No-Regret Homeschooling – Part 2

Last week I posted Part 1 of No-Regret Homeschooling. Last week and this week are things I’ve spoken about in interviews I’ve done but haven’t gotten on the site before. Today’s is about after we make the decision to homeschool and stepping into it.

Moving Forward with No Regrets

After we make the decision to homeschool, insecurities start to creep in. Yes, we love our children, but is that enough? I’m not a teacher. I don’t get math. I am already busy. Won’t it cost a lot to do it well? What if I can’t do it? What if what I have to give my child isn’t enough?

Here comes our next step towards no-regret homeschooling. We need to make a decision on how to approach homeschooling. We can’t let panic force us into a wrong choice here. We need to choose with the confidence we built with our choice to homeschool in the first place.

The fear decision would be to imitate what the schools do, the fear being that your child will get behind and not learn what the kids in school are learning. This leads to desks in rows, thick overpriced textbooks, very expensive online schools, intensive all-day online programs, and other such stress-inducing options.

The fear is that what you offer your child might be somehow less than what they would get in school. But, remember, you’ve already decided that what they have to offer in school isn’t what you want for your child. If school is what you wanted for your child, you’d send them there. If you’ve already decided not to send your child to school, why would you want to replicate it?

Then there is the self-doubt, looking at others and comparing them to yourself. These other homeschoolers have their stuff together. Their kids are so accomplished. The fear-based decision would be to just imitate them, hoping to replicate their children’s success. While there’s nothing wrong with gleaning wisdom from those who have gone before, there’s a big problem with just doing what others are doing simply because you don’t want to take responsibility for the decision yourself.

We have to deal with the underlying fear of the responsibility of educating your children. Educating your children is not separate from parenting them. We love them. We do our best to guide them. They ALL will make mistakes because we’re all raising humans. One mistake, one bad decision has ruined some lives, but a loving family doesn’t lose it at that point. A loving parent doesn’t have their identity wrapped up in their children. Their children’s success is a joy to them, and their failures aren’t an embarrassment, but a place to reach out in love to help them back up and on their way. Regardless of whether your child goes to Harvard or community college or skips college altogether, what they do or don’t do is not a reflection of your self-worth.

Love keeps no record of wrong doing. Love doesn’t hold anything your child does against them. Love forgives. Love keeps its arms open. Love doesn’t say, “After all I did for you…” Love says, “I would do it all again.”

So, let’s look at the flip side of deciding how we will approach homeschooling: the love-based decision. You love your child. You know your child best. You know your family. Your decision as to how you will approach homeschooling will be as unique as your child and your family.

I like to say that homeschooling is just an extension of parenting. You have been teaching your child their whole life. You taught them their first words. You taught them what a tree was. You taught them how to use utensils. You’ve been teaching them all along. Why should it stop now? You were made for this.

Each family has its own unique culture. Each family is made up of different people, so each family interacts in different ways. There are some general categories such as those families who run their lives by schedule and enjoy each day being the same, and those who like adventure and flying by the seat of their pants. Some families have movie nights, and some read aloud to each other. Some families are large and have lots of extended family nearby for lots of gatherings, and some are small and spend most of their time by themselves.

We like to categorize everything like that, but the truth is life isn’t that neat and orderly. We’re all a mix of lots of different things. And that mix in each of us as humans mixes with the mix in the other humans we live with, creating our family secret sauce that no one else has.

Your parenting is unique. No one else’s home is just like yours. It can’t be. It’s made up of different people. You may have things in common with them, but you have different families. You have different traditions, customs, not just big things like holidays, but the day-to-day traditions and customs. Do you rise early without an alarm and open the kids’ bedroom doors with a song on your lips to wake and ready them for the day? Do you drag out of bed on the fourth snooze after your kids are already up and cerealed and watching TV?

We all do things differently. My family sits down together for a homemade breakfast each morning, but lunchtime is a free-for-all-survival-style-every-man-for-himself experience. To each his own.

Our families are different. Our parenting is different. Each relationship is unique, so the parents’ relationship with each child is different, even within the same family. People are unique. You are unique. Your kids are unique. Your family is unique. Your parenting is unique to you, and your homeschooling will be unique to you.

That’s the point of all that. Be your own homeschoolers. Just like we don’t want to look to the school and copy that, we don’t want to look to others to copy them. They aren’t you. They will never be you. Their kids are not yours. You don’t want your kids to be their kids. You want your kids to be themselves. Let your kids be themselves and don’t try to push them into someone else’s mold.

I hope you can agree that you want your kids to be raised to be all they can be, not all that someone else has decided they should be, including you. Love your kids enough to want them to grow into who they were created to be, not your idea of who they should be.

We need to be clear on our love motivation. We can’t let selfishness creep in and start looking at ourselves. We need to make sure we’re free of those self-doubts and insecurities that say my kid’s success in the eyes of the world determines my worth.

We need to homeschool out of love. Love is selfless.

We can homeschool without regret because our motivation is love and love never fails.

Want to read more?

Here’s the full pdf to download for FREE, No-Regret Homeschooling.

No-Regret Homeschooling

Below is the first part to a mini ebook I wrote on No-Regret Homeschooling. If you know someone waffling on the decision to homeschool, consider sharing this resource with them to encourage them.

