Have you experienced your decision to homeschool to be a major change in your life? I want to share with you a short, but powerful explanation of the phases you may go through when you are going on this journey. I learned this while I was overseas on the mission field. I worked with the Mercy Ships in Africa and jumped in wherever I was needed. For a while, I helped in the medical department as a secretary. In that role, I would speak to our medical volunteers when they first arrived to the ship, as well as when they were getting ready to leave the ship. We would talk about the Four H’s and I found that this illustration applies to many scenarios in life. Of course it varies with each person and circumstance, but I believe it is a pattern I have seen throughout the years.
Homeschoolers Meet the Four H’s
Congratulations! You have overcome the most difficult hurdle in homeschooling, and that is going against the common view that children should be in school. Maybe you have support of friends and family, which is very helpful indeed! If you don’t, I assure you that you can still navigate this exciting world of homeschooling. As with almost any change in life, don’t be surprised if you follow the Four H’s.
The 1st H is the “Honeymoon” phase. You are so excited to start this amazing endeavor. Life is going to be wonderful and perfect. You get to be with your kids through all of their discoveries and you don’t have to deal with the problems that many encounter in a public setting. It is so exciting you can’t wait to get started…but then…things aren’t perfect after all which can lead to the next phase…
The 2nd H is the “Hate” phase. You wonder, “What in the world have I done?!? What was I thinking? What curriculum should I use? Why are we having struggles?” This phase can last a short time, or it can last throughout the school year. Some folks decide homeschooling is not for them and others seek out veteran homeschool families to help them along in their journey. If you can make it through this phase you will head to the third phase….
The 3rd H is the “Humor” phase. This is where you know of all the challenges you encounter when homeschooling, but you can take them less seriously and maybe can even laugh at them. You are starting to see the beauty of homeschooling through all the warts and wrinkles. You are very aware that everything is not perfect, but you are seeing growth and improvement in your kids. When you get to this point you head into the fourth phase….
The 4th H is the “Home” phase. This is where you are convinced that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to homeschool. Sure, there are challenges, but they are worth it and you wouldn’t have it any other way. You come alongside new homeschoolers and offer them a shoulder to cry on and hope for the future. You advocate for homeschooling with friends and family and are so grateful for all the amazing folks who have paved the way for you to be able to homeschool. HOME is such a nice place to be…but don’t forget, life moves on and changes are coming as you launch your children into adulthood. You may find yourself cycling through the Four H’s once again!
Sometimes you go through the Four H’s very quickly and sometimes you arrive at the fourth H after several years of struggle.
I want to encourage all homeschoolers. You may go through the Four H’s multiple times as you struggle and as you find victories. It’s a continual discovery process. Sometimes you will find a curriculum solution only to later discover that it won’t work a year later. Trust your instincts and give yourself the flexibility to always look for continual improvement in your homeschooling methods.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to share this memory work curriculum at an affordable price because it allows parents to give it a try without breaking the bank. I have discovered that because my children have worked on their memory work skills, they are capable of more than I thought possible. The added benefit is they are more interested in their classes as they get older. Things make sense because they have been introduced to the concepts before.
In my homeschool, I strive to be in the Home phase. Life has a way of making us needing to make changes, but seasoned homeschool parents can identify what is helpful for their family and what is not. I pray that your family will identify where among the Four H’s you find yourselves. I hope you can evaluate and find solutions for problem areas that you have.
How do the Four H’s apply in your circumstances?
Nice article – what made you decide to homeschool?
Honestly, I never had ANY intention of homeschooling. I had a child who was struggling in preschool and found the concept of school overwhelming and draining. I read a book written by two medical doctors who gave a year by year, what-to-expect, run down all the way up to the 12th grade. The authors were NOT advocating homeschool, but through their explanation of children who experience differing kinds of anxiety or trouble, I could see that homeschooling would be more helpful for our family.
Now that I have been homeschooling for 7 years, I am so grateful for the opportunity and privilege to participate in my children’s lives in this way. I learn new things all the time, and I do not have all the answers, but I feel like I have been able to participate in a great secret. Children are incredible and learn in many different ways, and if they know how to learn, there is nothing you can do that will hold them back.
I do have a brief post about this topic: https://www.crossseven.org/about/
I have to use humor in everything just to stay sane. 🙂
Beth, I agree with you!
I also have to remind myself to look at the big picture.
I can see how the 4 Hs can apply to many, many things in life. It’s just a natural progression of any new adjustment.
I’ve been working at online charter schools for the past 5 1/2 years so I’m pretty familiar with the concept of homeschooling. However, now that my daughter is 3 and I realize that kindergarten is not that far off on the horizon, I’m starting to give real thought to the idea of possibly homeschooling her. Eek, how do our kids get so old so fast!
