Tips for Homeschooling Mamas

Homeschooling: Path Following & Trail Blazing

“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.” 

Muriel Strode, Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers

For 13 years I dreamed of this day. It seemed so far away at the time, and I wasn’t even sure that day would come. You see, I was one of those homeschoolers who “took it year by year” for so many years. What started in the fall of 2009, was one of those things I was just going to “try” to keep from sending our little girl to a rumored lousy school district. One day, she would likely go to “real” school. Of course I would not be equipped to educate a child past 5th or 6th grade. The only experience I had working with children was for a week in the summer volunteering at Vacation Bible School. I always chose to do the arts and crafts, because I didn’t even want to teach.

Success in the making

A successful kindergarten year lead to a successful first grade, then second grade. It was that year that our son would be learning along with us as he started kindergarten at home. We whizzed through the elementary years, learning how to read and write, making baking soda volcanoes, taking frequent field trips, and enjoying days at the park with several friends. Then middle school came. It was at that point, the homeschooling path wasn’t as clear as it had been. Things got more difficult academically, as well as socially. Some friends moved, some friends enrolled into “real” school, and I became a fanatic. It was then that my attitude changed from a “year to year” homeschooler, to a “come hell or high water, I will finish what we have started” kind of homeschooler. That is where the path ended, and a new trail had to be made.

By this time, I was no longer “teaching” our kids, but “learning” right alongside them – and it was great! And what I didn’t have the time or interest to learn (like math), I found sources online that could teach them. I have found that the later years are much easier than the early years, really. You become more of a facilitator that gets to choose the curriculum as well as the instructor.

The day that seemed so far off when our first child would graduate is finally here. We just wrapped up 12th grade, and the dream I had so many years ago. Only my dream involved a pig-pickin’, friends and neighbors, fruit punch, balloons, confetti, and maybe even fireworks. But that’s not her dream. She’s a quiet type, not wanting any fanfare or attention drawn to herself. So, we ended it just how we started the year, at a place she loves – the beach. Only at the start of the school year, we got up before dawn to see the sunrise; on this day, we saw the sunset. It was simple, it was beautiful, just like her.

Leaving a trail

Even though we only have one more child to finish homeschooling, I will never completely be finished. Just like the many who left a trail before me, I will forever be a strong advocate for homeschooling. The path isn’t always easy, it often feels desolate, and it does take work. That work you put into your children is the most important work you will do. That work carries value for generations to come.

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Psalm 25:4

Thirteen years ago, I had no idea where the path would lead, but I knew in my heart it was the right one all along. I can only hope that our experience has left a trail others want to follow.

If you are interested in blazing a trail of your own – GO FOR IT! If you’re interested in our unlikely beginnings, check out Our Homeschooling Story You may be surprised that you only need two things to homeschool successfully. Last, if you’re thinking about putting those older kids in school, you may want to check out my top 10 reasons NOT to. That post was slightly fiery, and my thoughts remain the same. It was even written before 2020, and my, my, my how things have changed in two short years. Perhaps I should update….or maybe not. I’ll close with saying that I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted homeschooling their children. So, go ahead and start trail blazing!

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