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If you were to start over your homeschooling journey again, what would you do differently?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

It looks like we have decided to homeschool both my children full-time.  Gulp.  I am more nervous than I thought I would be.  So just thought I would ask what you wise ladies here have learned from your experience.    

 

What would you have done differently if you were to start your homeschooling journey again? What do you wish you had known? 

 

tiphat.gif

post #2 of 24

I was very careful not act like homeschooling was "better" than other peoples choices, so that my child would't be in the situation where she was talking bad about public school to her friends.  In retrospect, I wish I would have taught my daughter how special HSing is so that she knew, and not been so worried about offending the masses.

 

Otherwise, the best wisdom you can use w/ HSing is your gut, and try to not second guess everything you are doing in the moment.  HSing is tremendous fun and a wonderful gift to your family. 

post #3 of 24

I would have done more work on my personal issues.

 

 I had always been a good student and had a lot of arrogance about people who were left-brained.  My first child was a lot like I was: verbally advanced, an early reader, very organized, etc.  I felt like I knew what made him tick, and it was easy to provide him with learning opportunities.  My second child turned out to be a lot like DH: right-brained, resistant to organization, wildly and messily creative, a later reader.  I floundered massively before really accepting that she had some incredible gifts and I had better let go of my way of doing things.

 

We are now joyfully unschooling, and I have a deep and real appreciation for DD and DH that I didn't have before.

 

Also, I wish I had read John Holt's Learning All the Time: How small children begin to read, write, count, and investigate the world without being taught much earlier in the process. 

post #4 of 24

I've actually been really pleased with how things have gone for us (we're about to start on our second year of hs-ing, so we're still pretty new at it).  One thing that has really helped me is The Parenting Passageway blog, which focuses on developing an enriching family culture and knowing what things are age and developmentally-appropriate.  Also, lots of good Waldorf-inspired art and craft projects, which I've found are superior and richer than many children's projects.  I try and make our learning as 3-dimensional as possible, but I also like making sure we have lots of "down" time to explore and be creative, as well as interact with others in the community and do general house upkeep, which I think is really important for kids to see.  

post #5 of 24
I knew my children would not attend school from the beginning, but I really wish I would have held off discussing our decision with extended family members, who later thought they had a say in what we were doing because I'd spent so much time trying to "enlighten" them.

I'd advise anyone new to home educating to state very clearly to any who questions that decision that only you and your partner get to make the decisions you know are best for your family- it is not open for debate, criticism, judgement, opinions, or unsolicited advice.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for you responses :)  My family seems to generally be shocked that I would take on such a challenge.  Friends are pretty supportive.  Kids are really happy.  Thank you for the books and website recommendations.  Will check those out.  I am feeling a bit wobbly but I think it is just because I understand the hugeness of the responsibility.  

 

Thanks again and keep them coming if anyone out there thinks of anything else :)

post #7 of 24

I wish I had slowed way down with my first.  I feel like I taught him to read too early, and he missed out on a few more years of imaginative play.  Once he learned to read, he spent much less time playing and much more time absorbed in books.  The books are wonderful, but sometimes I wonder if he needed more little kid years.

post #8 of 24

I wish I wouldn't have been so focused on finding a curriculum that fit my kid(s) in the early years (meaning those years between 4-8yo).  I now realize why there are a number of countries that don't bother introducing academics until after the kids are 7yo.  I spent a rather ridiculous amount of money on various curricula that either suited my kid for a short season of his life or didn't fit at all.  He's always been the same little personality with the same likes, but how he takes in information has changed in subtle ways that have made the difference in understanding how he learns.  Knowing what I know now, I'd have spent that time doing fun stuff, focusing on social skills and self-care--with a generous dose of "dancing with mommy" sessions and reading in the big bed.  kid.gif

post #9 of 24

I wouldn't have tried to be such a tough homeschooling mom at the beginning. I wanted to do all sorts of fun stuff my it just turns out that my daughter is a late bloomer. All I did was make us miserable.

 

So...I'd say to start out gradually. You don't have to do everything at once.
 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geemom View Post

I was very careful not act like homeschooling was "better" than other peoples choices, so that my child would't be in the situation where she was talking bad about public school to her friends.  In retrospect, I wish I would have taught my daughter how special HSing is so that she knew, and not been so worried about offending the masses.

