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As you may know, I was homeschooled as a child. The first time I set foot in an official classroom it was to take my SAT. College was my first “real” school experience.
I always knew I wanted to homeschool (which turned out to be a great choice for us since Monkey has ADHD). But in the early days, before I started homeschooling, I thought it would be a walk in the park.
Boy, was I wrong.
If you were homeschooled as a child, here is what second-generation homeschoolers need to know before teaching their own kids:
What Second-Generation Homeschoolers Need to Know Before Teaching Their Own Kids
What do second-generation homeschoolers need to know? Probably more than you think. I wish someone had told me these things before I started my homeschooling journey as a parent.
It Will be Harder than You Ever Imagined
When Monkey was three, we started Five in a Row. Nowadays, I would never start school so young, but you live and learn, right? I knew that since I was homeschooled, I would so be a pro at this game. But it turned out, the universe had other plans. Monkey was resistant to learning. She hated school. I was blown away. How could a preschooler hate school?
But there is was. She didn’t like the same things I did. She had no interest in reading and my dreams of us sitting on the couch together cuddled up reading books never happened. To this day, she would rather build something than read a book. It took many years for us to figure out her learning style and how to balance teaching subjects she needs to know and dislikes with subjects she loves and wants to learn.
Every year I spend a large portion of my “free” time planning curriculum, making lesson plans, and designing a system that will work for the kids I have, not the ones I imagined I would have. I thought homeschooling would be easy, but it isn’t.
You May Get Burned Out Easier
I don’t know if all second-generation homeschoolers feel this way, but I feel like the slightest thing can make me feel burned out. I have to fight the temptation to say, “hey, let’s skip school and watch movies all day.” Homeschooling is just routine for me, and sometimes I feel like a 20-year teacher veteran who is just counting down the days until her retirement kicks in.
To counteract this, I like to plan at least one fun activity a week just to keep things from stagnating.
You Have Good Instincts; Use Them
When I first started homeschooling Monkey, I second-guessed myself. I figured a mother who had actually taught for a dozen years or more probably had better instincts than I did. But the former student prospective is quite valuable. I still hear homeschool veterans recommending curriculum that I hated as a child, and that prospective allows me to choose curriculum that aligns better with how a kid learns best (at least for someone who is related to me). I’ve relied on my instincts for much of our homeschool journey, and so far, it has served me well. I am pretty good at knowing if a curriculum is worth the cost.
Your Kids Will Not be Automatically Smarter
As a second-generation homeschooler, I assumed my kids would be so much smarter than all the rest.
You Can Still Benefit from Homeschooling Advice
Although trusting your instincts is still important, you can learn a lot from the moms who have been homeschooling a long time. I used to avoid attending the sessions at homeschool conferences, but now, I soak up other’s knowledge everywhere I can. I like to find homeschooling parents who have older children similar to mine and listen to all of their tips on how to make it work from the parenting side.*****************
Sometimes, Simple is Best
Since I am such a homeschooling pro, I thought when I began homeschooling that I could handle it all and more. I thought I could be that homeschooling mom who does a special project for every subject every day and takes a field trip a week. She is also involved in all the co-op events and teaches three classes herself.
I don’t actually do any of those things. Right now, our homeschool is a mix between eclectic and unschooling and it works perfectly with our schedule. We do a hands-on project about once a week (sometimes every two weeks) and that is just fine. You don’t have to be a super homeschooler just because you are a second-generation homeschooler.
You Will Wonder Every Year if You are Doing the Right Thing
I read stories about adults who were homeschooled and how they believe it was the worst thing to happen to them. They claim that homeschooling destroyed their chances of fitting in with the world. I don’t believe that homeschooling is right for everyone or even right for everyone every year. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing my children a disservice by homeschooling them. But in the end, my reasons for homeschooling combat any doubts.
You May Find Yourself Becoming Your Mother; Don’t Fight It
My ultimate goal when I was a teenager was to not be like my mom. I know, I was a horrible child.
But these days, I find myself making the same kinds of statements that she did when teaching my own kids. It bothered me for quite some time, but now, I just go with it.
Routine is Especially Important for You
We are used to extreme freedom as homeschooled children. I was only in the “official” workforce for about five years before I became a work-at-home mom. I hated every second of it.
But without routine, I find it hard to stick to my amazing lesson plans.
Monkey, too, thrives on routine so I try to stick to one for both our sakes. It sounds terrible, but your day will go so much better if you follow a structured routine.
Co-Ops are Great Resources
If you have introverted tendencies like I do, you may resist joining a co-op. But they are great, not only for finding like-minded friends, but also for helping fill in any gaps in your teaching methods. Co-ops can provide the “classroom” environment that provides experiences like group projects, public speaking, and better resources. If you have a local co-op, use it.
When I was a child, I never knew how amazing it could be on the teacher side of homeschooling. Teaching my children is one of the greatest joys of my life. I am so happy I get to share the freedom and tailored education that I had with my own children. We have the best time together learning at home.
Ultimately, what second-generation homeschoolers need to know is that you may regret some of the choices you make as a homeschooling parent, but you will never regret the time you spent with your kids.
More Advice for Second-Generation Homeschoolers
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