, I have a 5 year old and have lived with a bad illness for over a year all while homeschooling.  Here is a list of 10  28  30 32 things people usually don’t tell you about homeschooling – You can thank me later or better yet buy me a pumpkin spiced latte.

1.   – Homeschooling takes time – duh… But really it takes a LOT of time!  A homeschooling day is shorter than a traditional school day where children leave the house, yes, but homeschooling moms are multi-tasking between students all day. This looks like dinner prep between spelling tests, laundry after geography and housekeeping when you are done with your school day. You do not have that window of 5 hours where everyone is gone and you can buzz through your home quietly and alone to knock out the cleaning, bills and what not, but you do have helpers.  Usually you start your big stuff when school is done and with a large family this can be late in the day.

2.  It is hard to differentiate learning time from fun time when you homeschool as it can all run together.  This is a tough one for me.  If I spend all day reading stories about the pilgrims to the little ones, mentoring the older, teaching writing, driving to appointments, teaching grammar and answering math questions (with 6 children).  I find it hard after 3:30 pm to want to sit down and read more stories.  It is hard to play games, do fun sewing projects with the girls and go out to Michaels to spend 2 hours browsing the isles to find more creative school projects to do after a full day of doing school. I feel bad about this quite a bit.  

I think this is my dilemma with Christmas.  Christmas is supposed to be magical and fun right?  Yes it is.  Christmas has a 2-week vacation break right?  How ‘bout we take everyone off the schedule you just finally got every on to have a rhythm in your home and add tons of sugar, late night get togethers and did I say CANDY?  Tell me how this works for you please!  It is hard after doing crafts all year long and teaching to suddenly up the ante for a month to bake MORE cookies than I already have, spend MORE time together when we always do and now lets clutter up the house with decorations where we ALL always are.  Don’t worry, I am not too grinchy.  We have a ton of traditions here… I do them but it feels exhausting and laborious at times.

3.  Homeschooling is messy and it can be hard on your house.  We now live in about 1300 sq. ft. with 1 bathroom with 7+ people.  Trust me, this bathroom is amazing after having an outhouse for 5 years however the house is tiny.  Now add 5 of us home all day (3 of us are adult bodies) and this place gets more use lets say than the family that just is home in the evenings.  It’s hard to have a picture perfect house when we are always living here.  Refer back to number 1.  At any given time there is a load of laundry going, one to be folded on the couch and a sink of dishes too do and we also eat 3+ meals a day here.  Lets see, breakfast for 6, lunch for 5 and supper for 7 Monday - Friday.  This is a ton of drinking glasses, silverware and plates (TIP:  whatever we have for supper I always double it so that we can reheat it for lunch the next day.  This way I am only making 2 meals a day Monday – Friday.  The weekends are a completely different animal) we touch up the walls a lot with paint. Those magic sponges well, they are really magic!
3a. Paper plates are a mother’s best friend
3b.  organization is a must to be successful in life, not just for homeschooling.  If you have trouble keeping a clean house, set a timer in a room for 15 minutes and "race" yourself to have it picked up.  You will be surprised how this little tip really helps!  - don't answer the phone during this time either!

4.  Your children see the real you.  Like, they see the good the bad and the vey ugly you.  When you are together all the time they see the flesh.  Be sure the children hear apologies when you have failed. Be humble and practice real forgiveness.  When you are together all the time they also see how much you love them and that you would do this all over again just to have one more day to see their little hands learn to write their name or their eyes when they read their first words.  It’s a beautiful mess, it really is!  I choose to look at the beautiful.

5.  Homeschooling is hard work!  It gets interesting, ahem, when you are trying to teach algebra II, Geometry and German…  Let’s add potty training a 2 year old and nursing a baby on top of letters in math. It gets hardER as you go… (Free TIP #2.  Buy Rosetta Stone, expensive math teaching DVDS and get your husband involved in helping you teach these subjects)

6.  Just because you did Five in a Row and used the Charlotte Mason Method with the first two children (time consuming), you still need to do it for the last 3+ and there could be many years in between.  Children are not born on the same day unless you had those septuplets back in 1997, so this means there are not “check marks” in homeschooling. Its great that you did geography and astronomy (see #19) but you are not done - you have 4 or whatever more to go that need you to teach this subject again.

