In this exciting inaugural episode of the Confidently Growing At Home Podcast – launched in January 2022 – I’ll share my own homeschooling story about how I went from feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and out of my comfort zone to learning how to embrace this season of my life.
In this episode, you’ll learn…
- To infuse you into your homeschooling to enjoy the journey even more
- The importance of flexibility and discovering your families’ sweetspot
- Why you should incorporate the routine of evaluating and reflecting on your homeschool journey
Welcome to Confidently Growing At Home, a podcast dedicated to empower and equip homeschool moms like you to feel more fulfilled, confident, and content to stay home by focusing on your spiritual and personal growth. I’m your host, Ty Benjamin, and I want to help you become the very best version of yourself at home.
The question is, are you ready?
Hello, hello and welcome to the very first episode of the Confidently Growing At Home Podcast. This podcast episode is entitled, The Homeschool Journey.
I am so very happy and grateful that you’ve decided to be with me today. And I truly hope that something is said that will encourage you to grow as a homeschool mom.
So before we get into what I want to talk about in this episode, I do want to start by sharing a little bit about my homeschool journey.
In 2017, I officially became a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom after the birth of my second child. And so my oldest was four at the time, and I was starting to look at some schools around the neighborhood for pre-K.
And I’ll be honest to say that homeschooling was not initially my idea. It was my husband’s.
So when I was looking at, you know, the different schools, he came to me and said, “You know what? I don’t think we’re going to send our children away to public school.”
And I’ll admit that my first reaction to this was like, “EXCUSE ME!”
Because homeschooling for me, I mean, it was very foreign, you know, it was, it was foreign to me, foreign to my family, to my upbringing.
No one I knew homeschooled. I knew no homeschoolers.
And so the thought of homeschooling was very scary, and it was intimidating. And, and for me, I was like, well, how do you expect me to teach my own kids?
My husband had started forming some relationships with some other preachers whose wives were homeschoolers.
And so I decided to talk with them and try to get some insight and, you know, try and get an idea of what I was about to get myself into.
And so my husband and I agreed that at first year was what we called, “a trial year,” and I decided to participate in the a classical education homeschool community as my introduction to homeschool life.
So to make a long story short, I can say that my homeschool journey has definitely had both hills and valleys. You know, I’ve had my good days and my bad days.
However, I believe the turning point came for me as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom was one night after a rough day with the kids.
It was probably year number two of homeschooling.
And I remember as I was taking my nightly shower that I was crying to myself.
I was very sad.
I was very overwhelmed.
And overcome with emotions at this time.
And I remember letting the water hit my face like I was trying to wash the tears away and muffle the sobs.
But I remember this immobilizing thought that I kept saying to myself, and it was, “I’m just a mom and wife. I’m just a mom and wife.”
And shortly after this happened, I had a very vulnerable and honest conversation with my husband about this same thought.
And I remember saying to him that he just couldn’t understand what I was going through.
And I said things to him, like:
- He didn’t have to leave his career!
- He didn’t have to stay home all day!
- He didn’t have to breastfeed!
- He didn’t have to give up an area of his life that brought him accomplishment and feelings of influence and fulfillment!
- He didn’t have to stop using certain gifts and talents!
I still hear him clearly to this day.
He asked me some very direct questions that essentially changed my at-home journey.
He asked me things like:
- Well, why can’t you still use your gifts and talents for the home?
- Or why can’t you find ways to bring you fulfillment at home?
- And why should the world benefit from the best parts of you and not our home?
And he said, “If you love being creative, public speaking, and having an influence, why can’t you do those things from home? Why not create a new avenue for yourself to do those things?”
And he told me that my perspective was all wrong.
You know, instead of thinking about what I had lost, I should have been thinking about what I had gained and how I could bring the best parts of me to it.
And he was absolutely right.
I mean, I definitely was caught up on what I had to give up in order to be a mom at-home, instead of the blessings God had given me to be able to be home with my family.
And honestly, I needed to grow up a little bit.
I had to go through an intentional reworking of my mindset and learn how to embrace being at home.
And even learn how to navigate the transition from corporate world or corporate, you know, life to being a stay at home mom.
