Backstory: Homeschool Mom

This blog has several articles in a series called Backstory, written to encourage current homeschool moms and dads. We also have a series called Homeschool Beginners because Community gets many questions from folks in both categories. When we say our heart is to encourage homeschool families, we really mean it. 
And, when I hear moms say that they want to homeschool but they are afraid, I know she is likely the best candidate for homeschooling because she is the mom who will find a way.
I have 4 kids from 10 to 20. I could write a blog series on all the mistakes I've made over the years but, I probably won't go that route. In spite of a faulty self, I have always tried my best to do what I felt was best for each of my kids, just like any other mom, homeschooler or not. My kids are home educated but I have been doing plenty of learning myself. Here's my Backstory.

I hope you will be encouraged and inspired.
- HJ

Most of us begin our homeschool journey with optimism and enthusiasm. We picture ourselves coming alongside our children with a firm but loving hand to guide them into becoming life-long learners. Diligent study skills, extraordinary projects, family reading time, and the joy of togetherness motivate us to say "yes" to a homeschool lifestyle of learning. We love them enough to make the sacrifices that educating at home entails and they will love us for it! Right? Well, sort of.

I know, for me, that lasted about a week. 

By Day 1, YOU may learn that they learn in a style much different from yours. By Week 2, YOU may learn that their intentions are much different from yours as well. After Month 3, YOU may learn that distractions are real life and, sometimes, can not be avoided because you are not running an institution but nurturing a home and family. As the school year drags determinedly along, you may learn that you're too hard, too soft, not quite as disciplined as you imagined you'd be, or maybe you just need to chill out because a crying student is not a learning student. The first days and weeks of homeschooling can make or break your plan over the next few years. 

When the real work of learning starts, it starts with you, homeschool mom. 

Go ahead and make your plans. Do it joyfully and obsessively because that's part of the process! Pore over books and new curriculum until your eyes cross because that's necessary. Join a support group, have long talks over endless cups of coffee with other homeschool moms, enroll your kids in too many extracurricular activities at church and in your community. Buy a how-to-homeschool book or two or dozens. Educate yourself on your favorite subject of all: your child.

Then, as you begin your homeschool season, remember that "a mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled". The responsibility you've undertaken is as innate in you today as it was when you guided them through eating, talking, walking and training. Just like then, you will learn that every scenario will not go as planned. You will learn to become flexible so you will not break.

Know this: There will be days you want to quit. Don't give up just yet. Determination and Perseverance will be called upon daily to play a huge role if you are to continue to fulfill the call to home educate.

There's a reason, along with so many others, I'm still here after 15 hard-fought seasons of homeschooling. I honestly believe it's worth it. Don't let fear keep you from doing what you feel like you are called to do for as long as you are called to do it. That's no way to live! Posting this transparent article is scary to me, but, if it helps encourage other homeschool moms, I can and will. If I can overcome my insecurities, misguided intentions, failures and all my fears, so can you!

Armed with determination, perseverance and lots of flexibility, you can succeed, homeschool mom. Your results will not come in yearly testing or grade point averages but, kindled carefully over time, you will learn that the rewards of homeschooling are immeasurable. At some point, the seemingly endless hours that you dedicated to your child's education will become a glimpse of a moment but will reflect forever in the person your child will become. And, you'll never regret the investment.

Someday, like my grown sons have, your child may even say, 'Thank you, Mom'.

(But, don't hold your breath just yet. ;)

by Heather Jones