Teaching Together, Homeschool Wins & Losses

I’ve said it before and I know I will say it probably 100 times again.

I never planned or expected to be a homeschool mom.

If you’ve read any of our story, you would know that I never wanted to homeschool my girls. I would even say that I was anti-homeschooling for several years. Oh how God can change our hearts.

We are getting ready to wrap up our 3rd year of homeschooling. We miraculously survived kindergarten, first and are just about finished with second grade. Time flies when you’re having fun. Homeschooling is all my girls have ever known and it has definitely been a learning experience for our family as a whole. Today I want to talk about some wins and losses that I have learned over 3 years of homeschooling.

Homeschool wins and losses. Lessons I've learned while being a homeschool mom.
I’d also like to say that even if you’re not a homeschool parent I think you will definitely find something to relate too.

Talking about #homeschool and the wins and losses we have had over 3 years. Check it out. Click To Tweet

Let’s start with the “negatives”. I always prefer the bad news first ;).
I will also preface the list by saying pretty much every negative on this list could be translated as a positive too.

1) There is no set standard of achievement or failure.

Marissa doesn’t get a report card. I can’t look at the work of her peers and think oh man, my kid is awesome (or the opposite). There is nobody to compare Marissa to other than herself and the testing that she does once a year giving me a general idea of where she fits into the big picture. Not having a set scale can make it SO hard to know if we are doing a good job.

2) My kids are with me ALL the time.

I’m teacher and I’m mommy. They get a great big dose of me all day long and when I am having a bad day or floundering a bit, EVERYONE feels it. 

3) They don’t get the benefits of feeding off of their peers consistently.

You can learn so much from group discussions and hearing others ideas and thoughts on something. That is really hard to replicate on a daily basis at this stage of our homeschooling.

4) Friendships.

Marissa has always been a bit shy and awkward around others. Sometimes I feel like homeschooling isn’t doing her any help in that area. We try to keep her active and social, but I’m not sure if it is enough to help her overcome her shyness.

5) Expectations can easily be made too high.

One of my very favorite parts of homeschooling also turns into a rope that I can easily hang myself with, the freedom to work at an advanced rate. I have learned over the years that homeschool standards are set higher than public school standards, usually a full year ahead or more. Add that to a kid who is on the young side of the grade she is in and it can be a hard combination. I can expect an unobtainable level of perfection from her or I set the bar even higher than it already is and get flustered when things don’t click. I have had to remind myself, often with the help of others, that I need to CHILL OUT! Marissa is doing exceedingly well. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on her to do even better. It helps NOBODY.

Now onto happier things.

1) We can design education the way we see fit.

The lesson plans in homeschooling are completely up to us. If we want to spend a whole year studying anatomy, we can. If Marissa needs extra help in English, okay. If she is really into a book series and we decide to read them all, why not?! Homeschool is a one of a kind custom fit education that you can precisely tailor to fit your childs needs and likes. I can teach my child exactly what I want and don’t have to worry about them being taught things and perspectives that we don’t believe in. There is plenty of time do address those, just not in the second grade. 

2)  Homeschooling brings flexibility.

From bad days to cabin fever the options that we have are endless. We are free to teach when and where we want. We can also design our school year to be what we want, not what we are given.

3) We stay in the loop. 

We know what is going on in her education and life because we are putting it there. I remember countless days of “What did you learn/ do at Pre-school today?” and her constant “I don’t know”. School now moves into all areas of our life and I never feel clueless. 

4) I can teach from a gospel perspective.

From science and history, Bible class, praying and dealing with discipline issues. We can teach our daughters in a way that points them to grace and the powerful truth of The Gospel. 

5) We get to be the “homeschool” family

Okay I threw this one in there for comedic reasons but you all know that family. It seems like everyone that isn’t a home school family knows one and will instantly bring them up when they find out that you homeschool. I can’t even tell you how many times this has happened to me.

And just for the record, I love being that family!
We will always proudly be your “weird” homeschool friends.

If you have any question about any thing homeschool related feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email. I would love to chat more with you about things. 