 

My kiddos have been to school and they do not like it much.  So, they know they are not missing anything.  This gives me a great advantage.  My son and I spoke about doing the work at home without too much whinning and resistance.  I think he is gonna keep his end of the bargain.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post

I wouldn't have tried to be such a tough homeschooling mom at the beginning. 

 

I am very much trying to keep this in mind as I go forward.  Thank you for reminding me again :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

I wish I wouldn't have been so focused on finding a curriculum that fit my kid(s) in the early years (meaning those years between 4-8yo).  I now realize why there are a number of countries that don't bother introducing academics until after the kids are 7yo.  I spent a rather ridiculous amount of money on various curricula that either suited my kid for a short season of his life or didn't fit at all.  He's always been the same little personality with the same likes, but how he takes in information has changed in subtle ways that have made the difference in understanding how he learns.  Knowing what I know now, I'd have spent that time doing fun stuff, focusing on social skills and self-care--with a generous dose of "dancing with mommy" sessions and reading in the big bed.  kid.gif

 

My DH worries about reading.  Right now we are doing some reading instruction.  The rest is their time.  They draw a lot.  Today, the made a chef hat both for me and DH.  Son also wrote out a recipie for bread. He wants to try to bake bread over the weekend.  I am going to keep it at this pace for a while.  We will see how things unfold as we go.  

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dovey View Post

I wish I had slowed way down with my first.  I feel like I taught him to read too early, and he missed out on a few more years of imaginative play.  Once he learned to read, he spent much less time playing and much more time absorbed in books.  The books are wonderful, but sometimes I wonder if he needed more little kid years.

 

Keeping this in mind too.  The time passes so fast. The grow up in a blink of an eye.  No need to rush it further.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

I would have done more work on my personal issues.

 

 

yeahthat.gif

 

Great comments you guys.  Thank you for sharing.

post #11 of 24

It took me a while to find out that Waldorf best suits our family, so I guess I would have started off with Waldorf. I didn't push reading or writing, but I guess I wouldn't have stressed so much about it.

post #12 of 24

Reading is such a tough issue because some kids truly do NOT get it until they're 8 or 9.  By the time they're teens, you don't know the difference, but it doesn't stop the panic of our society's insistence that it happen at 5 or 6yo from setting in.

 

There was a woman that spoke at a homeschool conference about unschooling and I landed in that session quite by accident (I am still not an unschooled, btw).  She started her talk by saying that the only goals she had for her kids when starting out were that they could read and write enough to fill out an employment application and do enough math to balance their checkbooks.

 

jaw.gif  <-- (that was my reaction, but I couldn't get up and leave without being obvious because I was RIGHT up front of a VERY crowded room)

 

I sat and listened to her, and really, she made more and more sense.  These were the things she planned to IMPOSE on her kids if they didn't manage to get it on their own (they far outdid this, btw).  I was still uncomfortable.  On the heels of this we had 2 years filled with 5 moves (all related to a single job relocation), 3 deaths (my would-be mother, the only other person that loved me and a 2nd trimester baby girl) and a lawsuit that left my family unsure if we'd wind up with custody of another child.  We were minimally engaged with our kids let alone dedicated to formally educating them.  Suddenly, it was clear that all my son had learned in that time was truly on his own--and given how much he "got", I suddenly let go of my concerns.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

Reading is such a tough issue because some kids truly do NOT get it until they're 8 or 9.  By the time they're teens, you don't know the difference, but it doesn't stop the panic of our society's insistence that it happen at 5 or 6yo from setting in.

 

True, but there is also the small group of kids who just won't get it without lots of help.  This is a small percentage, but it is a very real group and my middle child is one of those.  She is nearly 10 and moderately dyslexic.  Perhaps she is closer to moderately severe.  Regardless, she needs a LOT of help with the reading.  This wasn't done through drill or tears, but it was still needed.  I noticed that she was "different" (for lack of a better word) early on.  I didn't realize that it meant dyslexia until the middle of first grade.  For her, I really wished I would have homeschooled her from the beginning.  We truly take it at her pace at home (and she doesn't have a classroom full of kids to compare herself to).  At home, learning & teaching focuses on her strengths.  Anyways, waiting until she was 8 or 9 wouldn't have helped us.  

