Another school year has come to a close. I had planned on finishing next week, but the kids have finished most of their work. I called it. The end of the year. We are done. With that news, I have officially graduated one kid.
Graduated. I homeschooled one kid all the way through high school. It is a miracle! They said it could be done, and I did it. Not without a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I did it.
I feel bad for the oldest child. They are always such a guinea pig. As an oldest child myself, I know this to be true. Parents try all this stuff on the oldest. We want to be the perfect parent. Do everything right. Sometimes we don’t get everything right. (Isn’t that just the biggest bummer?)
If I had to do it over (and I do), there are a few things that I would do differently.
#1- I wish I had not spent so much time worrying about college, stressing about things, and arguing with him.
We have all seen the stories. The homeschoolers that win the National Spelling Bee. The ones that win the full-ride merit scholarships to the universities. The kids and families that have it all together. I wanted to be that family. I put a lot of pressure on my oldest to be that kid. Instead I wish I would have worried less and enjoyed the journey more because the truth is that if I had done those things we would probably still be where we are.
#2- I wish I had remembered that burn-out is real.
I am not going to lie. I don’t enjoy homeschooling most days. (High school is HARD) I even went so far to say that “if you love homeschooling, you aren’t doing it right.” The truth was that I needed a break. Sometimes you just have to take a break. Make it a week. Read young adult fiction. Eat chocolate. Let them do what they want. If they want to study, let them. If they want to watch movies all day, let them. It isn’t going to ruin them forever, and everyone will feel better. I didn’t do this enough. I pushed through burn-out, theirs and mine, because I had to check off the box. In the long run, I think if I had taken that break once in awhile we would have been better off.
#3- I wish that I would have sat down and helped him more.
Self-education is great! I am a firm believer that high school is a great time to let the kids learn how to teach themselves. It made my life easier, and I figured it would prepare him for college. While this may be good in theory, there comes a time that I have to put the effort in an learn the material. This was very important in Advanced Math. I wish that I would have purchased material to help me learn the material better. I wish that I would have helped my son more often rather than relying on him to teach himself so much material. He ended up being pretty amazing. He taught himself so much Latin. He taught himself Trig and Pre-Calculus. I know he was capable, but I don’t think it was always fair.
There are also a few things that I know that I did right.
#1- I picked a math curriculum and stuck with it.
When we pulled our kids out 10 years ago, we chose Saxon Math. I have never changed. I haven’t even thought about changing. I think Saxon is a fabulous choice, but I think there are other good choices too. Pick a good choice and never waver. Don’t switch around.
#2- I help my kids focus on their relationships with their siblings.
Since we are a military family, there have been time when my kids have only had each other. I have always told them that friends may come and go but their brother and sister (or brothers) are forever. No, I don’t make them say that their siblings are their best friends. Friends are very important too, but I am glad to say that my kids like each other. Oh, they irritate each other at times like all good siblings do, but it melts my heart when Freckle Face asks to play Minecraft on Matthew’s computer, and he says sure.
#3- We have daily devotions.
I am almost positive that my kids listen intently only 5% of the time. The other 95% of the time they are probably thinking about Pokemon, what they are going to eat for breakfast, or I don’t even want to know. However, I listen 100% of the time, and it makes a difference in my attitude. Sometimes it starts a good discussion. We have had some good theological discussions from the 5% of the time that they are listening. I am so glad that we started doing this 4 years ago. I wish that I had started sooner.
Now I am off to read some twaddle, but only after I help Freckle Face sign up for the Pokemon competition. Oh yeah, that is how we roll. Happy summer!!