When you start homeschooling there are so many things you want to know – which curriculum to use, how to homeschool with little ones in tow, etc. This list are the things you really need to know about homeschooling – the things no one tells you.
When I first started homeschooling, I was naive. I was young, I had 2 kids, and I had one very small homeschool catalog with very few resources. The only thing I was concerned about was teaching my 4 year old son to read.
But, as I dug deeper into this homeschooling thing, I quickly realized there was so much no one was telling me and it had very little to do with choosing curriculum, fitting everything in, or teaching my son to read.
Homeschooling is hard work. And it is most definitely a labor of love. As a seasoned homeschool mom, it’s important I tell you truth. Not the shiny, bright, fancy curriculum truth, but rather the muck and mire and messy truth. You deserve to know what you are getting yourself into.
#1 – You will never stop analyzing.
Every subject you teach, every method you use, every word you speak will race through your brain day and night. No matter how many homeschool conference speakers drill into your head that you truly are your child’s best teacher, you will still question yourself and worry about everything from teaching your 6 year old to read to making sure your high schooler is complying with state standards.
You will pray and research and pray some more, tirelessly looking for the best in everything you do. And this will never cease, even after your last child is long graduated from your homeschool.
However, all this analyzing will make you a better mother because it will teach you to capitalize on your strengths and rely on God to fill in your weaknesses.
#2 – You will learn much more than you will ever be able to teach.
You will learn to love history because you homeschool.
You will appreciate the world around you more because you homeschool.
You will become a lifelong learner because you homeschool.
And you will never, ever be able to impart to your children all the things you want to teach them.
You will own piles and piles of books in which lie pages and pages of projects and information you want to teach someday – a day that will never come. And hopefully, you will learn to let go of your need to be everything to your children, finally understanding you cannot possibly hold yourself responsible for teaching them everything they need to know.
Besides, one day they might homeschool and learn everything you couldn’t manage to teach.
#3 – You will own a massive collection of books.
Just face it now and buy bookshelves. Lots and lots of bookshelves.
#4 – You will want more books.
See #2. That’s what happens when learning really seeps into your blood. You crave information and you get a high from buying books. The pen is mightier than the sword, so you desire to surround yourself with this strength.
#5 – You will start “safe” and end up eclectic.
Every veteran homeschool mom I know has a difficult time pegging themselves as a method homeschooler. You hear a lot of
Well, I’m a Charlotte Mason with a little Classical thrown in. Oh, and we do several unit studies throughout the year. Oh, and I’m really fascinated by the Delight Directed movement.
That’s why so many of us veteran homeschoolers cringe when you ask the question…
What curriculum do you use?
We’re afraid of scaring you. We know what we are doing, but we remember well when we didn’t and we were scared by people who couldn’t answer the curriculum question.
But there will come a day when you will branch out and you will feel totally and utterly out of control, but it will feel good!
Do not fear eclectic.
#6 – You will feel inadequate…often.
There is an entire world out there telling you you aren’t qualified for this job. Let’s get one thing straight before I say any more…that world lies. And the very fact that you question yourself, leads straight back to #1.
Because you analyze and stress about your child’s education, you are the PERFECT person to teach them! You actually CARE!
LISTEN > Am I Smart Enough to Homeschool?
#7 – You will want to give up.
I’m going to level with you a second, I have never once wanted to put my children in public school. God called me to this and no matter how hard it is at times, I see no other way than this. However, that isn’t the only way homeschool moms give up.
Some homeschool moms do want to give up on all of it.
Some homeschool moms want to give up on a certain child.
Some homeschool moms want to give up on their spouses.
Homeschool moms often feel alone in their struggles. They think they are the only ones who are going through what they are going through with a particular child or a spouse who doesn’t play an active role in homeschooling.
Some do see the grass of public school as greener and some just drop the plate that seems to be spinning out of control, no matter the consequences.
This is where we must build a sense of community and then allow ourselves to depend on that community.
Yes, it takes a lot of guts to tell someone you feel like giving up and it takes even more guts to hear their response, but we need to be told the hard stuff and we need to be a part of something bigger so we stop feeling like we are homeschooling islands.
#8 – Your kids will amaze you.
Need I say more?
#9 – Occasionally, YOU will amaze you.
I just love it when God hands me one of those Gold Star days!
#10 – You will cry – a lot.
Homeschooling is a huge gut-wrenching responsibility. It is also a tremendous blessing that will leave you speechless.
The first words your child reads will be because of you.
The outbursts of frustration that come from a difficult math problem will be spewed on you.
The daily ups and downs of life as a homeschooling family will primarily belong to you.
You will cry tears of joy, tears of anger and tears of exhaustion. God will bottle those tears and bless you for your faithfulness and you will cry at the beauty of it all.
Even though homeschooling brings anxiety and angst and tears aplenty, you will never regret being humbled and awestruck daily by the precious little children sitting round your dining room table (or all over the house, in my case).
And someday when you wish someone had told you what homeschooling was really about, you will realize it doesn’t matter. You are changed forever. For the better.
Originally posted in 2012, updated in 2020