So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

So we are almost to the end of our first year of homeschooling, and all of us have survived. I haven’t (completely) lost my sanity, and my daughter and I are still on speaking terms. She may have even learned a thing or two! I know that I sure have, and here are my top 10 lessons. 

10. Choosing curriculum is not permanent.

When you begin searching for curriculum, the shear volume of options can be so scary. You begin to feel like the success of your child’s entire future rests on your decision to buy curriculum A or B. False! Choosing a curriculum is a very important decision, but one that can be reevaluated if needed. 

Case in point: I tried a reading book that turned out to be an epic failure for my daughter. I should have clued in when my sister offered it to me after warning me that she hated it. We struggled through almost half of it before I realized I could just let it go. Now we have a new book that is SO. MUCH. BETTER. Don’t be afraid to adapt. If you are a perfectionist who MUST finish what you start, please embrace the freedom here. It will be hard, but you can do it!

9. A schedule is a good thing, but don’t let it control life.

By all means, have structure in your days when you can. Have a plan and stick to it when possible. However, if it becomes a source of stress, toss it out and make a new plan! We have used 2 or 3 different schedules throughout our year. Life has changed as my toddler’s nap schedule has adjusted. There was a period of time when I needed a daily nap. (We pregnant ladies like to call that the first trimester.) We have morning activities several times a week. Go with whatever works best for you.

I have found that my daughter’s attention span is much better when she is well fed and has had some free time, but not too much. Get to know what flows best for your kids. Right now, we try to accomplish as much school as we can between the hours of 9:30-11:30 when we are home. It allows us the freedom to play, go to the library, or just rest at home in the afternoons. On days we have morning activities, we start school after lunch and some quiet time. 

8. Homeschooling families need community.

I cannot say enough how important it is to have other families to “do life” with. We have two homeschooling groups, one that meets once a week and one that meets twice a month. Both are a source of cooperative learning, problem solving, and relationship building for my daughter. They are also a huge source of laughter, support and friendship for me as her mom and teacher. And can I please emphasize the importance of mom’s night out?!? I think ALL mothers need this. Food, laughter, an excuse to dress up a bit and get out of the house. Alone. With other adult women. Pure bliss.

This is my 6 year old giving her weekly presentation at our home school group. This used to terrify her, but it's awesome to see her confidence now!
This is my 6 year old giving her weekly presentation at our home school group earlier this week. This used to terrify her, but it’s awesome to see her confidence now!

7. The rough days may outnumber the good days sometimes.

I learned this one the hard way, and I think much of it connects to #5, but homeschooling is hard. Worth it, but hard. The good days are awesome and the bad days are just NOT. This is why I have had to learn that those bad days do not determine my worth (or my child’s!) as a person or a mom, nor should they stop me from pressing on in doing what I feel is best for our family. When you come to expect the hard times, they don’t have nearly the shock factor. You roll with it, do your best, prioritize, and don’t push it. A better day is soon to come. If the bad days persist, reevaluate your strategies. Which leads me to #6.

6. Use the strategies that work best for YOU.

We have a classroom in our basement, but we often do school at the kitchen table. This is what works best for us right now. The toddler loves to play upstairs and the 6 year old isn’t stressing over little sister getting into “her” basement toys while we’re trying to focus on math. I keep our school work in a basket in the pantry. It isn’t what my husband and I had envisioned when we set up the classroom, but it’s what works.

5. Kids grow and mature as they get older.

I’m being totally sincere when I say, “Thank you Jesus!” for this one. Just when it began to feel that we were never going to see improvement in our daughter’s attitude, things began to change. It wasn’t a complete turn around, nor did it result it a perfect attitude of obedience, but it was noticeable. It remains an area of needed growth, but it is very encouraging to see progress. It has shown me that a longer attention span and maturity WILL come, and not to give up on the hard things of parenting.

Her first day of "school"! Check out that sun bleached hair.
Her first day of “school”! Check out that sun bleached hair. 