 

Amy

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

True, but there is also the small group of kids who just won't get it without lots of help.  This is a small percentage, but it is a very real group and my middle child is one of those.  

 

Totally agreed.  I didn't mean to imply that this isn't a reality; but truly, most kids don't have these issues and yet they still vary widely in when they will "get it".  Even without issues, it seems to be a trigger point for panic in many parents.  Honestly, if not for mine teaching himself to read at THREE and my now 3-1/2yo taking a very genuine and active interest in learning, I'm not sure how I would handle things, either.  I don't know how comfy I'd be if mine were on the 9yo end of learning to read.  Of course, I also know that a lot of that are my own issues.  :/

 

I should note that the one that taught himself to read has PUH-LEN-TY of other issues... so I'm not unfamiliar with that territory--it's just that mine isn't in the area of reading.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

 

Totally agreed.  I didn't mean to imply that this isn't a reality; but truly, most kids don't have these issues and yet they still vary widely in when they will "get it".  Even without issues, it seems to be a trigger point for panic in many parents.  Honestly, if not for mine teaching himself to read at THREE and my now 3-1/2yo taking a very genuine and active interest in learning, I'm not sure how I would handle things, either.  I don't know how comfy I'd be if mine were on the 9yo end of learning to read.  Of course, I also know that a lot of that are my own issues.  :/

 

I should note that the one that taught himself to read has PUH-LEN-TY of other issues... so I'm not unfamiliar with that territory--it's just that mine isn't in the area of reading.

I think we are on the same page.  nod.gif

 

I can honestly say that I have had to deal with my personal issues regarding all of it.  My oldest taught herself how to read, and I was naive enough to assume they all would.  Additionally, it took me a while to determine if I was just (unfairly) comparing children or if dd2 actually had a problem.  And then I continued to second guess myself because I know that many kids really don't "get it" until they are older.  It has been a personal struggle for me. . . which may be why I wanted to point out the minority of kids that do need the extra help.

 

Amy

post #16 of 24
Some things I would have done differently, are spending much more time outside instead of letting the kids watch a lot of tv. Not been so teachery, (read overbearing) by turning everything into a lesson. Let the kids help me more, instead of doing everything myself. And been more physically active. And less time on the computer. And slow down and not worry so much about making sure they met with someone else's idea of where they should be developmentally. Sigh.
post #17 of 24

I would have done more structured work with my oldest on handwriting and spelling when we were first starting out, rather than having to correct it so much now.

post #18 of 24
I live in PA, where we have to have a portfolio and evaluation done every year. If I were starting over, I'd interview evaluators and find one I could talk with and relate to well. I have now used my fourth evaluator in eight years of homeschooling. I wish I'd had a better match from the beginning!
post #19 of 24

I would have homeschooled much earlier in my kids lives when it would have been more "fun" for all of us.  I would have worried less about the amount of work we completed the first year and let them deschool a bit more.  I would have tried to get dh more involved in coming up with our philosophies and also somehow tried to get him to help problem solve more (logistics, etc).  I would have worried less about people's opinions (they think I am nuts, dc really picked up on this and it was hard for dd especially since she is used to people seeing me as a little crazy as a teacher but I wasn't her teacher).  I would probably have made sure I made it to a homeschool convention first to help with the planning, etc.  I would have made a bigger effort to find other homeschoolers in the area and actually do things together socially (I knew of one co-op group and arranged my work schedule around that, but ended up not participating in that group), it was lonely.  There is probably a longer list of could have, should have, would haves but I don't want to be too depressed, lol. ;)  Good luck in your journey!!!
 

post #20 of 24

Ive wanted to homeschool if I had children before I 100% knew I wanted to have children.. However I wish I would have slowed down and just enjoyed them being toddlers.. I was so anxious to "prove" that it would work (our families aren't supportive!) that I rushed a lot with my first.. Now with my 3rd Im realizing how much I really missed with my first by rushing through this time.. Its wonderful to see my youngest exploring things on his own instead of being expected to sit down and "learn" like I did with my first.. My oldest is 5 now and I actually do less with her now than I did when she was 18 months duh.gif This potion of their lives are so precious and pass so quickly, its time to cherish it, there is time for "serious learning" a little later.

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