When I am on the road speaking at conventions, I am often asked about what I would differently if I could do it all over again - and here's my list:
1. Have less textbook stress, more individualized focus.
2. Focus on the child, not the information lists
3. Expand the family's horizons – as individuals and as a family
4. Listen more, talk less – avoiding the "transmit only" mode
5. Encourage more often, instead of being judgmental or comparative
I wish I had known to relax and enjoy the time together as a family more. In the beginning, we were so nervous about covering everything, using all of the workbook pages, filling up the plan book ahead of time and sticking with it rigidly. So much stress, so little long-term learning, and so little enjoyment of the educational process.
The more we homeschool, the broader our interests become. No longer pursuing narrow, society-defined topics alone, we enjoy the freedom to investigate topics like horticulture, sports fitness, glass painting, business and economic concepts for kids, personalized pursuits of art, music, and so much more.
You will never be able to completely fill their minds with absolutely every bit of available information – but you CAN teach them or learn WITH them about how to FIND all kinds of information that they might need to know – research skills are vital for this next generation. The overabundance of information on the internet is so overwhelming, and at the same time – provides priceless access to things that we could never have found through a local library. Give them the gift of thinking skills and research ability.
Remember, homeschooling is not just about learning academic material. It is about opening the envelop of each child's imagination with wonder and awe – feeding their desire to learn more, to investigate, to discover and pursue their unique God-given gifts and talents.
What do I know now that I wish we had known when we first started homeschooling?
- The things that count can't be counted.
- Time goes by too quickly to worry about or obsess over small things, like whether or not my child can read by the time they are five years old, etc.
- Keep the big picture in the forefront – getting from point A (beginning homeschooling) to point B (finish homeschooling) – remember that perspective is key to success. While we might miss algebra this week due to family illness, we will still focus on the desired outcome – a well-rounded and enthusiastic learner by the time high school is complete.