Homeschool Regrets: What I’d Go Back and Change

When I look back on our journey, I’m happy to say I don’t have many homeschool regrets.  In fact, I’ve only got one thing I’d go back and change if I had the power to do so.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change

The problem is that the one thing is significant and it’s something that affects us every single day in our homeschool.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, I hope my homeschool regrets won’t be yours.  Don’t learn this lesson the hard way, as I have.

Homeschool Regrets:
The One Thing I’d Go Back and Change

The thing I’d go back and change is fairly simple.  I’ve shared before that I didn’t know any homeschoolers personally when were considering homeschool. After we began, we met another homeschool family, but that was the only support we had for many years.

While I didn’t know homeschoolers, I definitely knew public school teachers.  A lot of them.  I also knew homeschool critics.  None of them are at fault, but they are connected to my homeschool regrets.

The thing I’d go back and change is that I didn’t trust myself sooner.  I listened to the wrong voices, the voices that said education had fit a mold in order to be legitimate.  They didn’t mean to be condescending, but they weren’t supportive of our calling to home education and they let it be known.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change

Because of their reactions and responses to our choices, I didn’t trust my instinct and I’m still paying for it to this day.   We may have never enrolled our kids in the local public school, but we may as well have during the first few years.  I mistakenly assumed that school — in a building, house or elsewhere — had to look one way in order to be effective.

Homeschooling with timidity

What you have to know is that I was captivated by unit studies and Charlotte Mason’s method from the very beginning.  I would research during my lunch break at work and think of how that kind of learning made so much sense to me.  I’m not knocking my public school experience, but an educational path that didn’t involve one-size-fits-all methodology excited me beyond belief.

But then I started talking about it.  The public school teachers appeared to be offended.  Friends sneered.  Family members said I’d lost my mind.  After all, a child can’t truly be educated by someone who isn’t formally trained using methods that go against what everyone else is doing.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change

I listened to every voice but my own and talked myself out of the very homeschool path I felt called to from the beginning.  Public school (or private school) is an option that works for lots of families, but we knew from the beginning that we weren’t called to it.  Instead, we were called to homeschooling, but I wasn’t bold enough to walk in the freedom that comes with home education.

Homeschooling with confidence

I found the confidence to proudly walk a different path, but it took a few years.  We made it through the preschool years, kindergarten, and even first grade with the “homeschool is just school at home” mentality, but second grade came along and I knew something had to change.

My son wasn’t happy with traditional methods.  Not only was he unhappy, but he was also getting frustrated because he didn’t understand all of the material.  There were tears because of failed tests and concepts that simply weren’t getting through.  Through this rocky year, I learned the problem wasn’t homeschooling.  The problem was public school at home.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change

His third grade year came around and I began to gradually shift away from the traditional methods to an eclectic approach.  He wasn’t happy when I began introducing new curriculum and a new mindset, but now he wouldn’t have it any other way.  In fact, he’s thrilled with his sixth grade curriculum choices and the direction he’s been taking since our move to eclectic homeschooling.

It’s all good now.  We know who we are as homeschoolers and we’re comfortable discussing that in front of anyone with any educational background.  Our typical homeschool day looks nothing like public school at home these days, but I’m doing what’s right for my family and what we should’ve been doing all along.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change
I just wish I had stopped listening to the naysayers sooner.  After all, they’re not the ones raising my kids and they’re not the ones ultimately responsible for them.  That’s up to me and my husband.  As long as we’re listening to the voices that matter, — God’s, ours, our kids’ — it really doesn’t matter what others have to say about what’s happening in our homeschool.

We’re in a great place now, but I can’t help but wonder how different things would be if I had trusted myself all along.  I don’t dwell on the time we spent on the wrong path, but I know that we’ll never get that time back.

Fellow homeschooler, trust yourself.  Don’t realize years down the road that you were right all along.  Be confident in your choices now and avoid those homeschool regrets later on.

