The lovely folks over at Home Educating Family are hosting a Not-Back-to-School blog hop every Friday this month! And there will be prizes! This week, we’ll be sharing our homeschool stories and you could win a one-year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine! Be sure to look for details about the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

I’m a homeschool graduate, but I spent my elementary years at the local public school before my parents made the decision to homeschool my sister and me. My husband attended the same private Christian school from Kindergarten straight through High School graduation. We actually discussed how we would educate any children we might have back when we were dating. Home education was very important to both of us, and we agreed that we would teach our children at home.

Fast forward about ten years, and our oldest was four years old, and just itching to jump into “doing school”. I’d been reading and researching homeschooling methods and curriculum choices for a while. I was amazed at how many more choices there were compared to back when Mom was teaching me. I figured I had a pretty good grip on what to do and how things would work. After all, I’d been home educated, I’d been reading up on the topic, and I considered myself a reasonably intelligent person. On top of that, my very bright daughter was more than anxious to start learning how to read! This was going to be a piece of cake…

You know what the Bible says about pride going before a fall? Completely true.

Nothing, and I mean nothing went the way I planned. Munchkin loved books and doing as many activity worksheets as I’d give her, but reading would take tears and another two years to master. We may be the only family in the world who hated Hooked on Phonics. I had ideas for elaborate educational projects, but didn’t really take into account the attention span of my still-young child. Not to mention trying to figure out what to do with two and three year old boys when I was trying to work with their sister! Wasn’t this supposed to be easy?

Of course, home educating moms and teachers everywhere knew what I didn’t yet understand: Teaching is hard work! I took a step back, a deep breath, and looked for what God was teaching me about teaching.

We eased up. We still read books, and Munchkin still asked to do worksheets, particularly ones that had to do with numbers, shapes, and patterns. We shelved Hooked on Phonics and tried a different phonics program several months later.

I learned that our homeschool will not look exactly like anyone else’s. And that’s OK. God gave me wonderfully unique children, and educating them would require an approach that would probably be a little different from how other families did it. I learned to keep the ideas that worked, and not worry about letting go of the ones that didn’t. I learned that planning is important, but flexibility is absolutely necessary. Most of all, I learned to enjoy the ride.

Oh sure, there are still days where I think arithmetic might be out to get me. Some days are more stressful than others, and it’s still a lot of work. But overall, I enjoy my job as a home educator. I’m the one who gets to be there when they read their first book, learn to write their name, and all of the countless other firsts.

Now, more than ever, I am beyond grateful for the time and sacrifice that Mom and my tutors put into my own education. They gave me a priceless gift, and I pray that I can pass it on to my own children.

To enter this week’s giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post. The winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday and announced on Friday. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site.