Each homeschool year is different

I have been thinking since the start of this new year that I haven't written about homeschooling in a long time. I had stopped writing weekly wrap-up blog posts last year because I found them tedious. I keep track in a planner for ourselves already and it was doubling the task. 

Anyway, I thought it was time for an update. 

We are on our 8th year of homeschooling. Last year was the first year I had only one child at home, my youngest daughter (9). This school year, my son (14) is at home, at his request. My oldest daughter (16) went to public school when we moved to the island and she is currently in grade 11. She has been enjoying the experience and is doing great. 

Each homeschool year is different. I am finding that I am learning something new every year from homeschooling my children, and I'm not only talking about academics. Finding what works for each child, each year as they grow and change has always been a focus for me. I tweak our schedule, our routine, and our curriculum as we go along, always adjusting to try to come up with the best fit. 

Celeste and I took away from last year a true love of learning. We had an excellent year together and we both learned so much. I believe that the biggest discovery for Celeste was that discovering new things and reading could be wonderful. I felt successful as one of my goals for homeschooling has always been to pass on a love of learning to my children. 

When my son came back to homeschooling, he had a different mentality. School work was something that needed to get done. He had always been that way, even through all our homeschool years together, so I was not surprised. 

What surprised me was how much it bothered me. Celeste and I enjoyed spending our days learning, casually going from one subject to another, exploring interesting things as they came along. We had a natural routine, a flow. Our homeschool work wasn't something we "had to get done", instead it was something interesting that filled our days. 

At the beginning of our school year, Celeste and I were stressed with the pressure Andre was putting on us to "finish" our school work. Conversations took place. Some to set and explain boundaries and guidelines. My son is a very black and white/schedule type of person, which can be a great thing. We set up a "schedule" which is more of an outline of what subjects he needs to work on each day. He works independently. Other conversations were about what he wanted out of this year of homeschooling. And others were about him needing to respect the atmosphere and attitude Celeste and I have with learning. 

I don't want to give the wrong impression. I do love having my son at home and most days are good. He is excellent at completing his school work. He is efficient and accurate. He is smart. What he lacks is excitement about learning. I would love to say that it is just a phase, but he has always been this way. 

What changed was me. Through the last 8 years of homeschooling, I have tried to make learning interesting. My oldest daughter enjoyed many aspects of homeschooling too, but in spurts. It was usually the "extra projects" we did that got her excited about learning, like the Iditarod, Journey North Mystery Class, or a unit study on piratesCeleste is the one that really "bought" into that idea and it was amazing to witness the difference. Every day opens a opportunity to learn something. She is excited about science, math, literature, and even learning about spelling. 

Each homeschool year is different, truly. 

Each year brings new discoveries and challenges for everyone involved. It's difficult to "show" that at times via social media but that is life, a mix of experiences. 

I wanted to share this post to encourage other homeschoolers. Not every day is perfect, but with homeschooling I believe we can adjust as needed and learn from our challenges. We have more flexibility and also insight into our own children to make changes as needed or to keep going with what works. 

I will share in another post our curriculum choices for this year and my thoughts and reviews on each so far. 


  1. Great post. Love to see the evolution of making it work for different learning types.

    Sammy was with me when I opened the pirate lapbook link, and oh my - was he excited. He's a bit obsessed with Pirates right now. If you still have any of those books and are interested in selling - let me know. :)

  2. I was a lot like your son when I was being homeschooled in high school. I liked getting it done, and I had a very detailed schedule for doing so. I did love learning, though. I think I aspire to passing on a love of learning that's a bit more integrated, not so compartmentalized, if that makes sense. I don't want them to think this is "school" and that is "life" (and never the twain shall meet).

  3. I love this post! We are in our fifth year of schooling and as you say, it changes all of the time. I started with Classical schooling and it was 'okay', I love it, the boys didn't. I eventually gave into the fact that for my boys, it was as you say with your son something to get through and I realized that if the learning wasn't fun for them it wouldn't stick as well and our days would be a forever battle of schedule and stress (for me).

    Since then we still do a bit of Classical from time to time as we all love history and have some of the same books as you! I am thankful that we started with Classical as they are great with reading, grammar, spelling and math (so much better than me!).

    We have since moved to Waldorf and Unschooling - depending on the day and how we all feel. I do have to say that I envy from time to time those who can sit down with your kids and go through lessons. I myself loved workbooks as a child. I think the transition to a more unschooling approach has been a big challenge for me because I still have an idea that school is about subjects and ticking things off but it doesn't work my boys. Now I find I pay careful attention to what is on the table to strike their interest, what we do through the day that naturally incorporates learning, and what we watch and do outside.

    It's so wonderful when you come across another home educator who changes things as their children change, adjusting the learning and finding what works.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Alex.
    I can see so many changes in the kids since we started homeschooling and this year has seen a lot of trail and error for a new phase in our homeschool.
    It is nice to hear about how you are able to talk and do the best to try to meet the needs of each child and the way they learn. I love what you said about Celeste's love of learning.


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