Advice I would give myself if I could turn back time on homeschooling
If I could turn back time on homeschooling, there would be some things that I would love if I could tell them to myself before I start and they are the following:
1. Chillax woman
Definition of Chillax - Chill and relax together makes a stronger word.
If there is one thing I know for certain it is that me being a perfectionist does not help anything in homeschooling.
Don't understand me wrong, letting go of being a perfectionist and not planning are two completely different things.
Because I'm a perfectionist I want everything to be right and everyone to do everything right. That did put allot of pressure on the kids, because I expected too much of them in the beginning. I wanted them to understand everything and to run with the curriculum we are following at the pace they set.
I did not realize then that it was not necessary to keep to the schedule in the beginning, because we are unfamiliar with the way everything works and we still had to find the shortcuts that makes it easier.
We also still had so many new things to learn like
- following the new curriculum
- new text books
- the program we are working on
- how the program works
- writing the tests and exams
And I wanted everything to work right from day 1.
What I would tell myself if I could turn back time on homeschooling regarding perfectionism:
Chillax woman, Rome was not built in a day and neither can your home school be. Take it one day at a time and soon you will see the results of the hard work you and your kids put in. Don't be so strict.
I love reading and naturally, I expect my kids to love reading.
When we started, they did not read unless I made them read. Especially the little lady who showed some signs of dyslexia.
Reading to them is not the same as letting them read.
Reading is the most important part of homeschooling. If they can't read the work in their text books, they can't continue.
What I would tell myself if I could turn back time on homeschooling about reading:
Let them grow at their own pace when they read. Don't expect them to be able to read like you, they are still learning and will get there.
Writing is just as important as reading.
I found great advice from other home school parents from the blogs I follow, because my children seriously needed help with writing.
The little lady was holding her pens and pencils completely wrong and we had to fix that first before her writing improved.
The Big boy on the other hand was writing unreadable. This actually helped him in the tests when he was still in school, because the teachers also struggled to read what he wrote and sometimes they thought he spelled something right when it was wrong.
What I would tell myself about writing if I could turn back time on homeschooling
Their writing won't be perfect. They did not get the attention they needed and the more they practice, the better it will become.
In the beginning, we did not give ourselves time to have some fun-time.
We worked through the textbooks and did not even finish the week's work by the time the week was finished.
We worried that when time comes for the exams they won't be ready and their work won't be up to standard.
Every week we tried our best to get through the work, but it seemed as if the harder we tried, the more we failed.
I got upset, they got upset - being upset does not help anything, it makes you go slower instead of faster.
This made us think that there was no time to do anything fun, we just had to learn, learn and learn and never finish the textbooks.
That is the danger of being textbook hooked - the work is allot and there is no time for fun.
What I would tell myself if I could turn back time on homeschooling:
Again, chillax woman, they are going to get better at finishing the work set out for the week. If you spend one day on art and having fun, they will still be ready for the exams. The fact is that they remember more of what they learn when they homeschool and this is the biggest advantage, because they preparation for the exams is not as intense.
Fun-time and learning time can be combined. With all the homeschooling blogs I follow, there is never a dull moment - combining learning and playing together into one.
I am so thankful for Confessions of a Homeschooler - her site was the first one I found when I started homeschooling, that is why I will always refer to Erica again and again.
There I learned that if I schedule our homeschool and keep to the schedule, we will get through the work. Also I learned about variation - not just concentrating on one subject the entire day. Work a bit of everything into one day. Although I struggled with this a bit with my son in the beginning, because he has ADHD - getting his attention is one thing, keeping it a completely different thing. Trying to change his attention from one subject to the next was a nightmare - but that changed.
This book 101 ways to help you get organized (Free) is also a great help.
What I would tell myself about keeping a schedule if I could turn back time on homeschooling:
Don't try to keep to the schedule too much, take it one day at a time and eventually you will grow into the schedule. If you miss one thing today, it's not the end of the world. Tomorrow you try again and in the end it will all fall into place.
6. They can do it themselves
This one is very important.
In the beginning I tried to do everything for them, because I saw that they are so far behind and not picking up the pace as it should be to get through all the work.
For example they had to give the answers and I would type it in for them. Because I typed faster than they did, we did save some time, but they did not practice their typing. Although we did set some time apart for them to practice typing I still helped during the day when they had to type in the answers (except when they were writing tests or exams)
In the end they learned allot faster to type than I did when I was in school. The main reason I think is because they can go on at their own pace where we had to keep to the pace of the teacher. My son already types 25 words per minute, which I think is a great accomplishment if you consider that he only started typing 2 years ago.
What I would tell myself if I could turn back time on homeschooling:
Leave them, let them do it themselves. They may not be as fast as they should be, but if you leave them, they will learn faster than they do when you help them.
Fighting with the kids does not help anything. I used to get upset, mostly again because we did not get through the week's work by the end of the week. This did not help me anything and it did not help the kids anything either.
What I would tell my old self if I could turn back time on homeschooling:
When everyone is upset, no-one can continue as fast as they can when they are happy.
Happiness helps us to give more, do more and accomplish more.
Uplifting a child's self esteem and the more you tell them that they are doing great work, the more they believe in themselves and the more they try to do it better.
Because they are happy, they strive to do their best.
If I could turn back time on homeschooling would I not do it?
I would still homeschool, but definitely if I could turn back time on anything, I would start homeschooling my kids from the beginning and not even put them in a public school.
A question you might have bothering you
While you are reading, I'm sure that you have one question in mind: Are we getting through the textbooks according to the schedule set out for the week?
Yes, we sometimes finish them a day or two before the week is finished and then we do some fun-time or sometimes start with the next week's work so that we can be fully prepared for the exams.
Quotes from the kids:
I asked them what they would tell their old selves if they could turn back time on homeschooling and these were their responses:
Little lady: You may feel scared at first, but in the end you will LOVE IT.
This she said when I told her I'm writing about it on the blog, but her first response when I asked her what she would tell her old self she said: "You should have started homeschooling earlier."
Big boy: It might be scary and new in the beginning, but in the end it's the BEST THING EVER!
Conclusion from their responses:
As you can gather from their responses and my post, we were scared of starting homeschooling in the beginning, but now that we have been doing it for 2 and a half years, we realize that it was the best decision we ever made.
I must also admit, because I was such a perfectionist, I did not help them with being scared of this either - even they started to think this is not going to work, we will never keep up.
They kept on saying I'm a 100% mom (what marks are concerned), but that has changed - now it is I'm a 100% mom, but if you do 80% it is OK. (At this stage - nothing less than that and I don't think I'll budge on that one ;-))
Big boy's writing has improved so much that they won't even recognize that it is him writing something if they would see it at school.
Little girl is becoming a math genius and loves English. (The two subjects she hated the most in school)
Guaranteed: They know allot more than they would have if they were still in the public school. Not because the public school system is not working, but because they are getting the individual attention they need.
Feel free to leave a comment below:
If you can think of the biggest thing you would tell your old self before you started homeschooling, knowing what you know now, what would you say.
Feel free to leave a comment below and share.
Read other posts at I Homeschool network:
Going back in time, learning from our old selves, helps us to keep positive and realize we can only get better from here on.
You can read allot more interesting posts at the link below:
IHomeschool network: Advice for my younger self