Biggest Challenge in Homeschooling.

Spunky Home School asks what is your biggest challenge in homeschooling and how did you overcome it. The comments make interesting reading.

I actually commented on three different challenges, based on where we were in the process, and how I got through them or overcame them or just made them not be a handicap anymore. Here, with more enlightening detail (because you shouldn’t have an entire post on someone else’s blog, don’t you know?), is my answer.

At the beginning my biggest challenge was having faith that I could do it.

The way to get through that was just by doing it. (Lots of prayer. Lots of tears. Lots of frustration. Lots of reading. Lots of advice.)

I didn’t think I was going to ever get over this. But when I put E in a private first grade class where we paid through the nose to have an abusive teacher who refused to let him excel, I decided I couldn’t do worse than she did. So I re-started. And kept going.

In the middle, my biggest challenge was getting my kids to work when they didn’t want to and I didn’t want them to badly enough to force them.

We got through that by having school year round. We always finished all the work by August 15. And they knew it meant that if they weren’t doing all their work, they’d be working all summer.

It wasn’t actually that big a deal to work two or three hours a day three or four days each week of the summer. They kind of liked it. It was better for them, too, because they are those kind of kids who forget stuff if they haven’t used it for six weeks. Doing school year round turned out to be better for all of us. I wasn’t as frustrated and they weren’t confused.

Towards the end (I have one son on dual credit at college and one son who is an 8th through 11th grader.), the problem has been doing the best I can do. I know the easy ways around things now and sometimes I go with those rather than the best ways.

To overcome that, I’ve had to tell myself, “This is M. He has not had all the good years of x that E did. So we really need to keep him on track by doing the best we can.”

It mostly works.

I have some things I want to do with M that didn’t work with E. And M’s high school work will last much longer than E’s. M started doing high school level history two years ago. (In public school he would have been in 5th grade then.) So he’s finished 11th grade history. What am I going to do with him? Well, we’re going to do more history in different ways.

And his reading is far beyond what a just completed 7th grader would have done. He read twelve biographies and twelve American novels last year. (That’s more than many people have ever done in a school year.) Plus we did some art, some folklore, some short stories, some poetry… And that was for literature class.

But he’s not going to go to college when he’s 14, probably, because his math skills are not as advanced as his brother’s. (His English is more advanced, but you have to have both.) I won’t need for him to go to college in order to get the math he needs. (The advanced math class at the teaching/tutoring homeschool place was dropped. So was the advanced science.) And I can teach him history and English equivalent to senior level in college.

I don’t expect to keep him at home THAT long. But at least till he’s 15 and probably 16. So that means that even though he has already completed 11th grade history, he’ll have three more years of history with me.

And that is what makes this newest challenge a true hurdle.