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Do you have some homeschool regrets of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments.  After all, we can learn from each other and move forward together.

Homeschool Regrets: What I'd Go Back and Change

There’s more of this conversation happening at iHomeschool Network’s Homeschool Regrets linkup.  Come on over and take a look!

21 thoughts on “Homeschool Regrets: What I’d Go Back and Change”

  1. I’ve had homeschool on my heart from my 2nd trimester with my 1st. We did “preschool” saying we’re just trying. Then kindergarten we said we’re just seeing if we can actually teach him. The only curriculum we had was math. Other than that we read for an hour+ and looked up things and had lots of discussions. And I gave birth to my 3rd that year. I was sure I was failing my kids with constant breastfeeding breaks. But somewhere in there my 1st learned how to read and my 3yr is doing great with number and alphabet recognition etc.. So this year we just smile politely -as everyone who knows we homeschool asks what school the boys go to- and say they are homeschooled.
    Thanks for writing this! It has really helped me realize my boys deserve me believing in myself if I’m to teach them to believe in themselves.

  2. This post is exactly what I needed to be reminded about! Thank you! I hear the negativity about homeschooling often. It hurts! I always question myself. It is a bad feeling. You are absolutely right that we are the ones responsible for our children and we know what is best!

  3. Hey just curious what curriculum are you going off of now. Can you send me the link? I feel the same way about public schools! Good job in listening to your voice!

    1. Hi Jen, I’m using Ambleside Online for my 6 year-old daughter now and several different things for my 11 year-old son. You can learn more about Ambleside Online (a fully Charlotte Mason approach) at the AO website, but my son’s daily variety can be found in my post on 7th grade. Hope this helps! :)

  4. So true! I hate trying to explain how our homeschool “runs” to the average outsider because I know they don’t get it and I usually don’t have time to really get down to the nitty-gritty. On the other hand just before we pulled our kids out of public school I had a friend who had just put hers in for the first time. When she asked what we’d be using for homeschool I asked her if she knew Charlotte Mason. She got really excited and told me she wished she’d had the confidence to go with a Charlotte Mason approach when she started her kids out! That gave me a confidence boost out of the gate and I really can’t imagine trying to do our life another way now.

  5. Homeschooling 4th and 6th grade girls for first time! I have been so interested in Charlotte Mason/ unit study style but am wondering how to incorporate Math and L.A./spelling/etc. We are in IL and the only requirement is that we teach “what the PS is teaching” and that’s why I’m nervous about those subjects.
    What do any of you guys do for Math/L.A.?

    1. We’re using Life of Fred for math right now, but we’ve happily used Math U See before. That might be a better option to meet your state requirement for that subject.

      For language arts and spelling, it’s probably going to be more challenging to find an option that will be true to CM and still be along the lines of your local schools since it’s done from a completely different approach.

      Unit studies are a little easier in that regard. I do well finding language arts resources that compliment our unit study topics over on CurrClick. You should be able to find something that would go along with your topics, but also meet your state requirements.

  6. I wished I had the confidence to do what worked for us sooner too but I often console myself with the thought that we had to get through what we went through to get where we are now. Great post. Pinned and shared.

  7. Jennifer Nichols

    Love this post! I basically told our story and it was very similar. 1st year – traditional, 2nd year – off the wall (due to serious illness), 3rd year – mixed due to stress from the previous year. Next year – BOOM! – our year! Because the second year threw us off the traditional I learned that not only was we happier with school but she learned just as much. Last year we did a lot of unschooling. So I am excited about the upcoming year. My desire for next year is to chill out & learn in a fun way. Learn about things not necessary. And to be more student led in learning. The whole “school at home” got lost when we homeschooled in the hospital and rehabs. Probably was the best thing to happen to us school wise. :-)

  8. Excellent!! I love your thoughts and great advice. We are finding ourselves in a similar place right now, needing to break free from the public school mindset. It’s hard when that’s all you’ve experienced yourself, but thankfully there are so many resources these days for seeking alternative paths! My son is in 1st grade and I am so excited for the changes we are making. Thank you so much for your encouraging words in this article. It gives me motivation to keep on going:)

