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Homeschool Moms Share the Best Advice They Ever Received

HomeschoolMoms

If you are discerning homeschooling, this post is for you! On Facebook, there is a crazy big homeschooling momma group that gets some of the best conversations going. One day, Bonnie Landry asked moms to share the best advice they had ever received about homeschooling. The following is a collection of those responses:

  1. Our number one job as parents is to help our kids get to Heaven….to me it puts all our homeschooling efforts into proper perspective.
  2. Strive for mastery learning. Stay on something and keep teaching until he/she gets it; otherwise, why not just send him to public school if we can’t teach to the mastery level as homeschoolers? My husband said this, and I’ve been less interested in hitting deadlines and more interested in my son getting the information completely.
  3. Take each year at a time…that helped me make the original decision to homeschool. Also, that your child’s religious formation is the most important and they wouldn’t get what you are giving in school.
  4. Never make a big decision in February. It tends to be among the worst burnout months when we are trapped inside because of the cold and illness and lack of sunshine makes everything seem so much darker.
  5. ‘No one is watching.’ Meaning, no one is keeping tabs on every little thing you do throughout your homeschooling days. Feel free to do as your heart and soul leads you with your precious family!
  6. I don’t know if this was intended to be advice but looking back, I totally think it’s shaped my home schooling. When my now 15 year old was about 3 or 4, I thought I had to get involved quickly. I joined a co-op that did art projects once or twice a month. I met some great ladies, but I remember them basically saying that it was okay for me to join but to keep in mind that my daughter was young and I really didn’t have to. I really think that has shaped a lot of who I am as a homeschooler. I really think we push kids way too young. And that includes the five year old or six year old who can’t read yet. Many of our kids are just not developmentally ready for what we think the schools would force them to do. And that is a big reason why we homeschool.
  7. Two things–daily Mass if at all possible and remember that life sometimes gets in the way of homeschooling. That was great advice for me as we had our seventh child when we started and continued to have a baby every couple of years and it was necessary to take some time off with each baby. It is amazing how much learning gets done in the unstructured time if you are reading good books.
  8. Don’t try to make your homeschool like public/private school…make it your own.
  9. Your first priority is their soul.
  10. Don’t do kindergarten.
  11. I decided early on not to buy anything until I knew we needed it. Money was tight, and this saved money as well as made it so we did not try every new thing that came along. The best advice I ever got…choose a curriculum that works for you the parent. You can tweak anything to better suit your kids but if it doesn’t work for you it will be very hard for you to teach. That changed the way I looked at curriculum and eliminated my own frustration with using programs that just weren’t my style. My kids all have different styles and I’ve been able to tailor what works for me to work for them in their own ways.
  12. I loved doing school on my bed while nursing a newborn several times per day. When I needed to nurse, we did more school! It was great! I miss those days! It seems like we got more school done then than we do now that she is one!
  13. Nursing the baby has always been my excuse to sit: I figured I could use that time to read to the kids or have them read to me.
  14. Breathe more. And you’ll never teach them everything they need to know. It’s okay.
  15. You are the captain of your own ship…you don’t have to keep up with public school or any other homeschooling family.
  16. Love before discipline. Go on field trips and enjoy yourself. See the world through your children’s eyes. If you want to prevent your children from being passive aggressive, make sure they exercise daily.
  17. Relationships trump academics. Always.
  18. My son was having difficulty because of epileptic seizures, his online teacher told me, “Forget what the state thinks he should know, as long as you are seeing improvements year to year, he is doing fine.”
  19. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
  20. What are YOUR reasons for homeschooling? Write them down and put them on the fridge. Look at your list on the ‘hard’ days. Put things you need (for your life to be balanced) in place to avoid ‘burnout’. If you burn out, there’s no homeschool so taking care of yourself is of primary importance. Do you need weekly adoration? Dates with your spouse? Mom’s Night Out? Do you need books each year to encourage you as a teacher? A vacation (with kids/without)? A get-a-way? Do you need quiet time for you? A regular gym time for you? To splurge on yourself once in a while? Daily Bible reading? You HAVE to take care of YOU – or you won’t be any good for anyone else.
  21. Best advice…take a breath, drink some tea and customize it to fit ‘your’ family. After I did that, it all fell into place.
  22. It took me FOREVER (like 10 years) to figure out that I could make our school week “start” and “end” on whatever day fit us best for that year. We have a co-op that meets Wednesday for scheduling, but it actually winds up and “ends” our school for the week. And I suck at grading things on Fridays, so I have them turn in spelling tests, math tests, papers, etc on Wed. Then we “start” the week (new chapters, new spelling words, etc.) on Thursdays. I’m so much more likely to get grading done on a Wed afternoon (or Thursday afternoon of a bad week) than a Friday night when I forget until Monday morning and am stuck with trying to catch them up from last week!
  23. Don’t just copy “normal” school at home. Make it what you want. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. You are in charge of directing your family life instead of the world revolving around a school schedule. I just came up with this one this summer for myself: “If you are going to laugh about it in 20 years, you might as well laugh about it now.” This usually applies to baby and toddler messes, preteen weirdness, schoolwork freak outs, messy house but fabulous homeschooling weeks, sickness when everybody is puking and you wish you were in the Caribbean, etc. We are like teabags, fellow homeschooling moms…the more hot water we get into in this crazy journey of homeschooling, the stronger we get. Do what is best for you and yours, and don’t compare anyone to anyone else.
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What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about homeschooling?

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.