The Story of Our First Year of Homeschooling

It's easy, as a new homeschool mom, to scroll through social media and feel defeated when looking at other homeschooling families who have been doing this for a while. (Trust me: I did it.) So for those who might feel like they're in the homeschooling trenches, I want to peel back the curtain on our first year of homeschooling. It was rocky and chaotic and, frankly, didn't feel sustainable.

Thankfully, it was only the beginning. 
It's helpful to remember that a year or two from now, your circumstances that currently feel so heavy may lighten. You may not have a toddler underfoot, you might be sleeping through the night, and your child will be able to tackle some of his work independently. All of those things are game changers!

So press on, friend. It's much more manageable (and even enjoyable) the longer you do it. I hope our story is a true encouragement!
When we decided to homeschool in 2017, I knew very little about it. I'd never heard of Charlotte Mason and had previously determined that homeschoolers were awkward and unsocialized and it wasn't for us. (How little I knew!) I was also working nearly full-time as an RN and had a toddler and a baby.
What suddenly changed my mind was our 5-year-old son who was already a voracious reader and could hardly sit still. We weren't ready to send him to school all day every day. We had this gut feeling that home (where he was thriving) was best for him. For all of us.
A few have asked about our schedule and routine in our early days of homeschooling, and I have to laugh because we were truly just surviving. Many days, I'd spend the morning with the kids, go to work at the hospital at 2pm, and return—exhausted—at midnight, only to wake up at 2am to nurse, then be up at 7am to attempt another day.
My memories of those days are a blur, but they are miraculously sweet. We used a boxed curriculum (Sonlight) and it worked well because it required no preparation. We read countless books while I nursed the baby. We played outside. We did simple art projects. I learned to choose connection over curriculum, even when it was tempting to check all the boxes.
Every couple weeks, Liam and I would find a chunk of time to sneak away to Starbucks and catch up on several math and handwriting lessons in a row, knowing we wouldn't be interrupted.
Still, there were definitely days I wondered if I was failing him. If our life was just too distracting for learning. If it would be better to send him to the school down the street. But I held on, watching homeschooling families a few years ahead of me who seemed to be thriving.

Fast forward (almost) 6 years. I'll be honest: like any family, we still have tough homeschool days. Days when the kids whine and bicker, and we all get a little stir crazy being together all the time. But I don't wonder anymore if this is the right road for us.

Why? Because after 6 years, I see undeniable fruit. My children adore learning. They're each other's best friends. Our days begin and end in God's Word, with meaningful conversations and discipleship moments throughout. Our kids are gaining lifelong skills and slowly but surely developing good habits. They recognize and love rich literature.

I wouldn't trade these days—these years—for anything.

It's safe to say we got off to a rocky start. But it's also safe to say many homeschooling families do.

Here's my encouragement: If you feel like you're in the trenches and it's never going to get better, hold on. Put away the non-essentials and focus on sharing good books, fitting in a math lesson every once in a while, and spending time in nature. Read the Bible together. Pray often and aloud. Choose connection over curriculum every time. When your children learn that they have your attention, you'll gain their attention, too. The rest will come.