Our youngest child has tidied her desk, sorted her shelves, and packed her best work into a box to go into the attic to be kept. She has tidied her wardrobe and drawers and is preparing to go off to Bible School for six months. It feels momentous, huge and scary.
For me, not her.
It’s 27½ years since we took our oldest child out of school and started homeschooling. We were living in England at that time and if you wanted to homeschool you just informed the authorities and that was it.
How I Started Homeschooling
I went to the local bookshop and splashed out thirty pounds on a set of hardback readers that I really loved and had used in school when I was teaching. I also bought a mathematics teaching manual.
That was it. The readers, a mathematics manual and a library card. We already had the stationery, art and craft supplies in. Then over the years, I spent money on good books, rather than on curriculum. That was a good move.
All this started in early 1985 when our children were six and three, and I was pregnant with our third child. I started homeschooling simply, and had a simple routine. This worked so well, that I didn’t really deviate much from it over the years; I just refined it as our family first grew, and then started to shrink again as the children grew up.
I shared my experience with other mothers, I taught and guided new homeschoolers when they were starting off. Finally, I described it in great detail in parts of my Successful Homeschooling Made Easy course. This was a system that worked for me and for every other homeschooling mother I taught it to over the years.
It’s been a wonderful time of homeschooling. I always say that homeschooling isn’t hard. Maybe I should say that it doesn’t need to be hard.
Life is hard. It can be very hard at times; we may face financial difficulties, health problems, bereavement, heartbreak, daily grind, complicated relationships, and more.
Being a mother can be hard, too. But it’s worth it.
And homeschooling is the fun part of life. Or at least, it can be.
What I Would Do Differently
It’s fashionable to list what you would do differently if you could start again. And this thought has got me wondering about myself. What would I do differently? Not much really. But there are a few things I would change.
1. I would resist saying ‘hurry up’ to little people. I would try to go at their slower pace and just enjoy the moment.
2. I would absolutely banish the word “should” from my thought life.
3. I would employ a cleaner for short times when things were really hectic – for example when we had a new baby in the house. It would be an investment.
4. I would have insisted more firmly on our children being homeschooled instead of letting our first two children decide if they wanted to go to school or not. Children can’t really make that decision for themselves, especially when they are younger.
5. I would have concentrated more on learning and education and not worried about passing exams with our first two children. With our youngest three we were much more confident; we decided that they would not go to school and we chose the non-exam route for them. Both these decisions were good ones and the children were happy. The fact that they didn’t have school-leaving exams did not affect their ability to enter university or get well-paid, technical jobs. But it did allow them to enjoy their homeschooling and teen years a bit more, I think.
6. I would have worried less about ‘making good memories’ for the children and I would be concentrated more on enjoying each moment for its own sake. Children never remember what you expect or hope that they will remember, unfortunately. So it’s a waste of time to try and engineer this.
I am still deeply involved in all things homeschooling and mothering as things have come full circle now, and I am helping my daughter as she prepares to homeschool her nearly-five-year-old son. So much fun ahead of them – so much fun!
And if you would like me to help you with homeschooling, please join me at www.SuccessfulHomeschoolingMadeEasy.com