Homeschooling and the Three Year Learning Curve

Homeschooling and the 3 Year Learning Curve | RaisingArrows.net

The first three years are the learning curve.
Give yourself a break.

Those are the words a veteran homeschool mom spoke to me my first year homeschooling.  Those words gave me permission to mess up, regroup, and try again.  Those words are now the ones I give to every new homeschooling mother I come in contact with.  They are priceless.

Sometimes you need help.

Here’s a quick guide to what you can expect during those first three years of homeschooling…

Discovering who YOU are as a homeschooling mother.

It is quite possible few women out there know themselves as well as homeschooling mothers know themselves.  You will learn about your expectations, you will learn about how you handle disappointments, you will learn your strengths and your weaknesses.  You will discover you can either handle tons of crafts and messes or you need everything tidy in order to think.  You will discover your own learning styles and needs based on those learning styles.  You will read and read and read homeschooling books, finding bits and pieces of yourself among the pages of each and every book.

Each child is a unique. Lead them according to their uniqueness.

Discovering who your CHILD is as a homeschooling student.

All that reading you are doing isn’t really for you, is it?  It’s for your child.  You are curious who this little one God gave you really is.  You figure someone somewhere wrote a book that will describe your child to a T and give you precise instructions on how to homeschool him.  But, just as you found only bits and pieces of yourself amongst the pages of all the popular homeschooling books, you will only find bits and pieces of your child there as well.  Every child is unique; therefore, no book will pinpoint him or her exactly.  But, you will find helpful tidbits, you will implement them, and you will either be thrilled with the results or cast them off as not the right fit.  All along the way, you are learning.  All along the way, God is revealing more and more of this unique individual He blessed you with.  Just as I believe few mothers know themselves the way homeschooling mothers do, I believe few mothers know their children as well as homeschooling mothers know theirs.

Trying out curriculum to see what best suits the needs of both you AND your child.

On your quest to find what fits your child, you will try curriculum…and try curriculum…and try curriculum.  There will be “A-HA” moments and moments you want to curl up in a ball and cry.  You will worry about money.  You will worry about gaps.  You will worry about what Susie Homeschool Mom is doing with her children.  Slowly, but surely, you will begin to have more “A-HA” moments than crying moments.  You will begin to realize if you buy it and it doesn’t work, you can sell it.  You will probably still worry about gaps, but you won’t be nearly so concerned about Susie Homeschool Mom {and if you homeschool for as long as I have, you end up unintentionally BECOMING Susie Homeschool Mom–the lady who isn’t NEARLY as perfect as everything THINKS she is!}

You can’t just hang out forever.

Finding a vision for your homeschool.

One day, you will wake up and realize you don’t know where you are going.  You’ve spent a good amount of time and energy riding homeschool train after homeschool train, only to end up wondering where these trains were supposed to be taking you.  Ideally, you would have set forth goals from the start, but realistically, even if you did, after riding the train for a while, you will probably realize your destination needs to change.

Homeschool conventions are a wonderful place to catch a vision.  I have met many a family {ours included} who have found the motivation and energy to make difficult, yet lasting, changes in their homes in order to homeschool their children more effectively for the Kingdom all because they attended a homeschool convention.  I highly encourage homeschooling mothers and fathers to attend their local convention each year.

Also, surround yourself with homeschooling families who have vision and purpose.  They will be your cheerleaders when you feel you can’t go on any longer.

And then one day, it all comes together!

Weeding out the unnecessary.

As you learn about yourself and your child and your vision, you will find many things you once thought to be terribly important end up being non-essentials you don’t have time to fuss over.  These will be different for every family and ever circumstance, but do not be afraid to give up things you once held dear.  If God calls you to it, He will equip you for it.

