There are plenty blog posts out there offering help and encouragement for new homeschool moms. But I never felt right considering myself to be in that category, even when I first began homeschooling my older son. That’s because I am one of the growing number of second generation homeschool moms.
While having been homeschooled definitely gives us advantages when homeschooling our own children, we still face our own unique struggles. And those struggles are not yet being addressed very much in the homeschooling community.
If you are a second generation homeschooler beginning this journey as a mom now, I want to give you some words of wisdom. Don’t automatically assume this is going to be smooth sailing because you already know it all. Take it from someone who has been in your shoes.
Second generation homeschool mom, get ready to start searching. Because there are four things you need to find.
1. Find Your Own Why
Homeschooling your children just because that’s what Mom and Dad did is not going to cut it.
Our parents were like pioneers. They paved the way before us with courage and determination at a time when home education was not so popular. Many homeschooling parents of the previous generation had to fight for the rights and freedoms we now take for granted. They were able to keep going because they knew why they had chosen to homeschool in the first place. They had convictions. They had reasons. They had their why.
Now we have grown up and made Mom and Dad proud grandparents. We want to follow in their footsteps, and that is great. But that alone should not be your why.
Mom and Dad’s convictions and their reasons for choosing to homeschool may very well be the same ones you share. But you have got to decide that for yourself. Along with your husband, take the time to consider why you are choosing to homeschool. Pray about it. There is no right or wrong answer here. There are many wonderful reasons to homeschool. Find yours, and let it be the anchor that holds you steady when the storms come.
You need to know your own reason why, because this homeschool mom job is a lot harder than it looks. Give yourself that strong foundation so you will be able to keep going…even when the going gets rough.
2. Find Your Own Groove
Do not expect the same things that worked for you and your siblings will work for your own children. Most likely they won’t. Our children are different people with different learning styles, and you might have a different teaching style than your mom.
When our parents started homeschooling all those years ago, there was not nearly the number of options out there that we enjoy today. We have so many more choices available to us for curriculum. Companies that market products for homeschoolers are everywhere, most towns have at least one homeschool support group and/or co-op, and it seems like the internet has been taken over by homeschool moms with blogs just packed full of great ideas!
So don’t stick with the same curriculum and style your mom used just because it is familiar. Do your research to find the best choices for your own family. Read those blogs. Attend some homeschool conventions. Pick up some catalogs or check out some websites for different companies and curriculum vendors. Search out the support group or co-op classes that will meet your needs.
And you will need to find your own rhythm for your day. Maybe your mom had you and your siblings on a strict school schedule, but you would really like to be more relaxed. Or perhaps your mom was pretty laid back, but you know your children will need a bit more structure. Don’t be afraid to set the daily pace that is right for you.
Definitely draw from your homeschooling experience, but don’t get stuck on trying to recreate it. Make your homeschool your own. You will not figure everything out right away. It is going to take some trial and error, but find your own groove.
3. Find Your Own Place
One thing I discovered when I started homeschooling was that it was going to seem awkward at first to make the transition from being a homeschool student to being a homeschool mom. This was especially true in with the local support groups and co-ops. My parents had been local and statewide homeschool leaders. Everyone knew my mom’s name and knew who my parents were. And many still thought of me as being one of the students rather than one of the moms.
So I realized I was going to have to find my own place in the homeschooling community.
Second generation homeschoolers have so much to offer to the homeschool community! You might find you have a special connection with homeschooled children because you have been where they are. You might have great ideas for group activities and field trips. Offer to teach a co-op class or to share some special knowledge with other moms. Perhaps you could start your own blog and share your own journey there.
It may take some time, but you need to find your own place in the homeschooling community.
4. Find Your Own Blessing
Whether you ever thought so before or not, you are truly blessed.
As you begin this journey, you are going to realize, perhaps for the first time, that your parents really did make the best choice when they chose home education for you. You, like no one else, have been specially prepared for the task of teaching your own children.
While other homeschool moms may have to defend their decisions to homeschool to parents who may be downright hostile to the idea, your parents are going to be your biggest supporters and resources. I am personally blessed to have a mom I can depend on to help with schooling if I am sick and have full confidence she knows what she is doing. If your parents want to get involved in your homeschooling in some way, consider allowing them that privilege. You may be surprised at first how much work it really is, and you are going to appreciate their help.
If you have never done so, I encourage you to thank your parents for the wonderful legacy they have passed on to you.
Find your blessing, and embrace the unique perspective that is yours as a second generation homeschooler.
Samantha is a Christian, homeschool graduate, homeschool mom to 2 busy boys, blogger, and freelance writer. Find her sharing her journey as a second generation homeschool mom at Shield of Faith Homeschool.