4. Praise more than you criticize.

As a perfectionist, it is very tempting to expect the same from my daughter and to constantly redirect her. However, nothing makes her face light up or her motivation increase like praise. The more I can give it, and give it sincerely, the better our day goes. There are still those days when she chooses to disobey and I’m not going to be able to give gobs of praise, but it is worth it to look for the opportunities. Kindergarten is a lot of guided learning and not much independent work, so I have a lot of chances while sitting right next to her to observe her progress and efforts.

3. Don’t expect too much of yourself or your littles.

Oh mama, this is a big one! I see its application in so many things, from sports to music, dance, or education. For me, it is easy to think that because I am homeschooling I have something to prove. I must push my daughter to learn more and to learn it faster and earlier, as though others may be doubting my ability to give her a quality education. (No one has made me feel this, by the way!) This is where comparison can be such a trap. I would encourage ALL moms to embrace this truth whether you home school or not. Every child is different, and no one else knows your child like you do. Don’t allow the opinions of others, real or perceived, to make you feel inferior. I caused grief for both myself and my child by pushing her too much when she wasn’t ready. It backfired as my pushing collided with her strong will. We have spent the past few months making up for that by taking the pressure off, and she is beginning to love learning much more.

2. Cherish the relationship building.

Another homeschooling mom shared this with me online several months ago, and it has been such a sweet blessing to focus on. Homeschooling, just like many aspects of parenting, is about relationships. Cherish it, and don’t wish it away by being a slave to your expectations or agenda. Get to know your kids, and let that be a priority. It is my prayer that the relationships I build with my daughters now will be a foundation for a future friendship with them as they become adults.

1. I have a lot left to learn.

While I love sharing these experiences with you, I do so in humility. I know that, even on my best day, I cannot make everything on my list happen. I am thankful for these lessons, but each one has come through difficulty. Most people assume that my years of teaching before homeschooling make me an automatic pro at this. While I appreciate the confidence boost, it simply is not true. Homeschooling is like being a brand new, first year teacher again. I have a frame of reference, but everything is a learning process. I am certain that each new phase after this will involve the same kind of trial and error and lesson learning on the part of both mom and daughter. Thankfully, I can come back to this list and know that tomorrow is a new day. 

How about you? What has the past school year taught you about yourself and your kids?

Megan Blazek

Megan Blazek grew up in Kearney, Nebraska, and still loves to call it home. She is a mom to 2 daughters, ages 1 and 5. When she isn't busy with the kiddos, she loves reading, splurging on coffee and spending quality time with her hubby. Together, they have entered into the world of foster parenting and have found that they are totally incapable, but God is most capable.

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

For the Love of the Game and a Little Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Several baseball players with coach, color photo

When your babies are babies, you think the days are never going to end. You’re so filled up with love for them, but oh momma, you are sooo exhausted. One day runs into the other, runs into the other, and so on. Those days are filled with feedings, diaper changes, sleepless nights, and milk-drunk smiles. You get all the firsts. The first smile. The first laugh. The first words. The first crawl. Before you know it, they’re walking. Walking turns into running. But hold your breath momma, these are the good old days. These long days and even longer nights...

Keep Reading

Did I Shelter You Too Much?

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom and tween daughter

I’ve made so many mistakes as your mother. From moving too much to letting you stay up too late, I know I should’ve done better. But of all the mistakes I’ve made, not letting you make your own was my biggest. It’s the one I regret the most. I only wanted your happiness. Keeping you safe and happy were my most important jobs.  At least I thought so at the time.   If you forgot your homework, I’d drive it in. If you were too tired for school, I let you stay home. If you didn’t want to speak, I spoke...

Keep Reading

Dear Strong-Willed Child, Don’t Hide Your Big Personality

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in sprinkler

My sweet child, I often wondered in our early days together how one tiny person could have so much bigness dwelling inside them. Your will was set from day one as you fought the nurses with more strength than any 7-pound human with unused muscles ever should have possessed. Your cry was big and demanded a response. Your appetite was big as you insisted on nursing every hour-and-a-half . . . day and night. Your pediatrician only smiled gently as I lamented your hatred of sleep, your refusal to be set down, and your persistence in screaming until your need...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime