Advice to My Younger Self

I’ve been participating in a 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge and today’s challenge is to write a list! That’s one long list! So instead of boring you with listing all 500 things I need to get done today, I’m going to get creative. Hey, look at that! I’m already at word fifty-three! J So here goes….

Five Things I’d Tell my Younger Self About Homeschooling

1. Don’t waste your money! There are so many resources available and marketed to homeschoolers, and many of them are really, really great! But the truth is, many of them are not needed. Don’t rush into any purchase of homeschool materials. Look closely at them. Talk to others who have used them. Look at them for yourself. Let it rest and then decide. If it still looks good a few months from now, chances are it will be a good fit. Discern wisely.

2. Home is a great place to learn. Sounds silly even saying that since home is part of the word homeschooling. But the thing is, oftentimes we feel like we need to get out, do something, take a class, sign up for this or that. These are all good but there is something to be said for time spent at home. Uninterrupted time to get bored and find a way out of that boredom. Kids (and parents) need this time. Every family has a different balance for time home and away. Each member of a family may have a different need. Honor those differences and our children learn to honor them as well. They also learn that home is a wonderful place to be.

3. Trust. Trust yourself. Trust your child. There is no magic formula that when applied will ensure that our children turn out ok (whatever that means anyway). And if there was, how boring this journey would be. Every child and parent is different. And when we allow for those differences and tune into the cues our children give us about their boundaries and interests, we teach our children to do the same. We show that we trust in them and they in turn can trust in us. Then we trust more in ourselves to parent from a place of authenticity rather than fear and control. This deserves 500 words all to itself, but in the interest of today’s writing challenge, I will move on.

4. Be yourself. This probably sounds trite but hear me out. In the homeschooling world, there is a lot of discussion about which method you use, and which curriculum, and what your daily schedule and academic year look like. These discussions are good to have as long as you never try to homeschool in a way that doesn’t work for you and your family. Whatever method you use or don’t use, own it. Be authentic. When you look back at the end of your homeschooling road, you are the only one who will have regrets if you aren’t.

5. It’s all about relationships. This whole thing, books and pencils aside, is about how you connect with your child. There are things that books can’t teach like empathy and compassion. A good story can certainly start a discussion about it, but our actions as parents tell far more than the words in a book. Have fun together. Learn. Laugh. Cry. Together.

Reading this over, it’s pretty clear that these principles are more about being present and intentional in our parenting, regardless of our choices in how we educate our children. But rather than edit this whole post, which is against the rules of the writing challenge, I will leave it as it is, and open the discussion up to you. What is the one thing you would tell your younger self about being a parent?