10 Things I Learned as a First Time Homeschool Mom

May 26, 2021 | homeschool, kids

Before my brain settles into summer mode, I wanted to reflect on our first year homeschooling and all the lessons that came with it. So in no particular order...

10 Things I Learned as a First Time Homeschool Mom

May 26, 2021 | homeschool, kids

10 Things I Learned as a Homeschool Mom


We wrapped up the school year and are full on summer lovin'! Backyard sprinkler, later bedtimes, slower routines. But before my brain settles into summer mode, I wanted to reflect on our first year homeschooling and all the lessons that came with it. So in no particular order...

1. Foster their love to learn.

That is the all time CHEESIEST line I could put in this blog post, but its true. I learned to filter so much through that phrase.  Am I pushing to get this reading page done to check it off, or am I helping her love to read? Am I focused on forcing my schedule for the day, or could we stop and watch these ants for awhile? Keeping a love for learning front of mind helped me form my priorities.

2. Its ok to take a day off.

Ok, this might have been my favorite thing about homeschooling. (JK, kind of...) Some days we just took the day off! And some days when our friends had a day off, we still did school. It all evened out. We were also able to move through our material fairly quickly with one on one instruction and the simplicity of kindergarten material. I just fell in love with the freedom and flexibility this schedule offered. Its honestly a big reason we're planning to homeschool again next year!

3. Early mornings are for the birds.

Wait no, THIS was my favorite part of homeschooling! The sloooow mornings. We didn't have to be anywhere at a certain time (except our co-op days) and I didn't know how much I loved that until it happened. My kids sleep til 7:30 right now, and I'm ok with that routine continuing for the time being. Is this a somewhat small, silly reason to love homeschooling? Sure. But I found it helpful to reflecting on routines and rhythms that help our family function well. Thinking about these things has helped me say yes and no to a lot of opportunities that have come our way.

4. Have a toddler basket.

Yes. And. Amen. This came in clutch for Hutch (2) while I did school with Piper. He caught on well to the routine of sitting at the school table! I would rotate various activities to keep him busy, and then I could give my full attention to Piper. It wasn't foul proof - sometimes we would do subjects right after he went to nap that required more focus - but for the most part this helped him be part of the team!


5. Cute bins really do help.

My husband is shaking his head somewhere out there while I type this. Ha! Hear me out. I'm not advocating that my future self spend $873 on bins every year, but some type of structure and organization is key. This year I set up a small corner of our playroom with: 

-a small cube bookshelf 

-bins to hide the "mess"

-magazine boxes to hold Piper's main books and Hutch's activities

-a diffuser and our fave focus oils

-books I wanted to keep as special read-alouds

Here's a pic of how it turned out, and it truly stayed that way (but add some mess) all year!  



6. Community is everything. 

I'm so so so (how many times can I type so in a blog post?) thankful we found a co-op to be involved in. I can't imagine the year without it. We personally decided to do Classical Conversations (blog post on all of that coming soon!) which meant we met weekly with other families for learning, science experiments, art projects, lunch and play time, and more. Tuesdays were easily our favorite day of the week. I honeslty wouldn't recommend homeschooling without some type of group like this!


7. Our favorite curriculum was: 

Just kidding. I'll do a whole different post on curriculum soon! Here's what we used this year for reference, though. My biggest takeaway on this subject is that it really doesn't make or break the learning. There are certainly factors that could make it a better fit, but at the end of the day its just a tool. Notes to my future self: don't be afraid to switch if something isn't working. You don't have to use what everyone else is using. Certain kids' learning styles might fit better with one curriculum than another. Overall, I put a ton of time and pressure on this decision in the beginning, but was able to make much quicker decisions for next year's curriculum this time around!  


8. Ask for help. 

Dear Kelsie, you don't have to know everything. Ask for help. The end. (PS Applies beyond homeschooling.)

9. You're the best mom for the job.

A note on #8 - what works for her might not work for you. So don't be afraid to ask for help, take advice, and hear what's working for others. But at the end of the day, God chose you to be the mom for your kids right now. Don't let comparison or guilt diminish how you live out your calling. You're not a perfect mom, but you're the best mom for this job.

10. Break up with keeping up.

Here we are at number ten, and I can confidently say this was the most impactful thing I learned all year.  It all started as I was stressed about the way teaching my daughter to read was going, but it translated to so many other areas of life.  I (personally, remember these are my own reflections) don't want a child who can read chapter books but has no compassion. I would rather her love to read and be fluent next year than be stressed from us hammering it over and over this year. Math facts are important but so are the skills they'll learn playing side by side. This year forced me to look my goals in the eye and decide what hills I would die on. I took a breath and stopped worrying if we were "where we needed to be" or "keeping up." Its something I'll keep with me for years to come.