6 Things I’ve Learned in 6 Months of Homeschool

Motherhood is a refining process. So is teaching. Our homeschool journey is just beginning and already we’ve had our ups and downs. Some days I wonder if there are more lessons for the new homeschool mom than the students.

Six months in to our first year, here are six lessons I’ve learned.

6 Lessons I've Learned as a New Homeschool Mom

Playing in the dirt. Because dirt & sunshine are integral parts of kindergarten (and the rest of life!)

Remember your homeschool priorities

Recently Joshua and I listened to a series on Christian education. This point stood out to me: “God clearly commands parents to teach their children about Him. To tell them His stories. To teach them His way. It doesn’t say parents must be the ones to teach their children phonics or math. Someone else can teach the other things, parents must teach the Scriptures.” (paraphrased loosely) I’m grateful that I get to teach my daughter phonics and my son counting, but that’s not my highest calling as teacher. Teaching them about Christ is. (Though of course parents should be supported in this great calling by church, family, and friends!)

Don’t underestimate young students

One day, as Rose (5) and I were reviewing a poem she had learned, Will (3) asked, “Can I say it now?” I listened dumbfounded as he quoted the poem flawlessly. He had never even seemed to be listening! Children soak up information! Don’t underestimate them.

Make the most of mealtimes

Meals are important. Cultures are shaped around the table. Make the most of meals. For us, this means reading the Bible at the breakfast table. The kids take (much) longer to eat than I do. I’m often tempted to jump up and get a head start on  dishes and laundry. Taking the time to linger at the table and read them a chapter or two from the Bible is much more important. The children love it and so do I. Not only does it ensure that we get to this most important part of our homeschool, starting off our day in the Word makes it much better!

Don’t write off loving a subject, before you’ve tried teaching it

Phonics, writing, literature, history. I’ve eagerly anticipated teaching my children these subjects. Science and math, not so much. But after some wonderful encouragement from an older mom, science is one of my favorite parts of kindergarten. Want to know what she said? Stop stressing about having a perfect plan (at least with your kindergartener!) Take nature walks, explore Creation, look up facts about things that interest you, and read books about God’s world. We have all learned so much… and had lots of fun in the process.

Get the most difficult homeschool subject over with first

 Math is not my strong point. Not by a long shot. If we put it off to the end of our school day, the chances of actually getting to it decrease dramatically. Get the hard stuff done first. You’ll enjoy the rest of your morning much more! {Update: we’ve switched to Life of Fred math. Math is no longer dreaded. Even my three-year-old gets excited when it’s time for Fred.}

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s okay to change tactics

 I really wanted to be one of those homeschool moms who researches curricula, finds a good option, and then sticks to it through ups and downs. Rose and I started a highly-recommended phonics program and didn’t have many ups. We both started to dread phonics. Finally I realized I was just being stubborn. It was time to find something that worked for us. We started Phonics Pathways and haven’t looked back. Now we’re both enjoying phonics again. I want to be diligent in what we start, but when you’re grinding your gears day in and day out, it’s time to shift.

As my journey as a homeschool mom begins, I am learning to focus on my priorities, not underestimate little ones, make mealtimes meaningful, be open-minded about new subjects, do the hard subjects first, and give myself grace if we need to change tactics along the way.

Do you homeschool? If so, what have you learned along the way? 

May be linked up at  Mama MomentsGrowing Home, Homemaking LinkupWalking RedeemedHearts 4 HomeProverbs 31 Thursday

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

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Comments

  1. says

    Can I add one more little bit here?
    7. Don’t get so caught up with “school” that you forget to “live!” Pretend, create, imagine, tell stories, build “houses” with couch cushions, make trains with kitchen chairs, make your own “band” with pretend instruments, go “sailing” in a ship made of blocks and an old sheet. Have fun! :)
    I’ve seen kids hate school because the parents were too focused on “school” and the kids never got to “live.”

  2. says

    Thank you for these refreshing reminders! I started a 2-yr KG program (Hearts of Dakota) and so far we are doing pretty well with it. All these reminders resonated with me, and I thank you for sharing this wisdom!

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