Twenty-seven years and counting….when we started homeschooling with one little kindergartner, it’s a good thing I didn’t know it would be such a production. At the time we had four young children and I had no idea that eight more would follow. As the years have passed, we’ve graduated seven students, with five to go. Here are a few thoughts on how to survive (and thrive) when you’re homeschooling over the long haul:
You MUST take care of Mom. In the midst of changing diapers, teaching phonics and keeping up with the laundry, I forgot me. Over time I gained 100 pounds, developed some autoimmune issues and got plain ol’ exhausted. It took a long time for me to recognize that I had become a Martyr Mom, and it wasn’t easy to climb out of that pit. But it was definitely worth it. I will never go there again. Between T-Tapp and Plexus, I’m feeling better and younger than ever!
Spice up your curriculum periodically. Sometimes I think I’ve used every phonics curriculum known to mankind. I learned something from each program, and reselling my once-coveted purchase was part of my teacher education. If you’ve taught the same old thing the same old way a few times, maybe it’s time to freshen up your curriculum.
Keep your marriage a priority. I’ve learned something about kids. They grow up, graduate, and go on with their adult lives. That’s what we raise them for, of course, but don’t wait until then to realize that you should have spent more time and thought on your marriage. It’s not always easy, but you’ll be glad you made the effort. I’d still rather spend time with my husband than anyone on the planet. And we still have fun in our “personal” relationship, if you catch my drift…
Life (and your family) is going to change. Things will be different. Not wrong or bad, just different. My younger children have a completely different life than my older children did. There’s no way to stop the march of time. There’s no way I can give each child an identical childhood experience, and that wouldn’t be good for them anyway. Keep asking God for wisdom and trust Him through the seasons of change.
YOU are going to change. First, you’re going to change physically. You will age, your hormones will shift and your needs will be different. We gave up early morning school start times a few years ago when I began to struggle with adrenal fatigue. It’s okay for you to have special foods and supplements–you’ve got to keep up the maintenance on your body and repair the wear and tear. You will also change spiritually, mentally, intellectually and every other -ly. This should be a good thing, if you’re keeping current in your relationship with God and choosing to focus on whatever is lovely, pure and true.
You might get too serious, so lighten up. As the years pass, sorrows and responsibilities increase. Please don’t waste years of your life in self-pity and resentment. Remember what makes you laugh and do it often. Surround yourself with the little things that bring you pleasure, like a pretty coffee cup or a fresh ivy. They won’t solve your problems but they will nourish your soul on the journey.
Once my son asked how old I would be when I retired from homeschooling. I will literally be retirement age, 65 years old, when my youngest child graduates from high school. As a child I always wanted to be a teacher and a mother, so I’m living my dream life. Homeschooling over the long haul has its challenges, but it’s a rewarding life. Just remember it’s life, and keep the home in your homeschool.
Share your thoughts on homeschooling over the years…