Welcome to FHD’s 3rd annual event, Homeschooling for Free and Frugal Series! Click here to begin reading all of the new Homeschooling for Free and Frugal articles. This article is by contributor, Kasey Norton.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only homeschooling mother who starts the year, every year, with the best of intentions and the greatest of hope only to find myself drowning by mid-year. It’s possible I’m the only one, but I kind of doubt it.
You see, I never thought I’d be a teacher. I honestly never wanted to be a teacher. I disliked school and brought home report cards that earned me a tongue-lashing and a hefty dose of shame. I’m simply not teacher material.
But then I had kids. The moment they placed that first baby in my arms, I instantaneously became both a teacher and student. It was incredible and breathtaking but mostly it was terrifying.
Fast-forward through the birth of a few more children and into the year my oldest turned 5. Decision time had arrived and I did what any perfectly sane person, in way over their mothering-head, would do. I opted to homeschool without a single clue how to begin. And so it began.
Eleven years later I still feel clueless far more often than I care to admit. I still start each year with great intentions and a fool-proof plan. Every year is going to be better than the last, only it never is. I hang my head in defeat, absolutely certain I’m a homeschool flunkie and that my kids will never make it through the 12th grade. I mean, how could they when I have to google how to do my 6th grader’s math problems?
You think I’m kidding and I only wish I were.
So, here we are with spring upon us once again and all the little songbirds are beckoning school kids everywhere to make haste and pack away the books for another year. Only my kids aren’t done. And I’m starting to despair that the year will ever end. But then it hits me…
They’ll never be done. Life is learning. Period.
It isn’t workbooks or projects or field trips or experiments, although those things certainly can add to the experience. And it isn’t staying exactly on schedule. Sometimes it’s realizing you are behind and scurrying to figure out what parts can be skipped without leaving gaps.
Good teachers learn to improvise when they find themselves in a pinch. The only possible way I could ever label myself as a “good” teacher is because I am nearly always in a pinch and have become a master at improvising.
Just this week I sat down and X’d out pages we could afford to skip over. Gasp! I put big, red X marks on entire pages that seemed like busy work. By the time I was done, I felt like we’d collectively lost about 100 pounds of unnecessary stress and I wished I had done it sooner. Then just for fun, and because I like my kids to like me, I went a step further.
- I gave them access to some (extra) really great reading material.
- We started plans for a garden.
- We made some rough sketches for a chicken coop.
- We bought some paint so they could each brighten up the walls of their room.
- We threw on some boots to trek through the spring mud in search of forest treasure.
And they never knew what hit them.
They love it when they think they’re getting away with something. I love it when I can trick them into loving learning at the very same point in the school year in which they are wishing the learning would just stop already.
You know, it’s entirely possible that we’ll finish out the school year ahead, after all.
(Author note: I am not typically a workbook-style homeschooler but in this season, in this moment, it is what we needed. I always, however, encourage mothers to gift their children with the ability to learn in a hands-on fashion.)
Latest posts by Kasey Norton (see all)
- Homeschooling When it Isn’t Your Gift - April 5, 2018
- Finishing Out the Homeschool Year When You are Way Behind - April 8, 2014
- When Homeschooling Means Your Kids Are Left Out - January 10, 2014
- Beholding the Beautiful - December 2, 2013
- Homeschooling: The Forgotten Subjects - September 17, 2013