  9. Thanks for the encouraging post! It’s really nice to hear about other people who have had to start, stop, readjust, and figue things out as they go along. I homeschool my daughter, who is almost 13 (yipes!). At the end of grade six, she aced a national test (the first one we had tried) and I was so happy to get that positive feedback. A year later, her score sank way down, and there is something about the age 11-13 group that has to be said, I think: the hormones and growing and ‘I’m not little any more – help! Who am I?’ stuff that goes on needs a lot of love and patience, and no-one should feel bad (as I did) about a dip in academic achievement at this point. She’s doing much better now that she feels a bit more sure of herself as a young lady. Young people, especially young adults, need lots of time to digest what they learn, not only to keep learning – that’s the one thing that I tend to forget, and that I would have done with far less stress for the last two years if I were to redo them. (My husband is way better at taking time to do nothing than I am!) Thanks again for posting!

  10. Hi. Could you further explain “eclectic” and what does a typical day look like? Struggling here……

    1. Shelly, I’m happy to explain!

      By eclectic homeschooling, I mean that we draw from several methods of teaching. Many families gravitate toward one specific style (traditional, Classical, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, etc.) and only use to meet their homeschooling needs. My kids don’t do well using any one particular method on each subject, leading us to that eclectic approach. That allows us to take what we like from each method and use accordingly from subject to subject. For the most part, however, we pull from a mix of Charlotte Mason and unit studies with a touch of classical homeschooling.

      As far as what that looks like on a typical day, you may want to take a look at Done by Noon: A Look at Our Typical Homeschool Day. I explain everything we’re doing there. :)

    2. Margaret Vanke

      I’ve been listening to the naysayers and my oldest son is in kindergarten and my second son is going to be in kindergarten. Thursday we had a meeting for my second son at what would be his kindergarten and they are claiming he’s behind but I think they expect to much. I listened to the naysayers with my first son and he has been so miserable this year of kindergarten. I can’t believe what they expect of these kids now. I feel like everyone else can run off their opinions but if you list off your reasons people get so offended.

  11. Oh yes! I think listening to the naysayers is something all of us homeschoolers have to overcome….eventually. It takes longer for some of us than others, but hopefully we all find what works best for our kids.

  12. This is a great post. I think that trusting our mommy gut can be so hard, but is almost always a regret when we don’t listen. This is thought provoking post and made me think of how much we all need to support new homeschoolers. I found you on the hip homeschool hop link.

  13. Pingback: Lazy Day Links-6/17/16 – There's No Place Like Home

  14. Oh wow, I literally just published a post like this. Not about homeschooling per se {though we just pulled our son out of kindergarten because we’re probably going to}, but more about being able to trust our instincts as mothers and being able to make decisions for our family even if it leads us on a different path. So thankful this came up on my Pinterest feed, I’m saving it for myself x

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah! It’s easy to second-guess ourselves, especially when it comes to parenting. It’s so important for us to trust our instincts. After all, no one knows our kids better than we do. God gave them to us for a reason! :)

  15. Awesome post! I was one of those kids who loved school, so when I began homeschooling, I did everything just like school- a little classroom complete with school-type desks, a chalkboard and whiteboard, educational posters all over the walls, etc. My kids had to raise their hands to ask a question or go to the bathroom (yes, I was that bad), and we had our spelling tests every Friday, of course. After two years of this, I was burned out, my kids hated homeschooling, and I sent them back to school for two years. Then I finally came to my senses, read up on homeschooling methods, and determined to bring my kids back home to homeschool with a much more relaxed attitude, which is exactly what we’ve been doing. Now, they all love it and even speak of homeschooling their own kids one day.

    1. Shelly, I get it! It’s hard to go a different direction from our own school experiences,especially when they seemed okay at the time. Glad you found the right fit for you and your kids!

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