It is that time of year where I live! School is beginning for many homeschooling families, and some of the most common struggles and pitfalls of homeschooling come to light yet again. I thought it would be fun to tackle some of these struggles and questions straight-on…
Here are the most common things I hear mothers mention regarding some of the difficulties in homeschooling:
1. How do I know I am doing the right thing? I think the answer here is that often we do not know if we are doing the right thing. Homeschooling is much like parenting in this regard; sometimes we don’t see the true outcome of it all until years down the road. Many homeschooling families look at the decision to homeschool each year with each individual child. Decisiveness counts, however. When one makes a decision, whether for school or for homeschooling, one must project confidence, not waffling. And that confidence must carry you through the days when things don’t go so well!
2. How do I know if this is the right curriculum or way to homeschool? Again, hard to say as each individual family is different and each child is different. The kiss of death, I truly believe, for any homeschooler is to pick a curriculum or a type of homeschooling just because that is what their friends are doing or using. Pick what works for your family! There will be more to come on this as I am writing a post on it.
3. How can I fit in my (doctor’s appointments, time to exercise, time to run errands)? Time organization is a priority, but this is often compounded in homeschooling families because spouses are often working super long hours or traveling a lot in order to make enough money for mom to stay home and homeschool! Many mothers tell me sincerely that they let themselves sink to the bottom of the list – they haven’t seen a dentist in years, they have not had a physical in years, they don’t have the time, money or child care to really exercise at an optimum level, etc.
I think this can be an area in which we all struggle, I know I do! I have a hard time asking other homeschooling mothers to watch my children even though I know they gladly would. However, it really is important to pull in support of your spouse, family, friends, place of worship, in order to help you take care of yourself or what has to be done. Have some frank discussions with your spouse and see what can be done. Homeschooling may go on for years and years, so it is important to not think that these are things that can just wait indefinitely.
4. How can I keep my house running smoothly on top of homeschooling? In a way, expectations must be adjusted. You live in your house all day, and whilst children are away at school and other mothers are cleaning and such, you are schooling. In the afternoon, your older children may need to go somewhere that if they were in school they would have just stayed at school for (like sports or drama or art club or whatever!) I don’t mean this to sound negative, but it is a reality as the children hit the grades and are involved in more things. Things become busier, and in the Early Years you are trying to figure out how to de-mechanize and involve children in work, but in the grades you have a lot going on around that work!
I personally like Flylady, because I think her small and frequent method is helpful to mothers who have a hard time initiating de-cluttering and cleaning, but I think it is just as useful for those perfectionistic mothers who must have everything clean from top to bottom and just can’t stop cleaning and picking up.
The other important piece of this is that with homeschooling the entire family must be involved with the care and nurturing of the home. It is vitally important, and practical, common sense life practicalities are an important part of Waldorf homeschooling.
To those of you who are homeschooling: are there questions, challenges, struggles that seem to come up at the beginning of every school year? I would love to hear from you in the comment box!