I know what you mean! I have a 6th grader and I feel like she should just be going into Kindergarten. That is one reason why I enjoy homeschooling. I feel like I am able to experience more with my kids! I get to be their cheerleader when they are learning new concepts. I have heard many moms who homeschool say the days are long, but the years are short.
My children are very shy and both suffer with Social Anxiety to some degree so I feel that regular school is in their best interest, however I have considered Homeschooling and love to read up on other’s experience in case I decide to go that route.
thanks for sharing!
I had no intention of homeschooling but I fell into it naturally. I am grateful for the opportunity to do this as I have seen them grow so much as individuals. I haven’t had to deal with the many negative social influences that many school children face this day. I really believe my quiet child would have suffered immensely had I put her into school. She is now a kind and caring pre-teen. She enjoys acting on the stage and has a lot of confidence. I am so grateful that I have been able to see her bloom into the person she was created to be.
I was a homeschool mom for a number of years. This is the first year I sent my boys to school. I’m so thankful I had the time to invest in them during the early years of their education. I definitely suggest people give it a try for at least a year or two. Your child will definitely benefit from the one on one time you give them.
I agree with you!
Before I got to the end of your post, I was totally thinking about how those 4 H’s were what I have been experiencing just this week with my blog! And then you suggested it… too true! Honeymoon phase was last week… then I made the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and let me tell you… HATE phase!!! Now I’m starting to get in the humor phase, and will hopefully make it to the home phase sooner rather than later! Thanks for putting words to what I had been feeling this week!
I am thrilled you were able to find this pattern in your circumstance. It helps me stick to things that are challenging when I can take a step back and view whatever I am going through with this progression of feelings.
My sister homeschools her 7 children, and I’ve always admired her ability to stick with it. She’s great at it, but I’m pretty sure she has to keep one foot firmly planted in the humor phase! 😉
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated at times, but there is always hope. Being a parent is tough and I know I spend too much time worrying. I am grateful to be able to homeschool and I am grateful that my kids naturally find humor in things. Even when we are working on a difficult writing assignment, we take a step back and read what was really written with the punctuation. Many times, the meaning is completely changed by just putting a comma in the wrong place. It can make the story funny!
Haha! I don’t homeschool, but have so many friends who do and I’ve seen them go through these stages! So true!! 🙂 And as far as starting a blog with those same ideas . . . absolutely. I think I’m finally to the home stage, but it took a while to get there!
I am so glad you are at the home phase in your blogging. I am enjoying myself with this new world of blogging, but I know that I have not arrived yet!
Ad astra per aspera!
I homes chooled, taught in a home school coop and taught a home school type format in a Christian school and then went back for my last two years to regular home school. It was never my intention to home school, but they needed it (15 kids, 13 whom were special needs adopted). Your four “H’s” applied to our adoptions too. The honeymoon phase didn’t last long, let me tell you!
You sound like an incredible person. Bless you for your many sacrifices and your courage. Your willingness to step outside of your own comforts is an inspiration to me.
This post is great! I think I use the “four H’s” daily. I use them to describe from the time I wake up, until I get to bed! I could even use each of these 4 to describe my 4 girls! Two teens and two toddlers!
Thanks for your encouragement, Amy!
Wow, great advice. Something to really think about. I think marriage is very important. If that’s not working right then your family will struggle. Thanks for the insight 🙂
Thanks for your kind words, Shannon!
I was home-schooled from preschool through graduation. It was more like a homeschooling group through my Church so we regularly met with other children our age. I’m always so happy to see others home-school. It was so unpopular back in the 90s and early 2000s (I graduated in ’04) that my parents had to deal with so much criticism, and this was even before social media. I plan to home-school my children in the future and hope they still have homeschooling groups or networks like they did when I was growing up.
Thanks for the encouraging words! I am grateful to families like your who were the “pioneers” in this type of schooling. I owe your folks many thanks for paying the price. It does seem more enjoyable to homeschool now. There are so many options and it is more acceptable than it was when your folks were so bravely schooling you.
Blessings to you!
Great read. I do not homeschool but enjoyed the article!
Thanks for the kind words!
My friend is preparing to home school next year. I can see how the 4Hs apply. I’m going to pass this link along to her!
Thank you for passing on the link!
I use humor to get through the day sometimes. Being a stay at home mom can be hard I could not imagine homeschooling as well. I need a break away from my child. That sounds horrible but it is true. We tend to drive each other crazy.
We all have our moments for sure! Blessings to you as continue on in your labor of love.
Since I don’t homeschool my children, I think the 4 H’s apply to me the most as a blogger. It was really exciting to start blogging, then then there are days that are hard. I do have to laugh at myself and things I do regularly. But I’m thankful that I can blog from home. Thanks for the article.
Thank you for your kind words, Lisa.
