I had a panicky moment recently when I suddenly realized that I’m about to start homeschooling. Like, for real. Not for just for play.
Except it is just for play, sort of. My oldest, Isabelle, is only 4 1/2. But for some reason, it feels so much more real now. Other kids her age are in pre-K now, if they weren’t before. And she’s still home.
I struggle with deciding what’s enough to educate her well and what’s too much. I don’t want to push her too hard when she’s only 4. So much of it should be learning through play right now.
But I also feel like a more structured curriculum will provide greater accountability for me and give me a solid game plan for the future. I’ve picked out our curriculum for the older grade levels, but it’s pre-K & Kindergarten that leave me bewildered.
And nervous. Honestly, I am super nervous at this point.
So what’s a mama to do?
Take a deep breath. Pray.
Open up this wonderful book and re-read the preschool and kindergarten chapter again.
It’s not like I’ve read it three times already. Ok, maybe 4.
And the authors encourage me to take it slow and focus on the things that really matter.
So I get out a pen and paper and I write out my choices again for next year. Some have question marks next to them now. It’s those question marks that I need to resolve, and quickly.
I send out texts and emails to no fewer than six experienced homeschooling moms. I ask curriculum questions, and a few friends had time to talk on the phone. It was a huge help just to know they had struggled with the same questions too.
I’ve already met with one or two homeschooling moms who have similar goals to me and who love the Classical method. I needed insight on how to make this homeschooling thing work with a crew of children. I don’t think the Lord is done growing our family, so I need to know how to do this well while raising babies and birthing more of them.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
I also realized that a huge part of my recent curriculum crisis comes from my struggles with pride & perfectionism. The root of my concerns and anxiety yesterday stemmed from the fact that I don’t want to do it wrong. I don’t want to mess up. And I also don’t want to have to learn by trial and error. I want to get it right the first time.
But it doesn’t work that way. In my education classes in graduate school, my professors always said that good teachers “monitor and adjust.” Every teacher can tell you that. Why would I think homeschooling would be any different?
I hear stories of moms having to switch curriculum mid-year, because it’s just not working. I don’t want to have to do that. But I should, if that’s what’s needed. Any good teacher and any good mom should have enough humility at times to say this just ain’t workin’. That’s how it was when I was in charge of 130 ninth graders every year. At the end of every unit, I always asked myself what I would keep and what I would change for next year. It’s no different when it’s my own babies I’m teaching.
I won’t pick the perfect curriculum every time. What I purchase for one child may not work for the next child. Those are truths that I need to just get used to. If they don’t work, then I should monitor and adjust.
Thank you, moms, for your wisdom and insight. Thank you, Lord, for your peace and guidance in this.
Whew. I feel better now.
If you’re interested in finding out what we’re doing next year, then stay tuned. I’ll share our choices at some point in the next couple of weeks.
What do you do when you start second guessing the decisions you’ve already made? Homeschooling moms, do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with all of the good curriculum options? Have you had to switch gears with what you’ve been doing with your kids?