7.  Homeschooling is not perfect.  You will forget something to teach them but did you remember all of 7th grade? Life is hard and homeschooling is hard.  I pray daily for God to fill in the gaps because surely I cannot be the perfect teacher.  However, I do believe that every mother does know what is best for her children and when she asks God to direct her to teach her children how they are bent (Proverbs 22:6) it’s a win win (even if it takes years to see) because He is driving and He is faithful to restore and it will all work out.  Sometimes you will not see the fruit of your labors until close to the end.  Hang in there momma! I believe homeschooling is a wonderful experience and even with its flaws I still see it as the best option for learning in this day and age.
7a. Homeschooling will not produce perfect children spiritually, mentally and physically.  

8.  I would suggest skipping some of the Greek gods and other unnecessary parts of history.  We homeschool for many reasons.  Rather than spending months in the Greek gods, add the Bible stories and great teachings to ground your children in the word of God. Getting outside in nature is more important than Greek myths.  TAKE NATURE WALKS weekly! 

9.  Do not, I repeat: “DO NOT attempt to homeschool your children if you husband is not 200% behind you” if you do, it will be a train wreck.  You must as a couple, be 100% on the same page that God has called both of you to homeschool.  Ladies, no matter where your husband is spiritually, listen to his wisdom. If hubby says no to homeschooling, “DON’T HOMESCHOOL”.
9.a When you ask your husband to help you homeschool he will do it differently than you – Let him.

10. Don’t compare your homeschooling husband to other homeschooling husbands.  Been there, done that.  Some I won’t mention, I always thought, “Well he is such an amazing homeschooling husband” Psshhhh shaking my head…  “Yeah right” I have the real homeschooling husband right here (steady -strong -has flaws but is solid)

11.  When you are homeschooling a larger family it is hard to individualize each child.  For example, it seems you try to do things as a unit rather than individually.  This is smart really with a large group of children and to keep sane you really need to enact this methodology (like all learning to play piano, etc. one day you do lessons). However, you must remember all children are not the same and most like different things than their siblings and they need to have choices to express themselves.  This is hard as a homeschooling mom because you have to be most of these different outlets to all of these different children.

12.  When you take a leap of faith to sacrifice on this level, I really believe that satan has a bigger target on homeschooling families than others.  I do not say this prideful at all, I mean this very humbly.  I don’t think I am better than you because I homeschool. I am just saying that when you homeschool you are drawing a line of faith in the sand and stating, “This family takes seriously the responsibility to raise up their children for the Lord.” I know that the devil doesn’t like this one single bit.  He will try to distract mothers, he will try to attack fathers, and he will do his best to destroy marriages and more.  He puts thoughts into your head that you are doing a horrible job teaching your children and there must be a better person for the job.  He will find people that you can never measure up too so you loose your joy because you start comparing yourself to them. Gird your loins people with the belt of truth (the word) (Ephesians 6:14)!   satan is trying to kill and destroy anyone that is serving the Lord in an aggressive manner such as homeschooling.

13.  Homeschooling is flexible.  You can take the books with you so be darn sure if you are doing all of this hard work that you use the flexibility to explore and vacation to learn about other places all year long.  One year we spent 6 weeks in the Gulf of Mexico (dodged the challenging Michigan winter) and joined a sea lab to learn all about salt-water sea life.  Best school ever! 

14.  If you homeschool, don’t do cloth diapers ok.  I warned you.  See #1. Enough said
14a. There will always be someone that does more than you do.  There is always someone that is more creative and adds horrendously complex subjects to their lesson plans – let them!

15.  Homeschoolers are weird.  Yes, I said that.  Homeschooling moms are weird too.  This is ok.  I think we are cool and different than the mainstream (whatever that is) and I’m ok with this.  Just embrace your weirdness and go with it; you are homeschooling for a reason right?
15a.  However, be sure to expose your children to culture!  Teach your kids about social etiquette.  Have your children volunteer in the community.  Join a like minded church that supports homeschoolers.  We can introduce our children to all different cultures and walks of life and then come home to our four walls.  Invite interesting people to your dinner table frequently.  Make sure your compound isn't to Ruby Ridge/Koresh looking.  Welcome the community in to your home and love on them.