Making the No-Regret Decision to Homeschool

This isn’t going to be long because this doesn’t have to be complicated. You are thinking about homeschooling, so you already have reasons to consider it. Or maybe you’ve already decided it’s what you want to do, but aren’t fully convinced it’s what you should do. Many reasons that push families to homeschool are fear-based: fear over what they are teaching at schools, fear over how your child has been or might be treated, fear over violence, and now fear over disease spreading through schools.

I want to offer you a different perspective. Personally, I always want to avoid any fear-based decision. I don’t want fear ruling my life. I want my life ruled by love instead. I want you to look at the decision to homeschool from the perspective opposite of fear– one of love.

Who loves your child more, you or the state? Homeschooling is a simple decision when you look at it from the perspective of love. No one loves your child more than you do. No one is going to care about your child more than you do.

Yes, there are awesome teachers out there that care about their students and are experts in their field, but they can’t ever care about your child the way you do. No matter how dedicated they are, they can’t tailor their day and their curriculum to fit your child. They can’t know your child the way you do.

You, however, even if you have multiple children and other demands, are more equipped to adapt and mold your child’s education in the way that’s best for them.

Curriculum standards are one-size-fits-all, but we know each child is different. Each human is unique, even identical twins. School could never give them the love and care that you can.

If you decide to homeschool out of love, then you will not fail your child. Love never fails. That’s a timeless truth. If you are homeschooling out of fear, you could fail. If your only motivation is to keep them away from school and not to provide and support your child’s education, then your child will be at a loss.

Getting that “why” down will be the most important step towards no-regret homeschooling. Homeschool your children simply because you love them. That love will never change, so your motivation will never change. There won’t be waffling in your decision.

It’s pretty simple to feel confident that you love your children more than the state does. You can apply the same confidence towards anyone who questions your decision to homeschool. You can shrug it off without offense. While they may care about your family, you can know that they don’t love your child as much as you do. No one else has that parent-child bond with your child.

*Deciding to send your child to school is not a sign of not loving your child. But, if that’s your decision, make it out of love and not fear!

Read the next part

Eat the Frog

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

-Mark Twain

This is a quote about doing the hard thing. If there’s something you don’t want to do, do it first and get it done. This was my philosophy behind putting poetry first each year in our reading courses. I think poetry is hard. My husband loves it. I don’t get it. But, it’s good for our brains and souls. It’s behind all the songs you love. It’s the words of the Psalms.

But still, poetry isn’t my thing. I can appreciate a good limerick. Making up those fun rhymes is the extent of my poetic ability. So, I do it first. It’s why you put laundry in first thing in the morning. Get it done by getting it done now.

While math starts off with an easy review at the beginning of the year, reading starts with poetry. I’m writing this post to encourage you to not skip it. Get it done. It will pass. My husband has been working on making videos for the poetry sections so that there are audio versions and to help with comprehension. I even jumped on one video to read a favorite poem of mine. See, even this math girl can like poetry. You can too!

So, while you, as the teacher and administrator of the school in your home, have every right to skip things and decide what works for your family and what doesn’t, I would encourage you to not just let your kids skip the hard things. That’s not a lesson you want learned. Let’s not encourage others to follow our lead if we don’t bother with it.

The more you skip things, the more your kids will want to skip things. It’s a slippery slope. If they know they have to do all their assignments, they won’t ask to skip things. They’ll know they have to get it done. If they know they can sometimes get you to let them just skip something, they will ask and push to get away with what they can.

Let’s go for it and push through. That doesn’t mean you everything gets understood. That doesn’t mean you have a breakthrough and love poetry. It means you did your best and didn’t give up. Eat the frog.

 

Just for Fun – Old English

  • Over the years at different times we’ve offered Just for Fun classes. They are FREE one-hour Zoom meetings on a topic, typically about other countries or languages. If we have a good turnout, we’ll try to do more over the summer. We usually say ages 8 and up for these things. Feel free to attend as a family. Parents are welcome.
  • The topic for this Just for Fun class is Old English. Our British Literature students have had some introduction to Old English. Beowulf is discussed lots in the Old English class.
  • These classes are taught by my husband, known as Mr. G. One of our sons, Peter,  joined him this time. Mr. G occasionally pops up in the curriculum. Your child might have seen him in one of the poetry videos, or maybe in a video on verbs or fractions.
 

New Links

Here are some new links on the site.

New Offline Course

Literature and Composition I  (formerly known as English 8) is now available as an offline course.

  • There are two readers and two workbooks, Language Arts and Vocabulary.
  • These books will match the updated version of the course which will replace what’s on the site on July 4th. (The old course link will still be available after that time.)

Algebra 1 is on its way soon with an offline version and an updated course.

New Parent-Submitted Courses

New courses from an EP mom: History of Rock (under music) and Crash Course film making (under art) on the “Links to Other Courses” page. She also made a high school English course for her son with learning disabilities. (Reminder: we don’t control content on “other courses.”)

High School Planning

High school/College page has some new links on transcripts, as well as a planner for those wanting to plot out their four-year course direction.

Our resources for teens page has a planner for teens if you want to start encouraging your child to maintain a schedule.

Summer School

Summer Study Options – We have summer study books for those finishing up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd levels (buy or print). The page also has links to other ideas and options. I’ve added a link to a character training pack, a summer study schedule, and some new copywork for those who have already used what we’ve linked to before.