Twenty-seven years ago today, I sat on the couch in our living room watching the neighborhood children walk excitedly by on the way to their first day of kindergarten and I cried.

We had decided to homeschool our little guy and I was scared. Was I doing the right thing? Would my child be OK? Was I good enough? Smart enough? Organized enough? – to teach kindergarten. Homeschooling was so different. I didn’t know anyone else doing it.

When it's not back to school time for homeschoolers in Oregon!

Not Back to School

But I loved being with my children. And a book I read said they’d be better off if I didn’t push them into formal academics too soon. And, after all, it was only kindergarten!

And it turned out to be the best thing we could do for our family. We ended up homeschooling both our children through high school and we loved it – though there were days . . .

And I learned a few things over the years:

School desks and blackboards aren’t necessary for learning. We used them for a few years, but the kids preferred the dining room table and the couch as places to study.

Simplify everything you can. Combine teaching as much as possible. Have everyone study the same science topic or period of history together. I even had both students doing their spelling lessons together.

More is caught than taught. We’re providing role models for our children in everything we do.

I don’t have to know everything in order to teach. In fact, I can learn with my children – and what a great role model of lifelong learning.

Worldview matters. I didn’t even know I had a worldview when I started homeschooling. In the course of homeschooling, I learned the importance of teaching every subject from a biblical perspective.

When it's not back to school time for homeschoolers in Oregon!

Spelling is hard work, part 1. I kept looking for the rules that would make sense of spelling English words. There aren’t any. Did you know “gough” spells “go”? At least that’s what my son figured out using phonics.

Spelling is hard work, part 2. We always want to shortcut learning – to make it easier to do. We’re basically lazy. But some things just take work. Memorizing and drilling weren’t fun, so we tended to not do them. I wish we had.

Spelling is hard work, part 3. Sometimes our students don’t “get it,” but they end up learning what they need when they’re older. The same son who couldn’t spell “go” now spells “tachycardia” with ease. He learned it as a paramedic when he needed it.

My children are eternal souls. As important as academics and preparing my children to be functioning adults is, it is far more important to prepare them for an eternity with God. If I don’t do that, it doesn’t matter how successful they are when they’re grown up.

This post was written by Dorothy Karman