Whether it was a last-ditch decision or you planned for years to homeschool before your first child was born, everybody who begins to homeschool has to make the decision to grow to love being a homeschooler or not.
It can just be an educational choice or you can decide to passionately live the homeschool lifestyle.
Enjoying the benefits of the homeschool approach without adopting the lifestyle is possible, but not without being short-changed.
How can you adopt the homeschool lifestyle or be sure that you are embracing it to the fullest extent that your circumstances allow?
Look at these three ways how to measure your growth.
ONE | You have stopped trying to find the perfect curriculum.
It was about five years into my homeschooling journey when I learned that the challenge of choosing curriculum wasn’t going away. I knew that teaching my sons through everyday life was paramount.
Nurturing a Love for Lasting Learning
Living the homeschool lifestyle means that curriculum is now just a tool and you learn that it doesn’t really teach anything.
Sure, I need to have objectives and choose curriculum that gives me the freedom to teach my worldview, but I am doing the teaching.
What you are willing to do to teach your children is way more valuable than what you are willing to buy to teach them.
The challenge in homeschooling is not the endless pursuit of curriculum, but in helping your child to maintain his love of learning that he had when he was young.
Adopting the homeschool lifestyle means that you have moved beyond curriculum, progress reports, tests and needing accolades from friends and family that you are doing a super job.
Now, you simply don’t care what other people think. Did I mention it’s really liberating?
Learning that your life, no matter how boring you may think it is, it’s full of rich meaning for your children.
TWO | You maintain a homeschool routine, but not necessarily a rigid schedule.
Another tell-tale sign that you have embraced natural learning is that no longer do you fight to maintain your homeschool routine, but now homeschooling is not something extra you do in the day. It is the way you spend your day and everything else now revolves around it.
It’s hard for anything you begin to become a lifestyle overnight.
I think about being newly married or when I lost a lot of sleep when I brought my first son home from the hospital. Significant changes in my life called for significant effort to make them part of my life. It’s not long after the new changes in your life that you realize it’s hard to remember a time without your kids or your spouse.
Homeschooling becomes the same way. You are not constantly worried about completing curriculum or making grades and testing. Like life, you realize homeschooling has certain tests that need to be met, bt you meet them like you do anything else in your household.
THREE | You learned that you can’t homeschool on an ‘island.’
Associating with and joining with homeschoolers is like being immersed in learning another language. Until you do it, you can’t see where you’re coming up short.
For example, I didn’t fully appreciate how much faster we could learn another language until we had moved overseas. Having studied Spanish for many years, I had a good command of the vocabulary, but it was fragmented.
After we moved to South America and received total language immersion, it made me fully appreciate the language, lifestyle and culture.
When you refrain from meeting up with other homeschoolers or isolate you and your kids, it’s not only unhealthy, but it’s unnatural.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you that you have to be a social butterfly and join every possible homeschool groups. Some groups are just too extreme for my taste and I tend to be very picky.
How Are You Measuring Up in Adopting the Homeschool Lifestyle?
What I am saying is that when you and your family stand in stark contrast to those in your neighborhood or your friends, you need a support system with others who are like-minded.
Instead of being overly critical of other homeschoolers’ choices when you meet with them, look at what you can learn from them. I received tips on how to homeschool multiple children, make time for myself and move ahead on curriculum when we were hitting a brick wall. Without the tips, I would have struggled longer.
Growing is part of everyday life and it’s amazing. If something or someone is not growing, it’s always a sign that something is wrong.
Have you adopted the homeschool lifestyle?
Grab some more ways to be an empowered homeschooler below:
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