Homeschool moms love to swap organizational and scheduling tips. We work to create a meal plan and laundry routine. We can get bogged down in the day to day operations of our homeschool and lose sight of our long-range homeschool goals.
Yes, all of these day-to-day decisions and plans can help us in reaching that end goal. However, it’s crucial that we not forsake the larger purpose or a daily plan.
What are Your Long-Range Homeschool Goals
Your long-range homeschool goals are the place to start, as your goals will guide your daily plan. I’ve always been an all-in homeschooler and have never thought we’d just give it a try.
So my daily scheduling isn’t that important. My kids can work at their own pace, follow their interests, walk the dog, and play outside whenever they like. They have a lot of latitude and freedom in how they spend their time.
But if you intend to have your children re-enroll in school or attend high school, you’re going to feel more pressure to stay on schedule and not get behind.
Also, if your children are older, they need to be included in this decision making. My oldest is reasonably sure she would like to attend college, so the decisions we are making for her are with that goal in mind.
What do you envision in 5 to 10 or more years? Start there.
What is Necessary for Your Homeschool
Once you decide on your end goals, you can view what you need to do in the day to day of your homeschool.
This is why every homeschool is different. We are all families comprised of different people, with different goals and interests. It seems obvious that our homeschools would look different, yet school treats everyone the same, which doesn’t make any sense.
So don’t think that learning in your home needs to resemble school. It should be comprised of the things you value and the goals you have for your children’s education.
So what are the main priorities I have in my homeschool:
- Plenty of unscheduled time
- Interesting things – books, movies, crafts, magazines, toys, nature, and more
- Travel and field trips
- Pursuing a child’s interests, which led to my buying fondant and making buttercream from scratch this weekend
Your priorities may look very different.
Realize the Goal Will Change
Life changes, circumstances change, interest change, it’s just part of the process.
When our precious child is 5, we have no idea what they will be like at 10 or 15 or 20. We can’t. So don’t cling to the plan you formed in your mind when they were 5.
Things change, and we must adapt to those changes while making the best decisions possible. That’s all any of us can do.
Reap the Homeschool Rewards
I’m fortunate enough to know several second-generation homeschoolers, which I always find fascinating. But not all of you are fortunate to see and hear from adult homeschool graduates. So I’m trying to give you a somewhat close second.
I asked my 16-year-old, always homeschooled daughter to answer a few questions so that those of you just starting on this journey would have the opportunity to hear from a child that has lived a homeschooling life.
We’ve always been quite relaxed and sporadic in our “school-work, ” but she is now in two dual enrollment classes and recently passed her first CLEP exam in American History. She’s not sure whether she would like to be a writer, translator at the UN, or teach English overseas. Probably all three.
Thoughts From a 16-Year-Old Homeschooler
What has been the best thing about homeschooling?
I’ve been able to learn continuously. I worry about the test, but when I take it, I do fine. Most of the stuff I never studied, just picked up. I think it makes you a bit more present in life.
I have never had to do a lot of classroom work, so I don’t think of a classroom in any negative way. We’ve gone on far more “field trips” than school kids, and I’ve had more opportunities to travel and do non-school related projects., such as NaNoWriMo. Also, everything is educational; it’s just a part of everyday life.
What has been the worst thing?
Being with the same people for extended periods of time can try my nerves. I get bored easily, however with a large family and friends group, I can always find something to do.
Also the stereotypes, but I don’t get a lot of hate for homeschooling.
How has homeschooling prepared you for life?
It’s given me skills you can’t learn in school such as outside of the box thinking, curiosity, an eagerness to learn, and observation skills.
Do you think there is anything you are not prepared for?
Would you homeschool your children?
Yes, if I have any. If I am a stay at home mom, I will homeschool. However, if I am making more money than my husband, he might be the one homeschooling. This all being in a future in which I get married and have kids, of course.
How do you think your experience of childhood has been different from someones who has gone to school?
I have had a childhood. We might not always get along, but I think it’s because we really know each other. We live, work, and fight together.
School kids never really get to know their siblings because they are hardly ever with them. My friend has recently started homeschooling and once said to me “Its like I didn’t even know my brother before. He’s a little monster, but he really is fun!”
I had a very imaginative childhood. My sisters and I devoted a lot of time to the creation of our own country “Kid’olot.” It was an elected monarchy. I was the president-queen, of course.
Anything else you would like to say about homeschooling?
According to my recently homeschooling friends, it is better for your mental health. It gives you tighter friends, and it’s getting pretty easy for me to pick out the homeschoolers from the public schoolers. Not by clothing, but by attitude. My roommate at FEE this summer would never have been picked out as a homeschooler: perfect makeup, great hair, cute color-coordinated clothing. However, it was her genuine interest that tipped me off as to her being a homeschooler.
The homeschoolers didn’t complain about watching a documentary on the poverty crisis. We were shocked and interested in it, and many of us talked about it, arguing over new ideas, while the school kids wondered what was for breakfast.
There are, of course, the annoying homeschoolers. Such as the random redhead that always tried to use the largest words possible and took 30 seconds to spit out a sentence anyone else could have said in five seconds. Don’t be that kid. No one likes that kid.
What’s one thing you would tell homeschool moms?
Keep at it! You are helping your kids and giving them a wonderful experience, so don’t give up when they get to high school. I know some moms only homeschool until high school, but all of my friends that have just left public school say that high school would be the worst time to jump in. Don’t throw your kids into something others are trying to escape.
Keeping the Long-Range Homeschool Goals in Perspective
I’ve been homeschooling for over ten years now, and I know how hard it can be when you think your entire house and homeschool is falling apart. I’ve felt it myself recently.
You doubt every decision you’ve made, hate every curriculum you’ve ever chosen, tell yourself you should have bought more curriculum, or question every moment of every day. It happens to us all.
But I hope that even when the phone is ringing, the dog is barking, the kids are crying, and someone is knocking on your door (it’s happened!) you will for some brief moment remember that your short-term goal is to get through that moment and not fall into despair.
That moment being a struggle doesn’t negate your long-range homeschool goals, and doesn’t mean your kids would be better off in school. Life is filled with those moments.
One day does not a homeschool make. Keep your long-range homeschool goals at the forefront.
Discuss your long-range homeschool goals in my Facebook group – Homeschool Mindset | Creating a Life of Learning.
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