Most moms have a pretty good idea of how things should be, especially when it comes to homeschooling. I recall, over 18 years ago, when we considered homeschooling, visiting 2 homeschool homes and thinking how we could make homeschooling work for us. Then I bought the bell-and-whistles-full-curriculum package for each child and I, in my idealistic hopes, thought that this was a guarantee for success.
When we started homeschooling, my eldest child, starting grade 4, resisted, refused, fussed and struggled about the work, and instead of taking it really slow, and cutting back the work to a more manageable load, I pressured, punished and persisted in my attempt to “make it work”. It was a disaster and I felt like such a failure, not only as a teacher, but as a mom. You see, homeschooling is a relationship, and when it doesn’t work, for whatever reason, relationships suffer.
Here’s my advice —
Find what works for your child in your home. Adapt, adjust, adopt, add, and amend your approach to fit your child’s learning style and needs.
Please remember that the curriculum was created by an individual, no matter how clever or qualified, who prepared a package for the average child and the general aims of the educational institution. It will not suit every one, all the time. When it does not suit your child, or your family lifestyle, or your parenting style, work with what works and adapt or adjust, abandon or ignore the rest.
Yes, you may put the book back on the shelf that no one enjoys, or stop halfway through a project that causes meltdowns, even abandon the package if it doesn’t meet your family’s needs. Pushing on will not achieve much if your children resist. It will seem like you are pushing a huge boulder, in pouring rain, up a muddy mountain path! Well, that’s how I felt many days … I sat in tears and wondered what was wrong with me or my child.
When I finally found the courage to follow my own leading and use the schedule and package as a guideline, I felt such a relief. The peace and joy returned, and my kids began to flourish. The less I pressured, the more they blossomed. The more informal I became in my approach, the more they absorbed and contributed. The more I simply offered options, the more my kids created and expressed themselves.
A homeschool education is never about learning information. It is about relationships, life skills, character and values.
I know a few homeschool moms that have several unused curriculums and packages sitting gathering dust on their bookshelves. It is an expensive waste, and often they speak of the guilt of their impulsive buying. I would recommend you create your own version of homeschooling with what you already have. Adapt it or add to it. At the very worst, sell the stuff you really can’t use and use that money to make more meaningful purchases. There are wonderful opportunities on Facebook groups to advertise and sell your unwanted stuff, and to buy books and programs, second-hand, for good prices.
It is easier than you think to create your own eclectic package for your children, and there is a lot available for free on the Internet. You simply need to find what they need to learn and offer them the options. Give your children options, choices, a wide and generous education. Find what delights them and let them lead the way.
Don’t despair when things are imperfect. It is simply a signal to adjust, or amend your approach.