Here is a list of mine and a few others I captured from the previous WHEN forums before it was deleted:
I wish I would have known how fast time flies. At 18 years old, the government believes a child should be capable of living on their own and provide for themselves. That means I ONLY had 18 years to teach them all they needed to know to survive in that big, bad, mean ole' world. For many that step into the world of survival can be a slap in the face or even a huge punch in the nose. I hoped to soften that blow of realization by helping them obtain the skills and the confidence to take any obstacles one step at a time. The hard part is realizing that very little of that time, could I wrap my arms around them and cuddle them. Time just goes so fast. My youngest is already off to high school classes.
I wish I would have known that every child's education will have holes in it and the skills and confidence I give my kids matter most. And the more involvement I could have, the smaller the holes will be. Thanks goes to a wonderful friend, Cynthia Walker who clued me in on this.
I wish I would have known it doesn't take a brain scientist to home school just a motivated individual who loves learning. And when you love learning, they love learning.
Here are some things others shared:
Michelle Curtiss: I wish I had known that stress and a very specific plan is optional. (The plan will change anyway as your kids begin to discover their own interests) As long as you minimize electronics and make resources available, they learn. Also, thrift stores are a great way to get lots of good book cheap.
My husband and I were saying just yesterday how cool it is to have to constantly be saying "I don't want to ask you again, put your math away and come to dinner!" "You need to stop reading and get ready to go!" "I really love hearing about what you are learning, but I've been in here for over an hour and you really have to go to sleep."
My kids have learned past me in so many ways and I am just grateful to be able to give them the life I didn't have. We don't have to get up early and stay up late just to get to school on time and have a little time together as a family. We can drop everything on a moments notice to help others as needs arise. We enjoy the fresh air when it is available and the cozy indoors when it is cold.
We are living a joyful life! I can't believe I was ever afraid to start homeschooling.
Karen Zea: I wish I had known:
1. That textbooks are optional and mostly a hindrance to learning. It is much more fun to discover on your own, and do your own research.
2. That requiring too much can paralyze learning. We had to regroup and put learning on hold for quite a while until the joy came back. Boys seem to reach this point much faster than my girls. I don't even start to introduce some elementary skills until age 10 or 11 now. It just isn't worth it, and the learning happens much faster if we wait.
3. That our kids will not make the decisions we think they will if we give them the chance. My kids were not interested in what I thought they would be! But what they are interested in is fabulous! I wanted to push subjects that I thought everyone needed...and they do to a point, but not necessarily as far as I studied when I was in school. I'm sad when they don't want to study what I loved, but I am glad that they are becoming their own persons.
4. That homeschooling is finally giving ME an EDUCATION. I can't believe how much I didn't get when I was in "school"! And I was no slouch! I was in "honors" and "advanced" classes and programs from day one. (part way through K they asked me if I wanted to stay all day and read with the big kids and I said YES! and never looked back.) Now I have taken the love of learning to unimagined heights!!
I hoped...but I wasn't sure. Now I know for sure - IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY LEARN!! My daughter went to one of the best Jr Colleges in the nation without some of the "academics" that I thought she HAD to have. She is successful and happy. What else could be important?
I echo the sentiments of the others who have answered. What a joy and a blessing to have to scold kids that are hiding to read and study!! I have watched my teen aged son completely change his friday night plans to stay home and play games with his siblings, just because his sister was visiting from college unexpectedly. My heart soars when I see my little ones insist that their big brothers or sisters do something for them, and the tenderness with which the older ones love and serve them. I had no idea we could be so blessed!!
Laura Lund: The ones that come to mind for me as we finish up our eighth year are:
1. Every homeschooling family is unique. Ours does much better with a detailed plan. We put everything we want or need to accomplish into the plan and schedule in time for free exploration. When we tried a more relaxed approach (unschooling and then TJEd), we were all stressed out!
2. Less is sometimes more, but sometimes more is more. Re-evaluating periodically helps keep us happy and balanced.
3. The program or resources that work for my oldest will generally not work for the next in line (and vice versa). I have grown so much as a teacher because of the various strengths and weaknesses of my children.
4. There are wonderful days when I love everything about homeschooling and there are horrible days when I wish the yellow bus would take them all away for a few hours. Realizing that no one has a perfect family and perfect homeschool helps me keep on keepin' on when things are rough.
5. There are few things sweeter than watching an older sibling help a younger one learn a new skill.
6. I love seeing my children grow in their understanding. I love having discussions with them about what they are learning. I love experiencing the light bulb moments with them.
7. Homeschooling is hard at times, but the perks are great.
I love Laura's last one! She is so right! People look at my family and wonder why and how we are so close. And you know, honestly, not only was I able to give my kids a step ahead, we are close to boot! Thank you home schooling.
What do you wish you would have known?