Someone used the word “usta” to describe something they had done in the past. His inquiry was, “What did ya usta do?”
I usta homeschool four kids. Looking back, the memories are wonderful. The actual process was more challenging but still wonderful.
Before I had kids I had never heard of homeschooling. It was a concept that came to us as we fell in love with parenting and looked around at educational options. I had a hard time making the decision with my first child but for the following three the decision was effortless. (The first two were homeschooled through high school. The second two entered public school at middle school when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.)
When we started homeschooling, we did more than simply adopt homeschooling. I became, well, probably a bit zealous.
So zealous that I probably offended some moms who could have been friends in those early days of parenting. I was completely convinced that homeschooling was the ticket to parental success.
It was and it wasn’t. My kids are all decent human beings and for that I am grateful to God.
The biggest blessing has been how homeschooling has changed ME.
I would sure do some things differently if I had it to do all over again.
- I wouldn’t let it consume my identity. Guess what? Your kids grow up! If you have solely invested in homeschooling them, you may wake up to not know who you are. You are richer, fuller, deeper. Develop those aspects of your SELF, even when you are knee-deep in homeschooling.
- I would focus more on the child than the outcome. Test scores don’t define the person. Kids are so much richer, fuller and deeper. Don’t lose sight of that.
- I would foster learning more than progress. Our homeschool was a pretty good blend of delightful learning and sitting-the-behind-in-the-chair-and-getting-the-work-done. The reality is that kids have to learn to read and kids have to learn math. If I had it to do over, I would do more learning games and less drill, although there is a place for each.
- I would seek a greater balance with my husband and my marriage. Because my husband was not terribly involved with homeschooling, he often felt left out of the daily flow of life. If I had it to do over, I would do both: Get him more involved and leave some energy in the day for just me and him.
- I would judge less and love more. My generation of homeschoolers was pretty judgmental. We had all the answers. If you didn’t agree with our answers, we judged you. Now when I go to homeschool conventions, I notice that parents are more diverse and more easy-going. Guess what? They have great kids! Even if they didn’t do things MY WAY.
- I wouldn’t denigrate parents who made other choices. I cringe when I think about how I have judged non-homeschool parents. Let me send out an Internet apology if I ever offended you for choosing public education.
- I wouldn’t copy other families. It is one thing to admire another family. It is quite another to glorify that family. Remember we all are flawed humans. Some hide it better than others. Be yourself, give it to God and have a wonderful time.
When you get to the point when you say, “I usta homeschool” – you want to be able to say it with pride and no regrets.