10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling

Ever wish you could go back and redo something? Yup, I’ve been there! 🙂 I’m a former homeschool student and now college graduate. Here are my thoughts on what I wish we knew before we began our homeschool journey!

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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling

1. You don’t need textbooks.

When we started homeschooling, we literally had no idea what we were doing. We used A Beka based on recommendations. A Beka is a highly advanced, quality curriculum. Still, it was a very structured curriculum. For subjects like history and science especially, I wish we we knew that you don’t have to have textbooks to learn properly.

2. Be flexible.

Using a structured curriculum, we always felt pressure to complete the day’s work, which sometimes lasted longer than it should have. If you’ve been working on fractions for over an hour and it’s still not going in the brain, sometimes it’s okay to take a break and start fresh tomorrow. Flexibility is key to saving your sanity.

3. Don’t compare yourself with public school.

The comparison trap is so easy to fall into. You are not a public school. Public schools are meant to teach 20-30 kids. Homeschools are meant to teach a fraction of that. Your child may not learn like everyone else does or they may not be at the same pace as everyone else – and that’s okay.

4. Don’t compare yourself to other homeschoolers.

The comparison game doesn’t stop with public school, either. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to other homeschoolers – the ones at co-op, the neighbors, or the ones on Instagram. Everyone who homeschools knows there are good days where everyone is having fun learning and there are bad days with tears. 🙂

5. Every child is different. Homeschooling allows you the ability to customize!

I am a visual learner. If I can see something, I will more often than not be able to figure it out on my own. My sister is a hands-on learner. She enjoys breaking things down visually, step by step, and doing hands-on projects. When my family started homeschooling, we knew about the different ways we learned but we didn’t realize the many different ways we could truly personalize education.

It’s okay if something isn’t working! I personally enjoyed A Beka and Saxon for math, but I know it is not for everyone. Others really enjoy Math U See. I personally don’t like watching instructional math videos, but I loved videos for science (The 101 Series).

Homeschooling can be customized to fit your needs and there are so many learning styles and teaching methods out there. Whether you like structure or are eclectic, homeschooling looks different for everyone. There’s also no one perfect curriculum for everyone, and what works for one person might not work for someone else.

6. There is a lot more that matters more than grades.

In college, I had to keep up a certain GPA to maintain scholarships. I just graduated a few months ago and now? No one cares what my GPA was. I understand the need to keep up grades for sports or scholarships, and in high school grades can will affect college scholarships, but in the end, it’s important to remember that grades don’t matter. Now that I’m a college graduate, it really doesn’t matter whether I graduated cum laude or summa cum laude.

7. Take a break sometimes.

Let’s face it: there’s no sugar coating it, sometimes we have rough days. Whether it’s from burnout or a frustrating concept, it’s okay to have a break sometimes. Have an educational movie day. Get outside and go to the park. Bake something. Turn on an audiobook.

8. People will judge. You’ll get asked about socialization all the time. It’s okay! 🙂

Relatives, friends, and random people will quiz your kiddos on subjects they don’t know anything about. I’ve met people who are genuinely curious about how homeschooling works and what it’s like, and I’ve met people who are just rude about it. No matter what you do, people are going to judge. Shake it off.

9. You will not be perfect.

A different curriculum for every subject for every kid – sounds easy right?

This is so easy to say and so difficult to remember: you will not be perfect. I’m a perfectionist. With all this talk about different styles and different methods, I get it – expectation isn’t always reality!

Even with your family’s favorite curriculum, there will still be bad days. There will be frustrating days. You won’t be able to go on every field trip or do every craft. Homeschooling is not a perfect solution. We’re imperfect, and that’s okay. Through the frustrating days, just keep moving forward and learn from your mistakes.

10. Remember your “why.”

On rough days or just long days, remember WHY you started homeschooling. This looks different for everyone, but by remembering the reasons why you began homeschooling, it can make the rough days bearable. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.

For us, one of the reasons why I loved homeschooling was the flexibility it offered. Yes, it was very frustrating at times to Google a concept because I didn’t feel the textbook explained it well. But the ability to learn at my own pace was very valuable to me, and helped me greatly throughout college and my business. Homeschooling allowed me to graduate from college early and debt-free and helped me foster the tools to run a successful business.

Also, it can be easy to get wrapped in boring habit or frustration. Keep end goals in mind. Whether it’s the end of the lesson plan, end of the topic, end of the school year or homeschooling high school, keeping end goals in mind can offer a fresh perspective. 🙂

What do you wish you would have known before you started homeschooling?

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Samantha is an entrepreneur and a former homeschool student from Indiana, USA. When not blogging, Samantha can be found reading about WWII, trying to speak Hebrew, and wasting time on Pinterest. Her work can be found on Free Homeschool Deals, Unigo, True Aim Education, Encouraging Moms at Home, and more.

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