Amanda with Clear Sunshine has been married for almost 15 years. Together, they have three munchkins, who keep them busy, laughing, and slightly crazy! Amanda started Clear Sunshine a little over a year ago, with the intent of sharing all she was learning about living a cleaner, pure lifestyle (chemical free beauty and cleaning products, food with real ingredients and less processed, etc). Most people are completely unaware of
how many chemicals they are putting in and on their body every day. Since then Clear Sunshine has morphed a little to include her homeschooling adventures, thoughts/musings, guest posts, recipes, product reviews/giveaways and more. Come on over and check it out at www.clearsunshine.com. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Homeschool – The Reality…
Homeschool…that word has the power to terrify or excite…or maybe even both. The truth is that I was never one of “those moms” that dreamed of homeschooling. In fact, I used to look forward to the day when all my kids were in school so that I could enjoy my days getting the house cleaned, meal planning, having lunch with friends, etc. Then in 2013, my husband and I decided to take our family to Ecuador for three months. With this decision came the question of what we would do about our children’s education. Since none of my kiddos were fluent in Spanish, homeschooling seemed to be the obvious choice. And thus the adventure began…
This is our third year of homeschool and it didn’t turn out anything like I anticipated. My oldest is in 8th grade, middle is in 4th and the youngest is in 2nd. The number one thing I didn’t anticipate was that I would actually enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong… I love my kids and spending time with them. However, they are all high-energy, strong-willed, motor mouths! Some days, I feel like I am herding cats and spend a good majority of some days trying to reign them back in and keep them on track.
So here are some realities that I want to share with y’all, because I find that in life it is always a comfort to know that we are not in this alone. Knowing someone else has dealt with the same issues makes us feel more ‘normal’(whatever that means)!
- There will be moments that you don’t have a clue what the right answer is. Show your humanity, admit you don’t know. It impresses your older children haha! There have been a few times with my oldest that I have had to do this and run to Kahn Academy, Google or YouTube to figure it out.
- You will need help. Ask for it. I have been blessed to know this really awesome homeschool mom (Shout out to Serena!) and she has endured my barrage of questions and concerns over the last few years. If it weren’t for her being at our first homeschool convention, I would’ve ended up in tears. Seriously, I was standing there staring at all the booths almost in a panic, wondering where she was. When I saw her walking up, I about cried. I was so overwhelmed!
- You will go a little (or very) crazy. Take time to regroup and refresh. It’s amazing what a trip to Target (alone) will do….wandering the aisles by yourself, imagining how that cute tablecloth would look in your kitchen and how long it will take your kids to ruin it. Either way, find a time for you to get away from the crazy. Think bubble bath (with the door locked) and a good book…
- On those days when your kids just can’t get it together and you aren’t mentally capable of putting up with it….DON’T! We don’t make a habit of this, but there have been a few times where I have said “This isn’t going to work today. We’ll try again tomorrow.” If letting the whole day go isn’t an option, I have given myself a ‘timeout’. I have given the crew instructions and went outside and sat on the patio with my tea and had a little talk with the Lord.
- Sometimes you will wonder if you’re actually accomplishing anything or if your kids are even listening to what you are saying (it’s on those kind of days mentioned above, usually). Then they will out of nowhere comment or show understanding on something you are teaching and “BAM!”, you will get that needed moment of gratification.
- Your house will probably stay a wreck. Your family is here 24/7. Get over it and realize there are better things at work here. If your kids are old enough, get them in on the action. We have a cleaning schedule that puts the kids to work and ensures my house is at least sanitary and mostly clean. I laminated this schedule (each kid has their own) and they can use a dry erase marker to check off when each item is complete for the day.
- Get the crew involved in activities outside of the house. I have yet to practice this myself, mainly due to budget and the fact that we have been nomads the last few years. We are currently looking into activities for each kid that addresses their individual interests. I know in the Dallas area there are a TON of groups that are available for group teaching, activities, etc.
- Remember Google is your best friend! There are endless resources for everything you could possibly need to homeschool (lapbooks, math worksheets, coloring pages, handwriting printouts, etc.).
- If you have questions about a curriculum, it is very likely that someone has blogged about their experience. There are also resources like www.cathyduffyreviews.com. This website reviews all the different curriculums, so you can chose what will work best for your family.
- Do what works for your family. Don’t compare your crew to another family! That is part of the joy of homeschool. You get to individualize curriculum to fit the needs of your child(ren). What works for the Smith’s won’t necessarily work for the Jones’.
- Remember the victories. I taught my daughter to read. No one can take that or claim that but me. She knows how to add and subtract because I taught her. Make sure your pride doesn’t pop those buttons though!
- Last but not least, YOU CAN DO THIS! I find this is one of my biggest anxieties: “Am I enough? Do I know enough?” The reality is that God blessed you with the desire and the ability. He doesn’t make mistakes. If you feel this is the right choice for your family, then go for it. God’s got your back!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here. I would love to help in any way I can and if I don’t know the answer, there is always Google!