“Things I wish I had known when I started homeschooling all those years ago”

I titled this post “Things I wish I had known when I started homeschooling all those years ago”. This is obviously not a quote from me since I’ve only been homeschooling for just over a year whilst the mumma who wrote the post I’ve linked to has been homeschooling for years – I’m not sure how many but she’s been a mother for 22 years apparently (also a lot more than my 8 years!)

I am writing this post whilst I wait for my Coursera Wesleyan University ‘The Ancient Greeks’ course to download, lecture by lecture. I haven’t been able to finish the course in the time allotted so I’m having to download the lectures I’ve missed to be watched, well, soon I hope and not just shelved (or rather just left to languish on my laptop)! I was about halfway through the course, so it would be a shame not to finish it. I didn’t start it in time so I can’t get a certificate, but I’m no more believer in certificates for myself as a badge of learning than I do for my kids, so I’m not shedding any tears.

I particularly like the following points in ‘Busy Homeschool Mum’s’ post:

Point 4 – “Character training always comes before curriculum”. I am BIG on this. I don’t even follow a curriculum but even if I did, I would put helping the kids develop character traits before everything. Again today I was complimented on how well behaved they are and how Edward is “like a little man”, the way he goes up to people, looks them in the eye, shakes their hand and introduces himself. Petra, at age 4, is starting to follow his lead. How nice for big brother to set such a great example. The complimenter went on to say that it was so great for him to have such amazing interpersonal skills and that they will stand him in such great stead when he’s older (I think they already do). I agreed that interpersonal skills were very important and that they are so hard to teach as people get older whilst technical skills etc.. were much more easily so. I feel blessed to have such an outgoing, confident child and that Hubby and I have encouraged him to follow this natural inclination of his. 

I realized that contributing to developing the best in the kids’ characters is more important to me than anything when I was in a schools supply store the other day (the first time I’ve ever been in one, at once an exciting and overwhelming experience that made me on the one hand run for the hills with feelings of teaching inadequacy whilst also wanting to buy up the whole store!) I was thumbing through their huge selection of wall posters which, as you can imagine, ‘teach’ all sorts of amazing facts on a huge array of subjects. But what did I come out with? One on ‘Responsibility/ Character Counts!’ and one on ‘Roman Numerals’ (which my son is really interested in learning and which I could do with brushing up on!) I mean – do I REALLY need a poster that reminds my kids that ‘Character Counts’ when this is something I do try to impress on them in many little ways every day? Well, I couldn’t bear to leave without it (lucky it was on sale!) and I was sorely tempted to buy several others of its ilk. The experience reminded me that if this is important to me, not to let curriculum or other ‘school at home’ type learning get in the way of enjoying these learning experiences with my children and thinking up new ways for my kids to practice important ‘character traits’ or whatever the better phrase is that I can’t think of just now!!

As a unschooler, I am also a big fan of point number 9, “I’m homeschooling, not trying to do “school at home”. There really is a difference.” Even for those following a curriculum, I strongly agree that you don’t need to make homeschooling anything like home. There is always time for your kids to get up in a much more leisurely manner and eat a healthy, homecooked breakfast. There is always time for a short break when the need arises. There is always time to tweak the schedule to fit in valuable family visits or other special events. The list goes on!

I like Point 13, “It really does go by as fast as “they” say so now is a good time to think about what I want the homeschool years to accomplish. In other words, what kind of children do I want to raise?” I do think about this a lot but I could do with thinking about it, especially now that I’ve homeschooled for just over a year and have more of a handle on it, exactly what this means on a daily basis in terms of what I need to introduce to the kids in terms of e.g. critical thinking opportunities.

I also like the reminder to be the person you want your kids to see. You need to model for them. This is more powerful than what you say. I also do think about this regularly but I can of course improve!

I hope ‘The Busy Homeschool Mom’s’ post was as inspiring for you as it was for me; very important reminders.







About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is pjmontford@hotmail.com. I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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2 Responses to “Things I wish I had known when I started homeschooling all those years ago”

  1. Shaema says:

    Thank you for pointing out this helpful blog. Her words were very soothing. I find the emphasis on personal reflection and prioritizing one’s marriage intriguing… There are only 24 hours in a day, how to decide how much time away from direct attention to the kids is okay?

    • I know, a big concern. Of course, after the kids are in bed is an important time. I would prefer to use that time to talk to Hubbie when he’s here or read (something substantial which includes homeschooing blogs) when he’s away. He is tempted to watch the news or a movie when he’s home, to relax, but I try and encourage him to discuss eg what I’ve been reading instead. At first we often have to get stuff we need to talk about the kids out of the way but then we can have more meaningful conversations. I feel it’s a form of personal discipline to avoid reading novels or watching movies, and of course they have their place, but the way I’ve described above is how I try to do the ‘personal reflection and marriage prioritizing’ part because I hate it when I feel we’re just coasting along in life and not developing either personally or as a couple.

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