I also realized that I had to get out of my comfort zone and learn to fully embrace homeschooling.
So over the last few years, I’ve learned some ways on how to navigate this homeschool life.
And I want to share three things with you today that I hope will help you to fully embrace your homeschool journey.
Let's Be Mom Friends!
Join my newsletter for more tips, support, and advice on building your confidence, personal growth, and spiritual maturity for homeschool moms.
#1 INFUSE YOU INTO YOUR HOMESCHOOL
Infuse you into your homeschool.
And what I mean by that is to put you and your personality into your schooling.
You know, the Bible says in Psalm 139:14 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each and every one of us have unique traits, skills, talents, and personalities that God has blessed us with to share with others.
And so when I first started homeschooling and I was observing the seasoned moms and their certain curriculum choices, and the crafts they would do, the nature walks they would go on, the themes they would have, the baking activities they would do, the family outings they would go on, and so on and so forth…
It was very intimidating.
I was intimidated. I felt ill- prepared, and I kept comparing myself to them.
I thought that that was the way I was supposed to be doing things.
And sometimes I felt like I was failing because I wasn’t doing all the things that I saw them doing.
But then I realized that in order for me to enjoy homeschooling for X amount of years that I have to do it, I have to make it my own.
And I have to do things that I enjoy as well as the kids.
And so for me, personally, those things would be music, dance, movement and exercise.
And so I started to infuse these things into our learning and our activities.
We have different types of songs that we sing.
We make up our own songs.
We make up beats to different things to help us memorize certain lessons.
We use YouTube all the time for different songs to learn and to kind of explore our subjects.
We march around this house and go up and down stairs and sing the books of the Bible or whatever else we want to chant because it helps us to learn.
It’s part of who I am and what I like to do.
So we all have a good time doing it.
And my children love it because they see me smiling and having a good time while we’re learning together.
And the curriculum…when I think about that as well…
The curriculum has to match me as well as the kids, and if I think the curriculum is boring, if I’m looking at it, and it’s like, “oh, this is whack!”
Why do I think my kids will enjoy it?
And so, my point is to infuse your likes and your interests and your personality into your homeschool, and it will make it so much better.
#2 FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT
What time do you get started with school?
You know, I used to think that we had to start school at 8:30 am in the morning.
I tried to stick with that schedule for awhile, but I was fooling myself…that time did not work for us.
It did not.
Neither did 9 am nor 9:30am, which were times I tried as well.
Our sweet spot is between 10:00 AM and 11 am.
But this is a time where both my kids and I are up and we’re alert and we’re ready to get to it.
But to find this out, I had to do a little testing and be willing to change things up.
So what I’m saying is don’t box yourself in and give yourself these parameters and these boundaries or these limitations when you don’t have to.
Find out the best time for you and your kids to start and finish.
Is it early in the morning? Is it late afternoon?
Whatever it is, find it out, but understand that it’s okay to be flexible until you find that sweet spot for your family.
#3 EVALUATE AND REFLECT
So during the start of my personal growth journey, I learned about the Law of Reflection, which is basically the act of pausing and reflecting on the various parts of your life.
You know, it’s been said that experience is not the best teacher, but evaluated experience is.
Learning to take the time to pause, reflect, and evaluate on how things are going in your life is, what I believe, essential to anyone’s success.
And I took this approach for homeschooling as well.
So at the end of each semester, I sit down and I reflect on the last few months to determine what’s working and what’s not.
I ask myself questions like…
- What were the high points and low points of the semester?
- Is the current curriculum working for us or should we change it up?
- Are there subjects or areas that need to be revisited or given more attention?
- What have the kids expressed interest in?
- What do I want to explore or share with the kids?
So you can do this quarterly, monthly, weekly, however you want to do it, but I do encourage you to take the time to evaluate and reflect on your journey so that you can create a unique and authentic experience for all of you.
So those are the three points I wanted to share with you today.
I do hope that they were encouraging; that they were insightful.
If you want the show notes, you can find them at the link in the description.
And before you go, please be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you can receive new episodes, right when they’re released.
I thank you again for joining me today.
I’m your host, Ty Benjamin, and this has been Confidently Growing At Home.
Talk to you soon.