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More What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me During My First Year of Homeschooling

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More What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me

During My First Year of Homeschooling

By Linda Dobson

LifeRing homeschoolingWow, there sure are a lot of families considering homeschooling this summer – great for you and your kids! I’ve spent a lot of years now offering encouragement and information to help make starting homeschooling easier for families just like yours. To that end, I’m offering up a second collection of responses made by veteran homeschoolers to “What I wish someone would have told me during my first year of homeschooling” that originally appeared in The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start, published by Three Rivers Press.

The veteran homeschooling parents’ comments serve a dual purpose. First, they help you realize that if you’re sweating the decision, you’re in good company! We all worried about somehow “ruining” our children when we began – but that didn’t happen. Second, the comments give you great advice! That advice gives you a real head-start as you take the homeschooling journey with your family. You can read the advice over and over as you gain homeschooling experience and need to be reminded that it’s all good!

What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me During

My First Year of Homeschooling

First, I wish someone had explained that eveery day would not be perfect but that they all have value. Actually, I heard this basic message in a few different places, and read nearly theh same words. But no one I knew seemed to experience any low moments, so even though I understood deep down that we would not have magical moments every day, I felt really bad when we had a less-than-stellar day.

Lately I have tried to find something to cherish in every day, even if it is simply a hug or kiss from my kids. I have found that as I worry less about having picture-perfect days, I am more able to enjoy good days and live with bad ones. I am also better able to see that my kids are learning evven when things don’t go smoothly.

Deb Baker


I wish someone had told me you can’t force a child to learn. My daughter was in kindergarten, and I was so afraid I wasn’t going to do it right that I bought a very expensive, accredited curriculum that was approved by the state board of education. Everything was laid out for the teacher, including what to say to the child for each subject. This curriculum also required tests and samples of work to be mailed to a counselor every six weeks, whereupon they would grade and return them with a report card.

I forced my poor daughter to do every single bit of work that was required with this curriculum, whether she was ready for it or not, and nearly destroyed her desire to learn. If she was supposed to write an entire page of uppercase and lowercase D’s, then that’s what she had to do – even if it took her two hours. I cannot tell you how miserable my daughter became – all for the sake of teaching her “the right way.”

By the time I began homeschooling  my son we had begun using unit studies. What a difference! Thankfully, my daughter has recovered from the tyrant that I was and is learning quiet well, in spite of having been used as a guinea pig!

~ Terri Bandalos


I wish someone had told me that it is okay to take time off during those more difficult moments. I felt like I needed to stick to a routine, feeling guilty every time I was ready to crumble and decided to skip school for a period of time. I took off the entire month of December but felt guilty. Now I know that it’s okay to take a day, week, or more as needed; to recuperate, to get my head on straight, to give the kids a break – whatever is necessary to keep things rolling smoothly. I definitely needed to loosen up more and not worry so much about routines, schedules, and commitments but instead spend more time focusing on the truly important things like quality time with my children, Bible studies, and plain old fun.

~ Stephanie Romero


I wish someone had told me how much homeschooling information is available online. There are articles on starting out, different approaches, your state’s requirements, types of curriculum, and Web sites devoted to swapping used curriculum. I went crazy buying anything and everything that fell within my child’s age range, so I wish someone had warned me not to over-buy. Instead, take some time to research what’s out there, and try to examine things in person instead of ordering sight unseen. Once you’ve decided on a certain curriculum or program, try to buy things used. This can save tons of money. Find used stuff online, at garage sales, and at your support group’s book sales.

~ Amy Kagey


I wish I’d been told to try out the different styles [of homeschooling]. I’m completely surprised that we ended up as relaxed as we are. I couldn’t imagine how unschooling could work, but we tried it, and the kids really do direct their own learning. So don’t put yourself in a box.

Sometimes the kids are so busy learning that I can’t stop them to insist they do “school,” and sometimes they need a lot of direction. We go with the flow on the first kind of day and use a few workbooks on the second. Both are valuable and fun. I would never have sent my children to school if I had known what a great education I’d get myself, and how much I would enjoy getting to know my kids!

~ Deborah Ferguson

See also “Top 10 Gems: What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me During My First Year of Homeschooling



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4 Responses to “More What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me During My First Year of Homeschooling”

  1. Cristina says:

    I wish someone had told me I didn't have to follow the school's timetable. I thought I was a failure because I couldn't keep going from 9 to 3, an hour each subject with my daughter,,,,who was a kindergartener! I finally reached out to the friend who put the idea of homeschooling into me. She patiently explained why I didn't need to follow the school's guidelines, which were designed for wrangling a class of 30, not 1.

    Peace and Laughter!

    • grandma_linda says:

      Thank goodness you had that friend, Cristina! Otherwise, I'd imagine you would have burned out very quickly and we wouldn't have your wonderful blog and support of homeschooling today! Please tell your friend I said THANK YOU!

  2. Mother Mary says:

    That homeschooling isn't about duplicating the school with regard to following a curriculum. That it's about LEARNING and with learning, comes education. All you get with copying 'school' is the same non-results. And how far behind my oldest really was – kid never failed anything, but reading and writing were challenging. The first two years were 'catch-up'. And yeah, some of starting homeschooling is catch-up. But it passes. Fortunately!

    • grandma_linda says:

      Mother Mary,
      I agree with everything you write. Thanks so much for sharing – it's always great to know you're reading!

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