I’ve homeschooled for more than 20 years. I feel better about sharing homeschooling advice on The Homeschool Sanity Show with other homeschoolers today than when I was less experienced. When you’re looking for advice starting out as a homeschooling mom or heading into a new phase of homeschooling, you would be wise to seek out a veteran homeschool mom. Here are six reasons homeschoolers need to look to veteran moms for counsel.
#1 A newer homeschooler may burn out on her present path.
It’s tempting to try to copy what an ambitious new homeschooler is doing with multiple curricula, lots of unit studies, or numerous extracurricular activities, especially because her homeschool looks so appealing on Instagram. However, you have no idea if the homeschooler you so admire can keep up the pace or if it’s even wise to do so. Of course, it’s also possible that while she may be able to “do it all,” you won’t be able to. You’ll think you’re just not cut out for homeschooling when it’s this do-it-all style that doesn’t fit. It took me years to discover that I was trying to do too much and that’s why I was so tired.
#2 A newer homeschooler hasn’t faced many personal challenges in her homeschooling.
The less time you’ve homeschooled, the less experience you have homeschooling while pregnant, while battling a serious illness in yourself or a family member, or while dealing with relationship conflict. Most people can homeschool when life goes according to plan. But life will NOT always go according to plan. You need the counsel of a godly homeschool mom who’s walked through the valley. I’ve homeschooled in all three situations and learned that homeschooling is an ideal lifestyle for these times. But I needed reminders from veteran homeschool moms to accept that it was okay to take a break from school at these times.
#3 A newer homeschooler may not have an established identity.
She may still long to impress family through her children’s accomplishments. She may still want to be accepted by others who have impossibly high standards. She may still battle self-esteem issues that stem from childhood. A veteran homeschool mom has had years to discover that her real identity is in Christ. She knows it has nothing to do with her kids’ trophies or scholarships. She will remind you that you are wonderful just as you are.
#4 A newer homeschooler, especially one with young children, has not had to manage rebellion.
Yes, there are some mothers whose children do not rebel, but you may not be one of the lucky few. A child who suddenly resists your authority, your values, and your faith is one of the most discouraging experiences to a homeschool mom. A newer homeschooler giving advice may immediately assume you’ve done something wrong to bring about the rebellion. A veteran homeschool mom will tell you that it’s normal, that they’ll pray for you, and above all that it will be okay. I thank God for veteran homeschool moms who told me that God loved my child even in rebellion and who didn’t blame me for what I was going through.
#5 A newer homeschooler may have little experience with diverse educational options.
Newer homeschool moms may not have experience with in-home co-ops, learning centers, or sending a child to school. Veteran moms likely have experience with all of these or knows someone who does who can advise you. I’m thankful for veteran homeschool moms who could guide me through having a child go to school. I’m thankful, too, for veteran homeschool moms who know the pros and cons of multiple teaching environments and don’t judge me for making the decision I believe is best for my children.
#6 A newer homeschooler may have little to no experience with sending a child to college or into the work force.
Many homeschool moms choose to overload their schedules with classes and activities so their child can get into college or earn a scholarship. I have appreciated the counsel of veteran homeschool moms who have shown me that it doesn’t require Herculean effort to have a homeschooled child accepted to college or to get them established in a career. I can tell you that college and scholarships have been easy for us!
It’s true that there are veteran homeschoolers who don’t offer the advantages that I’ve listed above. Fortunately, I can commend many veteran homeschool moms to you. Felice Gerwitz, host of Vintage Homeschool Moms, and her guests share the valuable wisdom that comes from experience. I urge you to subscribe! And be sure to join her 400th episode celebration here.