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  • Jessica

    You amaze me Beth. I am a teacher by career and SAHM by choice. I know how hard it is to teach kids and I feel like so many times when I sit down and teach Cam I end up frustrated because my expectations are too high, so being with your children all of the time as teacher and mom would have it’s obstacles. So you are a rockstar momma. 🙂

    • I think as parents we feel like we know what our child is capable of so when they perform under that level of course we’re upset! We just want them to do their best. It is SO hard for me to chill out and let her make mistakes. She is learning for goodness sake. I need to show her more grace. Thank you so much friend.

  • I love that you’re owning being ‘that family’. hahah. But seriously hats off to you because it’s so much time and patience but seems to be so worth it!! Love reading these posts!

    • Yup, I’ll wear the hat and all ;). Thank you.

  • Amy Smith

    This was so fascinating to read. My one sister in law home schools my nephew & is very similar in her approach. Owen is in 7th grade. They are leaning towards sending him to high school. Luke was home schooled til he was a sophomore, then went to high school. I know it’s quite a few years away, but have you thought about what you will do when the girls get to high school?

    • I have. Our rule has always been to take things one year at a time, but things still cross my mind. I would love to homeschool through high school, BUT I have also considered the option of having her take a class a the high school so she could (lets say run track) some day for a big school. They let you dual enroll them. There is also the possibility of taking college classes during your Senior year as a home schooler so that would be great too. Ultimately though it is still a ways off. I feel confident we will continue through elementary and I couldn’t imagine sending her to public right at those awkward middle school years so it would either be sophomore/Jr or homeschool all the way through.

  • Very interesting to hear it from a parent’s perspective- we get the occasional home schooled kid in high school for the first time and I love hearing their stories and watching them integrate into the school setting.

    • I bet that is interesting. I know some very well adjusted normal homeschool kids but I also know some pretty weird ones too, baha ha! Such a far cry from 20 years ago though :D!

  • I admire you for homeschooling – I don’t think I’d be able to do it!

  • I love how honest you are here! I am all for doing what is best for your child and even doing that sometimes is not an easy road. How can it be, right? We are trying to help mold and raise real people here, not robots and that is tough!

    • Yes! Your advice and opinion is always so good and never fails to make me laugh.

      P.S. robots are so creepy.

  • Meghan Flinn

    I can see my brother and his family liking homeschooling for the gospel aspect. They are constantly worried about the direction that some things are being taught in public school. But I think the no alone time would be hard on them too! I love your honesty of the pros and the cons.

    • Yeah that is such a slippery slope. I would honestly say that if sheltering your kids is your only reason for homeschooling, you really shouldn’t do it…. I think I would say that at least. (Not that that would be their only motivator, I’m just spouting off here :D). I think as parents it is so easy to get caught up in fear like that. I KNOW it has been something I have struggled with and some of those fears are totally justifiable too. Every story has two sides, it is so important to realize that. I feel like this can be such a hot subject, much like mommy wars, ESPECIALLY in the mid-west. I never want to portray our homeschool life as perfect or make others feel like I think their choice is a bad one. Things just never have and never will be one size fits all and that is okay. Happy Friday friend.

  • chall1018

    Great and honest post, friend. I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons in your homeschooling journey! It makes me so sad that God has been so far removed from schools. We do everything that we can to share the Gospel with Mason outside of school, but we definitely miss our Christian based pre-school. You are such a good mama and a wonderful teacher!

    • I feel like they do too, especially for us. I completely agree friend. I think you are doing and AMAZING job with Mason. I hope and pray for other mamas to be doing the same with their guys too. Good guys are hard to find and the training needs to start young. So, your are too friend. Keep it up!

  • Whitney Jordan

    Your girls are lucky to have such a superstar teacher mama!! Glad things are going so well for you and that you’ve learned a lot over the years. Are there any homeschool co-ops in your area? I like that you can customize everything to your girls and what they need. Can you participate in the testing the schools do – like DIBELS for Reading – to see where the girls come in on benchmarks?

