Sunday, July 14, 2013

Homeschool - ideals vs. reality

"Hey buddy, let's sit down and look at this book together.  It's going to teach you how to READ"!  These were the words this eager first time homeschool mom uttered to my active, wiggly then four year old boy.  I was sure he was ready.  After all, he'd learned all his letters at 18 months.  Surely he could begin deciphering the sounds and would be reading at a 3rd grade level by the end of the week, right?

Wrong!  I'm still pretty sure he could have learned to read, but he was not the least bit interested.  LEGOS and cars held greater sway over him than putting letters together to form words.  That would require sitting still...something his four year old self just didn't have time for.

So I put the book away and waited.  Six months later we gave it another go and he was reading fluently within a few weeks.  The difference?  He was ready.

We all start homeschooling with preconceived ideas.  Some of those ideas are good, some not so good and some just downright crazy.  We may picture ourselves sitting around the kitchen table, supplies organized and kids listening attentively while mom teaches vast amounts of knowledge to eager learners.  Reality may look more like a table strewn with papers, crayons and juice boxes.  One kid is listening (probably the Type A first born), the middle child is standing on his head next to his chair and the toddler is pulling magazines off the shelf onto his head.  

Yes, reality is often very different than our picture perfect ideas of homeschooling.  The wonder is that after awhile you begin to realize which of your ideas needs to be let go of and you settle in to what homeschool looks like for your family.  Reevaluating your initial dreams for homeschooling is a part of the process...one that every family goes through.  It doesn't mean you stray from why you began homeschooling, just that you shift your plans to fit your current reality.  It doesn't mean you lower your expectations (unless your expectations were too high to begin with), but that you readjust plans to fit your kids' needs and learning styles.  With a high school junior, freshman, 7th and 3rd grader, our homeschool days look vastly different than when we first started out.  Homeschooling through the baby/toddler years meant some creative planning and schooling during nap times.  Each year finds you in a different season.  Embrace where you are, even if it looks nothing like you thought it would.  Remember, God is in each and every season.  He planned it before you were born.  He's got this. 

Check out these 10 things homeschool moms wish they could go back and tell themselves.  I would venture to guess you'll see yourself in at least a couple.  I did.


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