They say hindsight is 20/20 and with homeschooling, that’s definitely true! We have come a long way from the preschool years here at The Waldock Way and a lot has changed!
I’ve learned that the resources I thought we would always use and the curriculum I thought would be absolutely perfect, wasn’t. I have learned that some of the ideas I had about how homeschooling would go were totally wrong. I’ve learned that our homeschool doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and that’s okay.
After completing years of homeschooling, I’m sharing my homeschooling hindsight and all the things I wish I’d known. I hope these lessons learned will help you on your homeschooling journey too. Keep reading to see all the resources that matter most in our homeschool and discover how I learned to let go of expectations and trust the process.
The Resources That Mattered Most in Our Homeschool
Over the years, I’ve learned the resources that mattered most in our homeschool weren’t the ones I would have expected. The things that we got the most value from, the most learning, and the most enjoyment weren’t boxed curricula and printables. Instead, we have come to value great books, activities, and spontaneous deep conversations so much more.
Reading aloud has been a game changer for our homeschool. We have learned so much from sharing great books together, both picture books and chapter books. Learning with literature has been a rich and beautiful way to experience the world.
Whether we’re reading through a series together or enjoying a beautiful picture book about our favorite scientist, books have become a huge resource and taught us an incredible amount of things and exposed us to new ideas.
Hands-on activities and projects teach real-world skills. Learning with these kinds of activities has been the most helpful way to retain new ideas, practice skills, and develop critical thinking.
As a family, our connection has grown deeper and our love of learning is so much stronger as a direct result of all the engaging activities. They have come to matter so very much in our homeschool experience over the years.
It has been a pleasant surprise how much we have learned over the years just by talking together. If you’re just beginning this homeschooling journey, you’ll be amazed at all the interesting, new, and spontaneous topics that lead to deep conversations and real learning.
I’ll never forget the day seeing a few vultures in our front yard led to a quick unit study about vultures. Who knew a moment like that could lead to a natural curiosity about birds and an entire unit study where we deep dive into the lives of these amazing creatures?
You Don’t Have to Do It All
Another homeschool hindsight that I wish I could have shared with the younger me is that you really don’t have to do it all. Veteran homeschool parents tell new homeschoolers this all the time, but it’s not until later that we realize the importance of this revelation. There was a time when I thought doing it all was the mark of a successful homeschool year.
All the Curriculum in One Year
You really don’t have to do all the curriculum in one year. There’s a lot! It’s natural to see a “grade 3” book and think you’re supposed to complete the entire thing. Why wouldn’t you?
Think back, did you ever complete the entire textbook in public school? Did your teachers ever use the whole book from cover to cover? There isn’t time and it’s too much information to retain in most cases.
It’s so freeing when you let go of the idea that your child must complete the entire book or all the worksheets. Then, there’s more time for activities, conversations, and real deep learning outside of the textbooks and worksheets. Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as being behind in homeschooling.
All the Subjects in One Day
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s okay not to do all the subjects in one day. Every subject feels so important and it’s easy to think that we need to do at least one lesson each day. However, that mindset can become overwhelming for homeschoolers and their parents.
So what if we spend all our time on math one day and all our time on science the next? What if we rotate and we only cover geography twice in one week? What if we take a break from grammar or spelling for a few weeks?
Sometimes taking a break from a challenging concept or rotating subjects can be just what your homeschooler needs to reset and come back to it with more resolve. We once took several months off from multiplication and it turned out to be the best thing ever! That’s when we discovered that games are an excellent way to learn and practice math concepts.
It’s okay if you can’t do it all. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to outsource learning. Outsourcing can be a great way to get a new perspective, save your sanity, and help your student master a challenging concept.
There are so many amazing options for outsourcing in the homeschool community. Emily has learned so much from online classes including her monthly book club group and fascinating science classes.
Outsourcing subjects that are challenging for you or your child can help protect your connection and eliminate frustration for both of you is another great reason to outsource. We have seen remarkable improvements since outsourcing math with Teaching Textbooks and writing with programs like Night Zookeeper.
Trust the Process
Letting go of difficult expectations like finishing every page of the textbook or completing every subject in one day is a lot easier when you trust the process. It can be difficult in the early years to trust that all the little things you’re doing will add up to academic success and a lifelong love of learning. Hang in there and trust the process, I know you’ll be amazed when you look back and see all the amazing progress your child has made this year.
Let Go of Expectations
My final piece of advice after all these years is to let go of expectations. It’s true that comparison is the thief of joy. Your homeschool probably won’t look like mine, it won’t look like the picture-perfect families you see on Instagram, and it probably won’t look like the other homeschool families you know either. That’s okay, in fact, it’s beautiful.
Our children are unique, we are unique, and our homeschooling journey is unique and wonderful too. Let go of expectations that cause you to compare your child, yourself, and your homeschool experience to others. Instead, embrace the beautiful journey you’re on together and trust that all the work you’re doing now will have amazing results.
We have reached the middle school years in our homeschooling journey. It has been a wild ride from preschool to now! The high school years are still ahead and I know we will learn so much more together, about each other, and about ourselves.
I’d love to read about the amazing wisdom and homeschool hindsight you’ve gathered over the years too. Share your favorite lessons in homeschooling and helpful tips in the comments. I can’t wait to read your stories too!