16. Homeschooling sometimes feels like it doesn’t get easier because we are getting older.  Do not panic that I said this.  I will say that I really have down pat how to teach a child to read and teach them what they need to know to graduate well.  I have gotten smarter (if you do not include these typos and grammatical errors) in these 18 years I would like to think.  I teach what is important and meaningful (I still have a lot to learn). I think it seems like it gets harder sometimes because we need stamina and energy to keep fighting the good fight, which brings me to

17.  You are home a lot during the younger years of homeschooling.  This can be boring, lonely, daunting and exhausting but it is just a season. Being home all the time will pass and then you wish you were still home all day.  If you want to be a successful homeschooling mom (meaning do it for more than 2 years) you need date nights EVERY week and you need alone time EVERY week.  I have older children now that can help watch the littles occasionally.  But, there are times when I cannot get away for a week or something and lets just go with the old adage (because its true) “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” (read this dads J) p.s. you need a lot of rest.  If I don’t get out I become like a caged animal…. Just ask my family.

18.  Even when you have “good teenagers” they are still teenagers.  Teens are toddlers in adult bodies at times but they are wonderful creatures.  Be sure to hug and love on your teens even more than your littles right now - they need you.

So far we have been very blessed with our teens but it is difficult having so many adults under one roof and getting used to all different schedules and opinions which we encourage.  It was easier when we were home all day and never had to go anywhere. It was blissful when everyone thought mom was really a saint.  Heck, I just started to sleep through the night about 3 years ago for the first time in like 16 years and now 2-3 teens are coming in from work at different hours or curfews etc.  So I am not getting a lot of sleep again. Refer back to #17
18a.  I birthed them therefore I do not teach them to drive a car or ride in said car while they drive.

the missing smoke detector has been replaced in the photo but was thrown due to burning toast

19.  Why on earth would I wake up 6 sleeping children in the middle of the stinking night to see a meteor shower that ends up with a few farting stars fizzling out.  Everyone is then wide-awake (not that song) and extremely hungry for a Thanksgiving size dinner at 3:41 am. Unless it’s going to be a spectacular phenomenon (Haven’t seen one yet) we are sleeping through the star show, thank you very much.
19a.  Sometimes I swear.  See #4

photo by Paige H.

20.  Older kids are super fun and you can take them on trips with you (2 photos above of recent trips).  We didn’t really do sports when the children were young (pro’s and con’s) but we do take them on trips when they are older.  Hiking trips, NYC, Colorado, Island genealogy trips and more.  Its fun to take just 1 or a few and really dialogue and just have a plain riot!
20a. Start college prep, ACT stuff early!  Better than college (yes I said this) TEACH your children A TRADE!

should say 3rd load

21.  Not everyone will understand why you homeschool.  This is ok-move on

22.  Don’t put a homeschool family or leader on a pedestal.  They are P.O.H. “Plain old humans”.  They will fail and then you will loose heart in faith.  Homeschoolers are just like you, sometimes worse than, with many imperfections.  Keep Jesus on a pedestal, no one else.
22a.  Be careful what/who you are reading on the internet re: homeschooling.  Do not start to "follow" a person.  Follow Jesus only

23.  Get outside everyday, even in the winter, for at least 10 minutes.  This includes you mom!

24.  God made Sunday a day of rest for a reason.  Embrace this day!  Go out to eat, get outside, take a nap.  No housework allowed or laborious jobs.  This is a day to relax and recharge! Sunday's can be the hardest day of the week trying to get your family ready to be somewhere on time. Try not to scream at the children in the car on the way to church and then great elder Dan with a southern' sweet smile because your children will be like, "Huh? Who is this lady?"Be sure to PLAN AHEAD for Sunday.  Have everyone lay (or lie - don't care if its the wrong grammar) their clothes out, get socks and shoes together etc.  Have your meal almost prepared if you plan on eating at home so that you can have a peaceful day as well.  **EASY SUNDAY DINNER**  Roast in the crockpot or oven with potatoes or carrots (Make enough for the evening to reheat).  I always make an easy dessert (Betty Crocker easy cake or something)  **BEST EASY SUNDAY DINNER**:  Eat out, yes.  However, with babies, eating out is more work than eating at home. 

