As I type our homeschool year is coming to an end. We started the year with a new language arts curriculum I loved and an overhaul to our plans for math. We are ending the year with maybe half the language arts material completed and some major math gains but not in the area of completing a whole year’s worth of lessons. The old me wouldn’t believe it but I’m actually at peace with this.
In the beginning
When we began homeschooling I researched what my kids should be learning each year, married lesson plans to learning goals and laminated EV-ER-Y-THING. Seven or so years in and we find learning in the little places and toss the big-plan-needing stuff out the fingerprinted window. I see all these beautifully organized lesson plans and learning environments created by homeschool moms and yes, I’m envious but I’m also realistic. That’s just not me. It’s not my kids either. I have amazing, creative, noisy children who like to make costumes and sing while they work. They do not like sitting around the table before 9 am or following paragraphs full of directions to test their comprehension levels.
Sure I still have weeks where I print off everything on Sunday night and Monday morning my kids awake to a pretty board of to-dos but this is a rare occurrence. Generally, I’m speed-reading instructions for assignments before I hand them to my kids and printing materials off as we need them. I used to get annoyed at my short-comings but I’ve learned to accept them as the way I work. If I’m going to homeschool my kids this is how I roll. My kids are learning and happy and home with me, just the way I like them.
Being flexible and completely unglued to plans has allowed us to jump at the chance for last minute field trips and meet friends for bird-watching hikes the minute the weather clears. My house is a noisy, free-flowing, kind of messy place that would make some planners break out in hives but I’m learning my peace is in the chaos. I work best with a last minute deadline on my printer and choices on what to read next lined up in front of my kids. Those curriculum outlines telling me what to do when used to make me feel like a failure but now I just turn the page.
Years of homeschooling has brought with it a confidence in teaching and mothering that I didn’t have when we began. My daughter has beautiful handwriting and knows every grammar rule despite never seeing the last page of our English book and my son is a math whiz even though we change curricula almost every year. I’ve learned that being flexible with our learning and accepting my style (or lack of) is key to keeping all of us happy with our homeschooling journey.
If you’re like the old me, trying to keep up with an Instagram photo of children sketching leaves accompanied by Mom on violin and Dad on cello, scroll past that photo and give yourself a pat on the back for losing that laminator you bought last year. Making peace with yourself and continuing your homeschool journey from a place that feels nice and comfortable for you will give you so much more happiness and stamina to continue on an authentic path of learning. Instead of looking down at an edited snippet on someone else’s timeline glance over at that kiddo spinning through your living room as he practices his spelling words. His smile is the true measure of your success and will keep you going much longer than any lesson plan.