I’ll be honest that I never envisioned myself as a homeschooling mama. I wouldn’t trade it for any other option now, but it certainly was not what we set out to do.
I could write a book about the things I’ve learned over the past 3 years of our homeschooling life. But the biggest surprise?
That I would learn things about myself.
In those early days and months of homeschooling, I was so focused on what I would teach that it never dawned on me that it would be me who was the one learning.
In no particular order, here are the 10 most important things I’ve learned about myself while homeschooling my littles.
1. I like curriculum…a lot.
The first big curriculum event I ever attended was the book fair at our state’s annual convention. Oh my. Books and books everywhere, each filled with wonderfully laid out plans and ideas. I was in glorious curriculum overload.
Thankfully, I went with a budget in mind and was only looking to buy Kindergarten curriculum for my oldest. I shudder to think how much I could have spent. 😉
Over the past 3 years, I’ve looked through tons of curriculum. I’ve written about some of my favorites, if you’re curious: Early Kindergarten with All About Reading Level Pre-1, Why All About Spelling is a Good Fit for Us, and Bible Study Guide for All Ages.
2. I learned I need lots of work on my own character.
On my most humble days (and there are oh so many of them), it occurs to me that homeschooling is as beneficial to refine my own character as it is to shape the character of my little ones.
I never considered myself to be a person who struggled with patience (or lack thereof) or laziness or the inability to control my tongue. But homeschooling littles? Oh I realized very quickly that my character needed some serious work.
Homeschooling is so interesting. You can present yourself as a perfect godly wife and mother to the world and for the most part, no one is the wiser (other than God, of course). But when you’re around your own children every day, they see what your first reaction is to a situation – whether you choose to scream over the spilled drink or yell over the shoes not being on the shelf again or whether you give grace when it’s needed.
Homeschooling pronounces each character flaw I have. I’ll be honest that I hated that part about teaching my own children the first 2 years. It’s just been in this last year of homeschooling that I can actually see that as an advantage and an opportunity to work on myself.
3. I need order in my day.
I am a planner. I like order. I like to know what’s coming next on my to-do list.
I tried several planners, which seemed to hurt me more than help. I ended up creating my own and it works beautifully! I can just copy and paste if we don’t get to something during the week.
When my school week is planned well, things run much more smoothly. I love it that way.
4. I’m a homebody.
We go to co-op on Thursdays, but other than that, we are mostly at home.
And I’m okay with that. In fact, I prefer it. If we had somewhere to be everyday of the week, I would surely lose my mind. It may not be this way as my children grow older, but it’s what makes life the most simple and content during this season.
5. I can’t do it all.
I’m an okay housekeeper. I like laundry and it’s almost always caught up. I’m even a fairly good cook. Most days, I’m a decent teacher. And I have this blog, which requires a tremendous amount of time.
But there’s no way in the world I can do all of those things and do them well.
It’s taken me 3 long years of fighting the need to excel at all of those things. I’ve just figured out that I can only do a couple of those things well each day. There will be other times in my life where I can have a clean(er) house.
6. I need a period of peace and quiet each day.
Our house is loud and busy. I need at least an hour (preferably 2) of down time each afternoon where no one is talking to me.
I love my children and I love to interact with them. But the introvert side of me? It’s screaming at me by 1:00 each afternoon. So from 1-2:30 or so each day, we have a mandatory quiet time.
7. I can use my nursing skills to figure out my homeschool day.
I was an RN in my past life. I worked (mostly) the night shift for almost 10 years as a bedside nurse in our local hospital.
Nurses have to be crazy organized and able to set priorities. I learned early on that to be a successful nurse, you needed to set your most critical tasks at the beginning of the shift…because there was almost always an unplanned crisis coming that would disrupt the typical routine.
I’m so glad I can still use the type of skill set with homeschooling. When I walked out of my job on that last shift, I was uncertain whether I’d ever use my nursing skills again.
I laugh at that thought now, as I use those planning skills every single day!
8. I truly love being around my children.
I know it’s not very PC these days to say how much you like to be around your children, but I genuinely love being around my little people. They are such a joy in so many ways.
I don’t dare take it for granted that I am the one who gets to be their teacher. I am the one who has the privilege of reading history books snuggled on the couch and playing match games every morning.
Sure, we have our days just like anyone else where I’m ready to throw in the towel. But on the whole, homeschooling has taught me what fascinating little people I’ve been given the privilege of raising.
I know it sounds strange to most, but it really is the privilege of my life to be their mother. I’m so glad we get to spend our days together.
9. Sometimes I need to walk away from Pinterest.
I love Pinterest. Isn’t it just the best thing?!
Oh but it also has a bad side for me. I see posts from moms that successfully homeschool a whole ton of kiddos and they’re pleasant at the end of the day and the whole house is picked up when dad strolls in for dinner.
Ummm….that is not me. I’m usually pretty cranky by 5:00pm and my tolerance for chaos is at zero by that time of day. Not to mention the fact that our house typically looks like a tornado has blown through it.
I have found that Pinterest is occasionally like Target for me. If I don’t go to Target, I don’t know all of the fabulousness that I’m missing out on. So I just rarely go to Target. It makes me discontent.
The Lord doesn’t want me to be discontent. The devil does, sure, but the Lord definitely does not. (See Philippians 4:11)
So I often take long breaks from Pinterest. To stop myself from the comparison trap, I just pretend that all of those lovely blogs of mamas that do lovely things with lovely children just don’t exist.
I think it’s called denial. Or self-preservation. Or something like that. But I know that when I start feeling those stirrings of discontentment arise, I need to just ‘x’ out my little Pinterest tab and move on.
10. Lastly, I’ve learned I wasn’t meant to be a homeschool mama all on my own.
God never intended for me to try to homeschool without Him, not even for a second. Homeschool mothers are busy in a way that others are not. We’re immersed in school and home and meals and laundry – all day, every day. In all of those task-driven details, it’s sometimes hard for me to remember why our family is homeschooling in the first place. It’s easy for me to skip my quiet time or move on to the next task on my to-do list.
But that’s not what God intended for me. He wants to guide our school days. He wants to take me by the hand and show me what eternal items should be on my to-do list not the unimportant things that I write down.
I’m still working hard on this last one. 🙂
So what have you learned by being a homeschooling mother? Do tell.
On most Tuesdays for the next 10 weeks, I’m participating in iHomeschool Network’s 10 Weeks of Top 10 Lists.