    • You are too sweet. There are several co-op choices, probably because it is the mid-west and homeschooling is popular. We attend one from 9:30-12:00 every Friday. The girls have P.E. and two other classes. I LOVE the customizing too. As far as testing we do the Stanford 10 test every year. The public schools around here teach for the MAP test. They mostly use it to grade the teachers and not the kids too :(. The Stanford 10 is more of an intelligence test. It breaks everything out tells me her comparative grade level and if she is below, average, or above. Last year she scored the same as the average 3rd grader in their 8th month of school (3.8) on her math procedures… she was at the end of 1st grade! So, I know we are fine there ;). It really helps me know what we need to focus on the next year and what we can keep moving ahead on too. As far as reading I have used a few online things to test her comprehension and WPM and she reads twice as fast as she is supposed to. There are lots of ways to keep them on track at home!

  • I respect families that choose this path for educating their children. As a mom and a teacher, I couldn’t do it with my own. I’d ruin them for sure. I can teach others but never felt God’s leading in homeschooling my own. You make a good point when you said, “I’m teacher and mommy.” I had a hard enough time being sure I had the mommy part down.

    • Your are too sweet. Confession I worry ALL the time that I am ruining them :(. I just have to go how God is leading us and trust that He is good.

  • Ashley

    Ok you know my struggle. I want to homeschool Ellie because I don’t ever want to be without her…but I’m to insecure to think about being responsible for her learning!!

    But she and I had a funny conversation totally out of the blue this morning on the way to Moppets (she’s in my class surprise surprise). “Mama I want you to be my teacher” “ok babe! Do you want me to be your teacher at school or at home?” “I want you to be my teacher at home” “alright babe, does that mean you don’t want to ride a bus and go to school anymore?” (Because she is obsessed with that notion) “no mama, I don’t want to go to school. I want you to be my teacher at home.”

    • Aaahhhhhh! I think you guys would make an amazing homeschool family. You definitely have the capabilities and knowledge to do it friend. Plus it so slowly advances through the years, you hardly notice it getting more difficult. You’ll figure it out.

  • Your kids are with you all the time, yeah that one. Scary thought ha. But, there are so many things going on in the schooling system that frustrate me. Nothing is perfect, yes! I think your pros definitely outweigh the cons.

    • I think they do too. For us it was clearly the right path but I know it isn’t a one size fits all choice too. My biggest frustration with the schools is they seem to focused on common core and teaching for a test at the end of the year to grade the teacher. Just not cool.

  • I admire people who can homeschool. I am a terrible, terrible teacher and could never help any of the kids in my classes in school even when I understood something. I could never homeschool Mason for that reason, I’m terrible at explaining things!

    • Sometimes it is SO hard to explain things, luckily Marissa seems to catch on quicker than I do. Let’s just hope her sister is the same way :P. And if all else fails there is always YouTube, baha ha!

  • This is so encouraging! We’re caught in a weird place about putting Kinsey in school or staying home, I need ALL THE INFO!!!

    • Oh friend if you ever want to talk about it, let me know. I was totally in that place before and know how torn in two you can feel.

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    I have mad respect for homeschool moms. That’s a lot of hours of together time – which isn’t bad, but could potentially be the death of me. 😉
    I would have loved to have been able to do more reading and writing in school. Your girls are lucky to have the flexibility to do that if they so choose!

    • Someday I feel the death of me impending. YES! We can do what we choose, love or what we are bad at. So you win some, you loose some :P!

  • I give you so much credit for doing it! My husband would love for me to homeschool, but I don’t think it’s a great fit for all of my kids. A few of them are incredibly social and thrive going to school. I always say, though, that if anything ever comes up in school that harms their emotional well-being, I will homeschool in an INSTANT!

    • I actually know a few families that have some kids in public school and others in home school. I think that is SO cool that they are that open to doing what is best for their individual kids! Knowing your kids and what is best is so important a really social kid would probably flounder a bit homeschooling, or drive their mama crazy :P! And yes, looking out for those babies is #1 I think you are wise to keep that first and you are doing an amazing job!

  • I love your posts on homeschool life insight. Of course, as you know, we are still considering all of our options.

    • I think you are so wise to consider all options. If you ever need anything or have an questions don’t hesitate to ask 🙂