Letting Go of the Homeschool Ideal ~ Reflecting on 2013


2013 can be summed up in one word (at least for my family): CHANGE.

There has been much time to reflect on the past year, and that has been a blessing. It's allowed me to see that sometimes letting go of an ideal is GOOD. 

We get in our heads a certain way of doing things, and changing those ways almost seems like we're throwing in the towel. 

As we rang in 2013 almost a year ago, I knew our homeschool just wasn't working, but it took me several months of dealing with my pride to admit it wasn't working and then to seek out a solution.

It's hard to let go of an ideal.

Let me explain.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Kids Grow Up

Homeschooling a four and eight year old is much different than homeschooling an eight and twelve year old. 

Dare I say homeschooling the younger ones is EASIER? {Don't throw rotten tomatoes - this is just my experience!}

My background as an elementary school teacher and my love for little ones made homeschooling the elementary grades joyful, creative, and FUN. We did unit studies, lots of Five in a Row, and always had a project going.

That first year of homeschooling was nearly picture perfect. It was IDEAL (in my mind). 

I had an eager, creative, bookworm third grader and a nutty (in a totally awesome way), bright Kindergartener. I was enthusiastic about homeschooling and had lots of energy.

 When one of my learners entered adolescence, our homeschool began to change. She wasn't as enamored with mom's lessons anymore, and was venturing into her own area - and many times didn't think mom was the school authority.

It's hard for me to admit, but in one of my children's eyes I had lost credibility as a teacher. 

I also knew that my youngest was made for memorization and math - lots of technical stuff. My interest led style of homeschooling wasn't cutting it for him anymore, either.


Long story short: No one in my homeschool was happy. 

I had to be careful who I shared this with, though. Well meaning friends (who have children in traditional school) would say, "Do you think you'll send them to SCHOOL?" 

Believe me, I was tempted, but I believed then, as I still firmly believe now, that our children are meant to be educated AT HOME by THEIR PARENTS. Abdicating this most important of our roles as parents is what is contributing to the erosion of our society little by little.

(stepping off soapbox...)

Moms Are Learning, Too

As a friend at church so wisely told my kids last Sunday, "Be patient with your mom - she's learning to be a mom, too."  I think the same applies to homeschooling. 

It was time to adjust our homeschool and make big changes, so after stopping school in April (yes - you heard me -- we didn't school from May-August) I started to investigate other options, talk to other homeschooling moms, and (most important of all), pray. The hours my husband spent fleshing this out with me are too numerous to count. His leadership was crucial. 

I read Leigh Bortin's The Core and also Susan Wise Bauer's The Well Trained Mind. Both of these books spoke to me and offered more of a PLAN for our homeschool. I also had several friends in a local Classical Conversations Community. 

The real selling point was that my oldest could be in a class of other children her own age, one day a week. I would still be her primary teacher, but she would have a tutor and a group of peers to interact with and gain guidance from. 

After a semester of Classical Conversations under our belts I can report that I am 100% satisified with this decision. For right now, this is where my children need to be.

I now have a seventh grader who loves her Challenge A group and is proud she's learning Latin. I also have a third grader who is obsessed with LEGO Learning and loves strutcture and memorization.


This Isn't A Commercial

I'm not trying to convince you to join Classical Conversations .  (But if you want to know more, visit my CC page!)

What I am trying to do is get you to evaluate your 2013. 

How was it? Were your kids happy and learning?  Were YOU happy and learning? 

It's ok to give up on a certain ideal to pursue something else. It's ok to take a BREAK from homeschooling while you figure it out.

I love to tell people, "You're kids won't go stupid while you're not schooling them."

Quite the contrary. My kids actually flourished (and breathed a sigh of relief) when we just stopped and changed course.

If you are looking for more encouragement, I've gathered some posts together on my Homeschool Encouragement page.  I know homeschooling is HARD, and often times our culture would have us believe we're wasting our time our "sheltering" our children. 

They will tell you your children will miss out on extracurricular sports, "socialization", or science labs. 

They will ask about plans for getting your children into college, and if you don't miss "having time for yourself".  

I will tell you this: If you feel called to homeschool your children, then DO IT - keep doing it, and do whatever it takes to pursue that dream.  

It might mean adjusting your ideals a bit, but you know what?

That's ok. 


Tell me about your 2013. How was your homeschool year?  Are you making any big adjusments as we approach 2014?  


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