******

I hope this post encourages all you new homeschooling families to stay the course without fear of “messing up.”  Those first three years can be so scary if you don’t feel like you can mess up.  I’d also like to encourage you to read some solid homeschooling books like these:


Educating the Wholehearted Child
by Clay & Sally Clarkson

When You Rise Up
by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Let Us Highly Resolve: Families Living for Christ in the 21st Century
by David & Shirley Quine

The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible Based Homeschooling
by Robin Sampson

And don’t forget to visit The Homeschooling Mother page here on Raising Arrows.  A couple of articles you will want to read are:
7 Things a New Homeschool Mom Needs to Know
and
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Homeschooling

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14 thoughts on “Homeschooling and the Three Year Learning Curve

  1. I start my first year of homeschooling this year… I am very excited but just a little nervous. Thanks for the post. Enjoyed :)

  2. Thought of two sisters (one by blood and one in Christ) who needed to hear this today and shared it with them, thanks!!

  3. Thanks for an encouraging post! I’ll be starting my 5th year of homeschooling, and really felt like I was getting into the swing of things. BUT then we added another homeschool student halfway through last year, and now my swing sort of got sideways! So (reminding myself) give it <em<time!!!

    • Yeah, there’s a learning curve almost every time you add someone! Maybe not the full 3 years that seems to happen when you first start, but definitely allow for adjustment time. :)

  4. Love this post. Thanks so much! I am brand new at homeschooling and actually won’t start until August. My son is excited so that’s a great start. I have done so much reading it’s insane plus lots of research on homeschooling with little ones in the house. I have a 3 year old and 9 month old too-talk about scared! ;)

  5. What a wonderful post!!! Thank you!

    I am in my first year of homeschooling, and just coming out of morning sickness having done very little for the past few months. I am only teaching my 5-year-old mathematics and phonics, but even so I have currently hit an, “Aaaargh, I can’t do this!” block!

    As well as my 5-year-old and my baby on the way, I also have three other little boys aged 4, 2 and 11 months, and even today I have been full of negative self-talk about how I will just NEVER manage to teach even 5 minutes of anything to anybody whilst trying to fit things around naps which are disturbed by little ones who are not trained at all to be quiet or still. I end up too stressed to focus with interruptions and discipline every 30 seconds, and it all feels like a task too mountainous to achieve!

    But your posts on homeschooling really give me hope! Thank you! :)

  6. We’re in our 2nd year of homeschooling. I have a 1st and 2nd grader–both girls. I struggle. Daily. My mom keeps saying they’re behind. I have to ask, “Behind who?”

    She worries that one day they’ll have to go to public school and they’ll be behind. That’s a LOT of pressure over something that may never happen. (I pray it doesn’t!) The pressure is paralyzing. Overwhelming.

    My husband has a lot of medical issues, and I have a few of my own. Just keeping up is all that happens some days.

    Thank you for writing this post. I really needed to read it today.

    • Dana,
      Sometimes the comments from others are our biggest hindrance in homeschooling. Your mom worries, but not about the things that really matter. We have been brainwashed to believe only the public school can properly educate our children and doing otherwise is scary to some people. She means well, but her words are something you will have to fight against in your own heart. You are doing a great job! :)

      • I had to come back and re-read this post again today. I need the encouragement.

        My mom cornered me again–she thinks the girls are behind and that, with our medical concerns, they should be put into public school “before it’s too late.” *sigh*

        She doesn’t understand, and I can’t make her understand. There are some times where she may be able to sway me, but this isn’t one of them.

        The problem now is that I may have to go on dialysis. It’s three times each week for four hours each time. At first this was devastating. Now I’m thinking that this could be a blessing in disguise! All I have to do is take them with me and we’ll get at least 4 solid hours in on those days! ;-)

        Blessings–
        Dana

        • I’m so sorry you are going through difficulties right now, but God is not unaware and what He called you to, He will equip you for! Your attitude about all of this makes me smile! :)

  7. Did you read my mind? These concerns sound exactly like my own! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post! I’d love a couple of recommendations on selling curriculum. I have unused Latin materials that didn’t work for us. Right now our interests have led us to learning French! Thank you!