Homeschooling: Doing It Well
In Is Your Homeschool Hampered by Your “Addiction”? – Part 1, I covered the characteristics of “homeschool addiction”: a serious ailment which consumes many new homeschoolers early in their journey. Please understand that I do not use the term lightly or to minimize in any way the pain of physical addictions. In my experience, however, new homeschoolers share many of the same characteristics, and so I use the word to clearly describe the situation here as well. In this piece, I offer some hope and healing to those who are so smitten.
If you find yourself where I was “way back when”, what can you do?
- First, recognize that you’re addicted! Any recovery program starts with that step. And don’t be ashamed, either. Especially when you’re first starting to homeschool, there IS a learning curve and you DO need to do your own homework!
- Set limits on your internet surfing. Set a timer for the kids, and set one for yourself as well. Or limit yourself to a few hours in the evening after they go to bed, or an hour in the morning before they get up for school. Put it on a schedule so it doesn’t take over your life.
- If you’ve already got bunches of stuff, commit to using something now. Give it 6 weeks – whether or not you like it at first. Sometimes we just have to give a new program time. And you don’t want to model flippancy for your kids. If you’re tempted to buy something new, get rid of something before the new resource comes in. Sell it, give it away, who cares? Just get it out of the house!
- Make yourself write a review. I know that sounds weird – who’s gonna read it, right? But this works to your advantage in a few ways. First, it makes you sit down and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the program for yourself. When someone asks you for your opinion, as they will, you’ll be able to answer intelligently! It also starts to build your own expertise and ability to mentor or coach other newer homeschoolers who may need advice. It gives you practice in writing, a communication skill that is sorely lacking today, and one which you will need to teach your children at some point. And lastly, it gives you some resources to start a home business! Huh? Let me tell you, you never know where you’re going to end up and what you’ll be doing down the road. With all the products I’ve tried over time, if I had thought about this idea years ago, I’d be all the more richer in resources for my homeschool website!
So, that’s my antidote to “homeschool addiction”! Turn it around and make it work for you. There’s no reason you have to stay addicted, but with a healthy amount of effort and continued education, you can channel that energy to not only help you and your family, but you can share your wisdom and experiences to help others as well.
Pat Fenner offers encouragement to homeschoolers at Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com. For monthly doses of encouragement, inspiration and ideas, sign up for her free newsletter “Sparks for the Flame”.