25.  Homeschooling can be hard on a marriage.  Be sure not to “categorize” your husband with the children.  Treat hubby as a separate entity and put him first.  This can be very challenging:  See 9 and 9a.  Be sure to be fun, if you know what I mean - Ladies, can I be frank with you a minute? You MUST try in some manner to resemble the person your husband married in some fashion even if it is 25 years later!  Keep yourself up girls!  Shave the mustache, pluck the chin hairs and be fun in the bedroom.  When hubby comes home try not be look like a train wreck with fur growing on your teeth!  Put on some lipstick and be sure you have showered for the day! After a long day home with children you are tired, I get that... BUT, love on your hubby in the bedroom even if its just for him (know what I mean)!  

26.  Pace yourself!!!  I repeat, PACE yourself!  If you want to go the distance (I still have 11 more years to finish to make 29 years of homeschooling and graduate the rest of my kitty cats – Lord willing) do not use all of your energy up front!  Teach smart, live simple and do not over schedule yourself with too many activities or distractions.  Save some energy for the end!

27. Homeschooling is the hardest job you will ever cherish, love, want to scream from the rooftops that it was/is the best and most precious time of your life.   Even after all of these hard truths of educating your children at home I would do it all over again. Each time I graduate one I cry the 2 months before when I look at them finishing up their schoolwork. I gave them roots and I want them to fly strong.  If you are considering homeschooling, I would say, "Go for it" as long as hubby feels the same.

28. Give yourself permission to discard the expensive curiculuum you just bought because its not working.  Buyer beware:  Just because something worked well for one child, it might not work well for the next.  Its ok to move on and try something new.  Also, beware of "one size fits all" curiculuum.  If its too good to be true, it always is!

29.  "You can do it all, you just cannot do it all at once..."  This is truly my favorite quote from Maria Shriver that I read in my "young motherhood days..."  It applies to now as well - You may be able to do the best nature study program this year in your homeschool, down to defining all of the native birds to your state... - However, you may have to put your home-Ec class on the side for this very same year... IT is OK if you do this... !

30.  This list is endless and will be added to and can be changed at any time and I cannot be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if I change it, so there.... And reread the disclaimers above AND I have my force fields on at all times! xo

31.  Quit reading trashy romance novels...  Quit reading ANY romance novels!  Your husband should not and can not be compared to these fictitious men! Quit WATCHING romance movies... #samedeal AKA:  You may have to pick out your own Birthday/Mother's Day presents if you are super picky... This is OK and then you give what you picked out to your husband and he wraps the gifts up with the children... All our happy xo

32.  Holidays, especially Mother's Day, can set many young, new and old moms up with HUGE expectations of what this day should look like if her family, "REALLY loves her" - ask me how I know.  Your children may or may not bring you breakfast in bed - this will most likely not look like a breakfast tray from Pinterest...  Your family loves you every day, not just on a "Hallmark" type holiday.  I just bet, your dear husband may not even know how important these kind of days are for you - (tell him, don't hint and expect him to get it) and reread #31 

33.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing” Oh ladies! How true is this for all ages of women?? It starts at the elementary age, middle school, high school, college, marriage, career, motherhood, and empty nesters… It NEVER stops with women it seems. This competition, as quiet as it can be, can be found e v e r y w h e r e… Even in the church. A lot of this pressure we create ourselves… Some of this pressure is “put” on us by other women that we are not “busy” enough or not “doing” something important as them or yada yada… So today, let’s make a pact shall we? Let’s STOP this game! Let’s just YOU and I pledge to just be ourselves in a world where most people seem to want to live someone else’s life or be a different person. I want to be plain old Angela in a world where we f e e l we have to do what everyone else is doing… Lets just be us shall we? You be you and I will be me and we can encourage one another to be who God created us to be XO #eternity

In the spirit of farming, family, faith and coffee,

Angela Kuncaitis


Huskerbabe said...

