I can hardly believe I have just completed my 15th year of homeschooling. That’s pretty amazing given the fact that when my husband first mentioned homeschooling to me as a 25-year-old mother of two, I told him he was crazy, that it wasn’t a real thing or if it was, it couldn’t possibly be legal and that I could be a teacher or mother but not simultaneously both AND that anyone who claims they could was deceiving themselves or others.
We laugh as we look back on those days and how it took nearly 12 years for me to get on-board with the idea. Since then, nine of my 10 children have been homeschooled and the one who wasn’t is a mother of two who now homeschools her own children.
Summer began this week. For most homeschooling mothers, this is a special time of year when we plan our next school year (except for those uber-organized-ahead-of-the-game types who likely have already done so). If you interview 100 homeschooling moms, 99 of them will probably tell you they love when curriculum catalogs start arriving in the mail. It’s a time when we can re-think our game plans, start afresh, get rid of what’s not working and try new things.
Of course, many of us map out our entire year ahead and scrap half of it part-way through but that’s beside the point; it’s still fun to plan. ::winks:: When I was working in the public speaking circuit online and running a website to encourage and support homeschooling families all over the world, I would always tell mothers that planners were great assets so long as they do not allow themselves to become enslaved to them. We rule the planners; they don’t rule us.
In my 15 years of homeschooling, I have shared in the joy of four high school graduates. I’m one of many mothers who tend to be quite hard on themselves, always comparing to others and thinking I’ve not done enough regarding my children’s education. Usually, right about the time I schedule my annual meeting with a state-certified homeschool reviewer, I realize I’ve done far more than I thought, as I fill the pages in my children’s portfolios to show proof of written work and progression of learning, as required by law.
Homeschool planning is fun. One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is that each student can learn according to his or her own strengths and weaknesses, at an individual pace. Some state laws are stricter than others. ::speaks next line sarcastically:: I have the awesome privilege of homeschooling in Pennsylvania, known as one of the strictest states in the contiguous union. In PA, we are required to teach certain subjects; however, we’re still free to customize our learning plan as we see fit.
Homeschooling has taught me that there’s more than one way to learn and that education is all about inculcating a love of learning in our children, not merely getting them to memorize facts and testing them on how well they can regurgitate those facts at a later date.
The best part about planning a new homeschooling year is knowing that if it doesn’t work, we can tweak, adjust, eliminate or add as needed, until we arrive at a point where everyone is comfortable, or at least willing to struggle through to the end.
While there’s no obligation to write down one’s plans, it’s nice to set goals in writing and fun to look back through our planners once we’ve accomplished those goals. Planning a new school year is a great incentive to keep going.
Homeschooling is not always easy but it is always worth it.
Planning time reminds me that we are blessed!
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.