Thousands of pinners and bloggers are eager to share their homeschool photos and experiences all over the web. I hope you are encouraged by these resources, as they provide a continual stream of ideas and inspiration for homeschoolers everywhere.
Lest anyone become discouraged by looking at these photos or feel bad for not doing everything they see, I thought it might be helpful to hear from families who are less-than-perfect, too!
Today, I am going to post some of the things we don’t do here in our homeschool. My hope is that you’ll be equally encouraged hearing not every homeschool is perfect, nor all parents infallible, either.
In the interest of keeping it real, I present my list called:
What we Don’t do in our Homeschool
…have/spend tons and tons of money. My total spending varies each year, and I admit to splurging on big items once in a while, but overall I try to do things as inexpensively as possible.
…have a picture-perfect school room. When we first started homeschooling, I designed and decorated a functional and happy classroom, equipped with everything from handmade felts to colorful manipulatives to educational wall art. As the children grew, however, I opted to dismantle the classroom and use the space for something else. (Our kids now study anywhere they like!)
…grade and record every single assignment my children complete. I used to; in fact, I did this for many years. In later years, however, this became too much of a chore. Besides, I knew my kids so well, this was no longer required. Now, I grade what I deem important to grade (which varies by child), and I glance over everything else, making mental notes to myself of what is mastered, and what needs more work. On many papers, I review with the child what needs to be corrected, instead of assigning a grade at all. Papers are then filed, in date order, under that child’s name and/or subject area, in case I need to look at them again.
…plan meals every day, all year long. I fluctuate between meal planning, and not. This is due to our schedules and the variety of foods available to us at any given time. Presently, we receive produce deliveries every two weeks, and order meats and poultry as affordable deals become available within commuting distance to our home. Our meals are based primarily on what surprises arrive in our food bags, plus whatever else I have on hand to combine with those items. Other times of the year, I rely on store sales and what’s in season/looks good when I arrive at the market, making it harder to stick to a rigid meal plan, as well. Much as I love meal planning and try to be consistent with it, the reality is I cannot. (So, I don’t.)
…have a spotless home. Though I would like to (this is my goal someday — to have all rooms clean at the same time) for now, it’s not. I wish it were — I’m a clean freak and this bothers me a bit. But, spotless just isn’t possible here. We live in our home. We also school and work there, too. Spotless is out of the question for any family that spends as many hours at home as we do.
…always stay cool and collected. Even though I have been doing this a long time, I still feel worried when my children are upset during school, angry over very difficult problems (or incorrect solutions, ugh!) and I disappointment when something I have planned goes terribly wrong. It has been a long time since I questioned my ability to homeschool or worried very much about any of this, but like many of you, I had moments like those early on, too. (It happens to everyone.)
…assign every chapter, every assignment, every question, every day. I pick and choose what my children do. If it’s relevant, something they haven’t done before, and sounds worthwhile to me, I’ll assign it. On the contrary, if a book/lesson/experience is just duplicating something we’ve done a thousand times before, or if I just don’t like it for any reason, I tell them to skip it. If they need a little practice, I may assign only odd or even. Or if I think there is some merit to any part of the assignment, I’ll modify it the way I prefer them to do it. (I don’t stress whether questions are missed and sections of books are left undone. So long as mastery is there, I’ve done my job.)
My children don’t…
…always remember where their books and supplies are. Despite elaborate organizing systems and labeled bins and drawers, sometimes they forget. This isn’t a desperate or ongoing problem, or I’d do something about it. I lose things, too, so it doesn’t bother me one bit if the kids do it, too.
…always dress the way I want them to. They did when they were younger. I insisted upon it, and certain style dress was required for certain outings and occasions. As my children grew, however,I allowed them more freedom to choose what to wear and how to accessorize. Due to proper training in modesty and appropriate dress early on, my children make good choices now (usually).
…get every problem right. I won’t lie. I have really smart kids. But do they do everything perfectly? Gosh, no! They get problems wrong and fail tests, too. Everybody does. I accept they’re not good at everything, which is normal. They are, simply put, who they are. What a boring world it would be if every child were exactly alike! (I take their failures seriously, and make changes if/where I need to change.)
…remember to be respectful or supportive of their siblings all the time. It takes understanding and compassion — plus a whole lot of practice – for siblings to live together, study together and to cooperate on tasks 24/7. I’ve said it a million times — I have great kids. But, perfect they’re not. They forget to be nice once in a while, too. It’s something I hear from every family I meet. Not fun, but normal. (We all get grouchy sometimes, don’t we?)
I hope this glimpse into our home helps put your mind at ease that not every homeschool family is as perfect as you may imagine. Good grades and good manners aside, we’re all just like you — we mess up every now and then! And, overall, none of it matters, either!
Here’s to your success, no matter how less-than-perfect (ahem…normal) it may be!