Homeschooling brings about adjustment for the parents as well as the children. They will be learning in a different environment, with a different routine. Homeschooling will change you as a parent in many positive ways. You will be finding your way with having your children at home and including them in all the daily tasks.
You will get to know your child more, spend more time with him/her and in the process, you will get to know yourself more, too.
When asking other parents what the biggest change was in themselves, the number one response was PATIENCE! This is good! We could all use a lesson in slowing down, taking the time to absorb and internalize information, instead of scanning everything around us like a Facebook news feed.
If you would like an encouraging idea of what changes lie ahead for you as a homeschooling parent, read on and take courage.
Many of these happen anyway as part of the journey of parenting. But homeschooling highlights each one with more intensity.
One of the first things that will need an adjustment is boundaries if you haven’t adjusted them yet! The kids will need to know when is playtime, learning time and parents’ work time so that you all don’t drive each other crazy. A time and a place for everything… For those of you who are planners, this will be a new opportunity to use your skill!
Tip: let your child participate in the planning (as appropriate). Check out this post on creating a homeschooling routine for help.
Yes, spontaneity is also fun and part of life. Have a routine so you can break one from time to time!
New thinking and more laughter
The way you think about school, learning and socializing will change. You will unschool yourself more than your child, probably! It will soon become easier not to take everything so seriously. Laugh every day!
Suddenly, answering your child’s 128 random questions becomes a bit less annoying and turns into material for learning, outings, internet browsing, and more. They become keys to turning your child’s motivation on.
All of life is about learning and the tools you use will change from time to time. As you learn along with your child, you’ll become more open-minded.
And your happiness shouldn’t depend on what your child has or hasn’t accomplished on a given day. Your happiness and sense of achievement as a homeschooling parent is in the fact that you are showing up every day, being there for your children and doing the best you can.
Deepened relationships as a family
Everyone’s family looks a little different, granted. Some people have more support than others. But when it comes down to you and your child, you will get to know each other better and have more opportunities to talk about what makes you who you are.
The time spent together will not be wasted. Yes, your kids will probably not see friends on a daily basis but that’s not real life anyway. They will get to see what your life as an adult looks like, have more understanding of your work and be able to participate more in the problems a family may face together.
Our six-year-old takes the concept of “together” very seriously. She prays with us for the main concerns as appropriate and she likes to feel included and like she can help and support in small ways. She knows her role and special part in the family. She is a notice-er and it’s such a special trait.
Reflection on emotional coping skills
So, you’re working with your child on a math problem and they just can’t seem to get it. It seems logical and simple to you, but none of your explanations are working. You can see the impending meltdown on your child’s face. The frustration is rising in your gut.
All of a sudden, the lesson is now an opportunity to talk about how to deal with it when you’re struggling to learn or master something. For many adults, dealing with problems is often harder than the problem itself.
Ask your child what would help them figure it out. Talk about how it feels when you struggle with a problem. The feelings of failure. Feeling stupid, inadequate and helpless. Talk about how to get help. Give your child and yourself the chance to take a break. Take the pressure off. This is part of the reason for homeschooling, after all! Sometimes a break and fresh air can work incredible magic and give the brain a chance to process.
“So much learning happens when I don’t force it. The joy of learning is everything and if my daughter is interested, she motors through learning like you wouldn’t believe.” – Salome Bronkhorst
Less stress – you become more flexible and creative
Homeschooling is about building a life, not just passing a grade. As daunting as this may sound if you feel like a barely functioning adult yourself, this is GREAT. It’s an opportunity to think broader than a small set of standards.
You will find yourself discussing things with your child that you never considered before. When something isn’t working, you can find another way without it being the end of the world. Sometimes, it’s the stuff you make up along the way that works better than any bought-and-paid-for tool!
I don’t have to follow the world’s timeline and “have-to’s”. I can do things the way my little family needs it and use what works for us. I learned how interesting things can be through the eyes of a child. Life is just more fun!” – Jeanne Kerr
New relationships with other homeschoolers
Your child’s social life is now largely in your hands. You will need to put yourself out there along with your child and be brave. Not every parent will click with you, and that’s okay. This doesn’t have to be the school playground all over again! Give it time. Try new places, meet new people and just roll with it.
Learning with your child
Homeschooling allows your child more time to explore their interests and build much of their learning around it. As the parent, you will be part of that and find yourself enjoying it more than you expected! You will discover new activities you may not have explored before, too.
Yes, you will be a little vulnerable. Your child will discover there are many things you don’t know and can’t do. And that’s okay. It’s the same for everyone! Your child can learn so much from just watching you try.
Re-evaluating your beliefs and world view on important issues
If you’ve never questioned what you believe and why, educating your child will certainly motivate you to figure this out. Critical thinking is important. It’s an opportunity to teach your child what truth and facts are all about. Read books on difficult topics together, discuss ideas and values and how they play out in life. It’s one of the most stimulating, meaningful topics in life.
Help your child navigate their own journey of belief, by giving them tools and asking the difficult questions. It’s a foundational building block for their future.
Some thoughts from another parent on how homeschooling changed them:
I wanted to conclude with this quote because it is so beautifully written.
“Homeschooling changed a lot in me and my approach to parenting. I learned patience. I realized the time children need to be children and play for the most part of the day is more important than being restricted to academic learning at a desk from age 0-12 at least.
I realized how warped our view is of what learning really is and how children really learn. It changed my approach to education and parenting my own children. I am grateful for the time my children spent with me because they taught me to be a more dedicated and educated parent who can now share my homeschool experience with new homeschooling parents.
Homeschooling gave me the one thing that no money can buy: time with my children before they are adults. It flashes by before you even have time to wipe your eyes. It is more precious than all the academic achievements a child can ever reach. Homeschooling also changed my view of life with my family and showed me much of what God intended for mothers at least.
It is a sweet thing to be really close to your children, pray with and for them, and to be the person they talk to or want to be quiet with. Precious conversations that helped me and them cope with life and live together for a moment in time. It sure has fulfilled what I missed in the 10 years before I started homeschooling them when they were in public school and I was working full time. I was torn apart between work and family. Coming home was great and educating them myself was, and still is, a greater gift than I could ever imagine.”– Benita de Beer
How has homeschooling changed YOU as a parent? What changes are you working on?
Share your story in the comments below.