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.
Oh Pinterest – thou are the cruelest of mockers! Ha! I get a lot of great ideas from Pinterest, but you are right – it can become overwhelming and how in the WORLD do some of those mamas make and take pics of all those projects?!
Aadel – yes! I might could get the project done, but how do they also have time to take the pictures?? It’s a mystery.
Beautiful, Lauren. I love each and every one of these. The picture with you and your daughter is so nice. I hope to meet you one day!
Aw, thank you, Mary. Yes, it would be my privilege to meet you too!
I loved your post , Lauren. You have helped me tremendously !! I have homeschooled a total of 3 years now. You have a gift of encouragement. Several of these sound just like me when I read it. I also really need to work on that last one and God has been really working on me about it also. God is so merciful to us, I don’t know how else I would get through my day without Him 🙂 Thanks again so much !! Have a very blessed day. This verse really helped me this week. Matthew 6:33
Amy, thank you for stopping by. 🙂 I’m glad it was encouraging. I need reminders for myself, too! Ha!
He IS merciful to us, thankfully! And I just love Matthew 6:33 and lean on it often. Thanks for the reminder!
I ran over when I saw you were discussing littles, since that’s also the season of my life.
It’s funny how God prepares us for the future in strange ways. Our skills as nurses have certainly served us well …. Organization, time management, thinking on the fly. Who would have thought?
It’s like a neon sign to me ….I’ve read TWICE already this morning about needing time to ourselves,extroverts and introverts alike. This is why I run!
Lovely post …hope to see you again soon.
Yes, and this is why *I* should run!! haha!
Thank you for stopping by, Diana! Would love to see you again soon, too. 🙂
Thank you for this!! I am going into month 5 of homeschooling my three kids and just reading that I am like other homeschooling moms helps me know I am not crazy or incapable!
Oh no, Girl, you are totally capable!! Don’t let yourself think otherwise. 😉
Good to see you. 🙂
What an amazing post! Thank you!
I never thought I’d homeschool either and after 13 years of homeschooling our oldest is graduating in 2 weeks. Wow! Time has flown!
So many things in your post resonate with me: I do love being with my children, even the teenagers 🙂 It is such a blessing to be able to spend time with them on a daily basis, learning, growing, and playing. I have learned a lot of not so fun things about myself, but when I look back, I see the growth God has brought in my life. I’m so, so thankful that I get to be home with them and teach them and grow with them.
13 years done, 12 to go!
Lorie, what an encouragement it was reading your comment. You’re getting to see the fruit of your hard work, and I can’t imagine how exciting that is! Congratulations to you and your graduate! 🙂
Great post! Thank you for sharing! I am still in the preparing phase and will begin homeschooling once my oldest has finished with this current public school year, so your list is very helpful. I could really relate to #5 on your list; I’m still trying to find a balance between an acceptably clean house and having the freedom to do things with my children without feeling guilty because I “should be” cleaning the house… I very wise SAHM of four once told me that she lives by the thought that people who have immaculate houses must have very boring lives. While I’m sure that’s not true in the least, judging by the condition of our home, it makes me feel better that we as a family are so very exciting :0) Also, one of those signs “Don’t mind the mess; we LIVE here” would be appropriate to hang on our front doors as a caution to guests who stop by unexpectedly (ie. my mother with her very immaculate house) …
And then #9 and your Target analogy made me laugh out loud! It’s a good thing our closest Target is 40 minutes away… sticking your head in the sand about such places is sometimes the easiest way to cope with the green eyed monster…I think all of us can easily get lost in the wonderful world of Pinterest :0) you are not alone! Have a great day!
April, thank you so much for stopping by! Your comment made me smile…YES I’m sticking my head in the sand!! hee hee 🙂
My kids are currently finishing up their last year of public school. Beginning this summer, I’m leaving my job and we’re all going on the journey of homeschooling. (I have 5 kids (ages 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 – grades 3rd, 4th, 5th and two in 8th).)
I am SO incredibly thankful for blogs like this. It’s like a sneak peak to test answers before the test is given. 🙂
I just wanted to thank you for your website and this particular entry.
They’re probably helping more people than you realize.
Amy, your comment is the sweetest thing of read all week. Really. Thank you for taking the time to type it.
BLESS YOU as you start your new homeschooling life! What a leap of faith! I pray it’s hugely rewarding for you and your children. 🙂
Thank you for this post. I am just finishing up my 1st year of homeschool and I really needed all of this. I know I can do it, but somedays it doesn’t feel possible. Thanks for the encouragement.
Oh Paula, big hugs. Yes, I know that feeling of seeming like it’s too much to bear. Glad you’re here. 🙂
I enjoy your blog so much, you often write about things I have on my heart that I could never put into words as eloquently as you! I also was a nightshift RN in my past life, so I absolutely know what you mean about organization and prioritizing. Anyway, thank you for all your awesome posts and freebies!
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and Happy Nurse’s Week 🙂
Thank you, Dana! Such sweet words.
Oh the night shift. 12-hour nights are where I developed my liking of coffee. 😉
Happy Nurse’s Week to you too!! xoxo
Things I have learned over the past 2 years of homeschooling a now 7 year old(kindergarten and 1st grade) while managing 3 and 1/2 year old twin boys.
1) It’s ok to ask for help.
2) It does not hurt kids to help around the house.
3) Or to ask them to work independently
4) Mom needs breaks too.
5) A clean house is not the most important thing in life.
6)Schedules are good but so is flexibility.
7) Curriculum is only as good as you make it.
8) The “Child Development Timeline” is not your child, they take their own time.
9) Prayer and setting time aside to do it is so important.
10) My children thrive with me as their teacher.
Hannah, I love each one of these. So true! Thanks for sharing them.
Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂
I could have written this list myself! I chuckled when I saw your “custom” planner – it’s very similar to my “custom” planner that I made after I was unable to find one that worked for me 🙂 I thought I was the only one – so glad I’m not alone!!!
No, you’re definitely not alone in the planner! I easily spent $75+ dollars trying to find the right one. Then it dawned on me: Why don’t I just make one??
Sometimes I make life WAY too hard… 🙂
It’s so amazing what homeschooling ends up teaching US, huh? I had several similar revelations recently…and was MOST pleased with how much I realized that I do love being with my kiddos. Great post, my friend.
Oh thank you, Colleen! Yes, it is interesting the things that homeschooling teaches me about ME. Someone should have warned me. 🙂