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