In our twentieth year of homeschooling, raising our adopted children who used to be our grandchildren. So I would like to add one for your list. #Not all homeschooled children grow up to love Jesus, no matter how you prayed and taught them. This means that sometimes life plans change and you end up raising more kids in your twilight years. And if you are smart you thank God everyday for a chance to teach these little ones about God rather than knowing they were left in a trash bag behind an abortion center.

Jennyr said...

This is a fantastic post! I did not 200% ;) but always wanted to. I teach 100 8th graders American history now that my children are all grown. I try to make a difference in the public school setting, but would still choose to homeschool if I had the opportunity. I now have a grandchild and will save this post for my daughter if she decides at some point to homeschool.

Alice said...

I'll buy you that pumpkin spiced latte!

Somewhere in GR and name a time and place--Sundays are taken--but any other day

You know me, right?

Cheryl Ann said...

You know, as a public school teacher, I admire you for homeschooling. I teach 3rd grade and last year's class nearly did me in! This year's class isn't any better. Out of my 10 sick days per year, I've already used 6 of them! And, it is only the 3rd month of school!

Let's face it, as a public school teacher, I CANNOT discipline any of my students. The teacher next to me was disciplined by the principal for putting a student in time out for 1 minute! 1 minute!!! I have a drug child in my room and he CANNOT sit still, cannot focus, and runs around the room constantly. REALLY? How much learning do you think is going on with my other 24 students? NONE.

While my own two children went to public school, and then went to college (one is a teacher herself), I took them to museums, missions, planetariums, zoos, etc. on my weekends. They are well rounded young people now with children of their own.

Still, I admire you for your efforts. Just think of the alternative (public school) where teachers are extremely hampered and we have to put up with the schenanigans of students who are in our classrooms.
~~Cheryl Ann~~ I WISH I could take my kids outside, but we are so busy test-prepping them, that there is NO time!

Amy said...

This is great! Thanks! I homeschool 5, and am all about your list.

Tonya said...

You have inspired this young homeschool mama this morning with your post! I am past the excited and idyllic stage and just started to feel doubts and weariness.... Thank you for sharing! We need more seasoned veterans to share in order for us to stay the course :) Blessings to you guys, and thanks for sharing that sometimes you swear, because so do I, and I am all about keepin it real! There is freedom and mercy in HIM, thank goodness!!

Angie Forte said...

Love this list and, after 17 years, I agree each item listed is absolutely true!!
Angie :)

Julie said...

Such a great post! Thanks for the permission to skip the Greek gods study. I was dreading that. :)
So glad you're blogging again!

dayna64 said...

I loved this post. I'm not a homeschooling mom but there have been times that I wanted to but I don't think I have "it" to be one. I did homeschool my son , as a young teen, but he had too many learning disabilities that I had to put him back in school. My daughter, well she's my daughter, LOL. a bit hyperactive and I'm also a much older mom when I had her. I do not have the energy to homeschool her. Keep up the good work !

Carmen Ferber said...

I homeschooled most of my 16 children (13 are adopted) and the ones I homeschooled to the end of high school have definitely fared the best! I loved your post- all so very true and relevant. Life is an adventure and I thank God for the privilege of living the adventure with Him and the children He has given us. We have since started a homeschool support school (my husband is a teacher and a huge supporter of homeschooling). We have children 2 or 3 days per week for the academics and parents enjoy their children the other days. It is a great solution for families who need more than one income but do not want their children in the public system. Blessings to you, Carmen

Carmen Ferber said...

I homeschooled for over 20 years- most of my 16 children (13 we adopted). The ones who graduated from homeschooling and went on to university fared the best all around. I thank God for the privilege of this incredible adventure every day. My husband is a teacher and a huge advocate for homeschooling. We now run a homeschool support school (2 to 3 days a week option) so that parents who need 2 incomes can still homeschool their children and keep them out of the public system. Your post is so very true and relevant. Blessings, Carmen

Hodgepodge Acres said...

Great post!
I found it very encouraging. :)
Our oldest started K4 in '91, and this year #8 in K... I still have a ways to go. This mama is getting tired.
As I watch so many friends finish up, it is nice to know I am not alone in my marathon!

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