I’ve been homeschooling for quite a while. I started in 2006 with a four-year-old and a newborn. We didn’t do much, but we had time set aside every day to read some stories, play with playdough or paint or something similar, and do hands-on activities to master basic preschool skills. We had some serious fun and took some great field trips. We developed some good habits.
I homeschooled in 2007 when another newborn arrived. I was homeschooling in 2008 while I carried our fifth son, and I homeschooled in 2009 after we buried him. In 2010, we needed more social interaction, so we joined a co-op and kept on home educating. And so on. We graduated our older son along with his co-op friends during the pandemic and sent them off to university. Now, our middle son is about to graduate with his younger brother right behind him.
We tried different curricula over the years – swapping out math and phonics programs and science and writing curricula as needed because of time, space, money, or learning style. We’ve worked hard, expanding our workload as the boys grew up. We’ve also hardly worked, taking breaks for house projects, vacations, and family fun. We celebrated great successes and suffered through miserable failures. But the middle son has already been accepted into the university of his choice… so we must be doing something right.
But there is no magic program for any subject. There is no kid for whom everything is easy, no perfect parent, and no beautiful schoolroom that will do everything you need forever. Plans break down, kids grow and change, and life suddenly spawns new circumstances you didn’t ask for and can’t control.
Instead of perfect plans, there is the grace of God, the benefits of good habits, and the consistency of showing up every day to be with your kids as they learn. Be with them as they grow. Give them new challenges and help them set new goals, increasing their skill level slowly from that of a child to that of an adult in all areas.
You don’t have to work all the time. You can take breaks, adjust assignments, and change plans. The 180 days required by the Oklahoma Constitution only make up about half a year. But if you show up for that half the year, you’ll make great progress, and so will your kids.
The key to successful homeschooling is consistency.