18 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Years of Homeschooling

18 Things I've Learned in 18 Years of Homeschooling

I’ve been homeschooling for 18 years.  Where did the time go?

It really is a wonder that my children are doing as well as they are when I consider my abilities or rather, disabilities.  In all seriousness though, God has taught me so much about what really matters in my homeschool.  Here are eighteen things I have learned in 18 years of homeschooling.

1.  Education is more than academics. As a person who was highly prone to making an idol out of education, this is no small statement. Honestly, you can be the most well-educated, even the most intelligent person and yet lack the character to impact the world for good.

2.  Parents are more than qualified to teach their children. In fact, research has shown that motivation is more important than education. Think about it. Who is more motivated to ensure that your child receives the best education possible? A teacher of 30 + kids or a parent?

3.  God fills in the gaps. I have seen this over and over again. Sweet mamas, trust Him. He is working all of these chapters in your life for good. Breathe and trust!

4.  Much can be learned from homeschool parents that have gone before you. Listen, learn and consider other ways of doing things.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.

5.  Don’t copycat. On the other hand, blindly following isn’t good for anyone. Learn from others and adapt curricula and teaching styles to fit your unique family but don’t copy another family like some algebraic formula. There is no one formula for the perfect homeschool.

6.  Just when you think you’ve got this thing…things change. Well, we wouldn’t want to grow complacent or overly self-assured, would we? If something isn’t working, change it. That is what eBay is for, no? Read, learn, pray, grow. If something is clearly not working in your homeschool, it is okay to change things up – even before the end of the semester/year.

7.  Learning issues aren’t disabilities, they are differences. God makes no mistakes. People who learn differently were made that way by God.  “So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth?  Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?  Have not I, the Lord?”  Exodus 4:11  Teach to your child’s learning style and keep working on the weaknesses.

8.  Character-training is a subject. Make time for it. You’ll be glad you did.

9.  Play is a subject for young kids. Kindergarten should take about half an hour. Read, love and play, play, play!

10. Interest-led learning is still learning. Text books are not the only way. Be brave – think outside the box!

11. Prepare for the teen years. Deal with your teens in an understanding way. What were you like when you were that age? A bit of compassion goes a long way.  Oh, and the changes of adolescence can begin before the teen years.  Be prepared!

12. There is extraordinary power in prayer. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6

13. There is extraordinary power in the Word. Too busy for Bible study? Remember your goals – the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  (1Timothy 1:5) And this, “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Romans 10:17

14. Observe and point out the impact of world views early and often. Teach your kids discernment.  If you don’t know what a world view is, find out!

15. Teach apologetics earnestly. The Christian faith is under attack. May I dare to say that we are no longer in a post-modern culture but an anti-Christian one? Teach your kids the reason for their faith. “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord.”  Isaiah 1:18

16. Don’t compare. There is always someone that appears to have it all together. Yet, all of us have some trial or tribulation. God is weaving together your unique story for a great purpose.

17. It is unlikely that you will ever ‘get it all done’.  What ever that even is!  You may, however, get everything that you can done and that is okay!

18.  Not to discourage you, but your house will never be clean! <grin>

What wisdom have you gained from your homeschooling years?

For more homeschool encouragement, visit Marianne at her blog Abundant Life.

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Marianne Sunderland
Marianne Sunderland has been married to her husband, Laurence, since 1991. She is a homeschooling mother of eight lively children ages 3 to 22. Marianne is passionate about encouraging families to discover and nurture their children’s God-given gifts and talents, in and outside of the classroom. She also encourages women to joyfully love and serve their families. Her varied experiences homeschooling through difficult times and with kids who learn differently has taught her much about learning how to trust fully in God for her family and homeschool. Marianne’s blog, Abundant Life, provides weekly articles on faith, family and homeschooling that will bless and encourage you.
Marianne Sunderland
Marianne Sunderland
Marianne Sunderland

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13 Responses to 18 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Years of Homeschooling

  1. Ann-Marie says:

    Thanks for this, Marianne! I needed to hear these words of wisdom. Although I have been doing this for seven years now, there are times {like now} where things are a little more topsy turvy than usual and I second guess things at times and look at others and then goes the whole spiral effect, lol!
    I love each point that you mentioned and they are ALL so true!
    Many blessings to you!

  2. Always love Mariannes thoughtful insights!!! Thank God for those women, who can lead us towards Christ and wisdom from their experiences 😀

  3. Jackie says:

    This is my first year homeschooling my children after pulling my third grader from public school. I’m always looking to hear what experienced homeschool moms can give me insight on. I was not expected to be brought to tears by number 7, but that’s just what happened. After multiple years of me hating the public school system labeling my daughter with learning disabilities, I have continued on in the same way. Thank you for opening my eyes! I will be posting that verse everywhere I can see it so I remember to appreciate her differences!

    • Marianne says:

      I felt the same way when I first read that verse while seeking God’s wisdom about my kids’ dyslexia. There I was thinking that the Bible didn’t say anything about learning struggles and then, there it was! God is so good. Learn all you can about learning styles and take advantage of the freedom of homeschooling to teach them how they learn best. It is not always easy, but I believe that homeschooling is the best thing for your kids, especially ones that learn differently.

  4. Lara White says:

    THANK YOU!!! This list was just what I needed today. And as another reader commented, # 7 brought me to tears as well. I often find myself frustrated with one of my children, an active, very bright boy who is the polar opposite in “schoolwork” as his sister (who is a year younger than him). My constant thought is, “Why doesn’t he do what (or the way) SHE is doing?” Shame on me! God has made him differently! And for a purpose! It’s not his problem, it’s mine. I’m not trying to sound self-condemning, I am merely very convicted. Now I can pray about it!

    And Thank you Lord, if (or shall I say when…) I slip back into #7….there’s always #3 God fills in the Gaps!

    • Marianne says:

      Having kids that learn differently than we homeschool moms learn is especially difficult. It can be hard to be patient. Learn about learning styles, both yours and your kids. Some simple knowledge can really change the mood in your school. God bless!

  5. What a great post! I’ve been homeschooling for 29 years now, and I totally agree with all the points you shared! Thanks for the words of wisdom.

  6. Grace W says:

    Thank you, I so need the reassurance and encouragement. I appreciate you taking the time to encourage us and always redirect our focus on what is truly most important, God!

  7. […] Marianne Sunderland Here are eighteen things I have learned in 18 years of homeschooling. 1. Education is more than […]

  8. Teresa says:

    Thanks Marianne for sharing! I loved chatting with you at the Busy Moms at the Beach!

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