This is a perfect description of the stages of homeschooling. I have a SIL that just started and I just want to pull her through to the end stage, but know she has to find her own way. I think I go through these stages with my blogs over and over and over again 🙂
I pray your SIL can find peace in the storm. Honestly, I never worried so much as when I had kids. Am I doing enough? Are they OK? I have to put my trust in Christ, as I truly believe He has helped me the whole way.
This is such a great post! As someone who is planning to start homeschooling my son later on this year, I will definitely keep this post in mind and come back to it!
I pray you find much success as you take on this endeavor! I think it is the toughest job you’ll ever love!
Amen! This should be handed out to anyone going through a life change. It’s always good to remember that this moments emotions will pass . . . guaranteed.
Thank you, Deb!
We just started homeschooling this year (my oldest is in Grade 1) and I think we went through these phases pretty quickly. The first two weeks were “honeymoon.” Then we alternated between Hate and Humour, but more Humour than Hate. I think now we’re into the Home phase. It really feels good. I’m enjoying it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
I never thought I would homeschool, but now I am so grateful I do. I feel like I have been let in on a great big secret. Children can thrive at home and they are capable of more than we think.
I think the four H’s can be used in almost any “life” or “relationship” situation!! 😉 It’s all about the ride! 🙂
I wanted to homeschool my son for middle school, but my husband wanted to try him out and see how he did at school first before doing that. My son is actually doing well, made straight As the first marking period and just made A/B honor roll so for now he will stay in school, but the option of homeschooling is still on the table. Thanks for the article.
Congratulations on your son’s success!
There for sure are quite a few different areas these four h’s can be applied in life. It nice to arrive at the Home stage in all of the various areas. I feel like I went through those stages while I was in school. 🙂
I loved your post! I am in my 2nd year of homeschooling, and I love how you summed it all up with the 4 H’s. And I agree, this could relate to almost anything! Overall, I love homeschooling, I know I’ve been through the 4 H’s, and sometimes I might even bounce around! One thing I know for sure, I will never regret having that time with my kids. 🙂 As for my blog renovation? Yeah, I’m at Hate… what am I doing??? This too shall pass.
Thank you for your kind words. I find myself bouncing around too! Things change with each phase and so it feels like constant opportunities for refinement…and then, I know I sometimes let doubt creep in. I am grateful for the example so many others have set before us.
I pray for strength as you navigate the “Blog” waters. It’s always a dynamic environment, but at least it is never boring!
I homeschooled my youngest daughter from 3rd to 10th grade. She has turned out to be a wonderful young woman and is graduating from college this July. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything! It is all worth it when you get to the HOME phase.
I still have some time before we get to your level of experience. Your story helps me persevere and to take joy in the moment I am in. I pray I can find myself in similar circumstances that you find yourself in now. You inspire folks like myself.
I’m floating back and forth between the hate and the home feeling with my kids. I love homeschooling for the most part, but there are many challenges to it for sure. I wish I could go to just being the kids Mom. However, I could never justify sending them to our local schools.
There are so many emotions when it comes to raising kids! I have friends that have their children in many various types of schooling and I think they feel the same way you have described, even though they aren’t homeschool families. I think it’s the nature of being a parent.
“It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love!”
These 4 H’s definitely applied to starting a blog–or at least upgrading a free WordPress blog into a real website. It was so exciting yet so stressful. But I think I’m getting the hang of it.
Blessings to you on your blog!
I’m fairly certain every new thing I encounter has the four h’s. Right now it’s Podcasting. SHOOT ME NOW.
I know I make it more difficult than it needs to be, but man, it’s a lot to learn!
I hope to hit the HUMOR H very soon!
I don’t have children so I’m thinking about your question .. where do the 4 Hs apply to my circumstances? And I think it applies best to my new found health. I had been unwell for many years with IBS but last year I discovered the low-fodmap diet. This is a diet especially designed for people with IBS and it has given me back my life. So here’s my answer;
1. Honeymoon – feeling ecstatic to be healthy once again.
2. Hate – (though maybe that’s a little strong) The disappointement I faced at discovering many of the foods I loved were making me unwell.
3. Humour – Using humour in public situations to explain my dietary needs.
4. Home – Settling into my new diet and lifestyle. This is who I am.
Very thought provoking blog. Thank you.
I love your application! Congrats on discovering the special diet, which has improved your life!
Blessings to you!
Oh yeah this TOTALLY applies to so many things, especially blogging. I’m in between stages though, the humor and home stages. It’s such a give and take this blogging thing (of your time!).
I agree with you! This blogging thing presents opportunities and challenges and I hope to be able to keep all of my responsibilities properly balanced.
This is so true about so many things. Sometimes I go through the cycle several times on the same topic. I know I did with homeschool when we changed curriculum. Thanks for such a concise explanation.
Phyllis, thank you for your kind words!
I’m too scared to homeschool my children but your 4 he’s certainly apply to many aspects of life as well. Thank you for sharing.
If I can do it anyone can!
Sometimes I have thought I would like to home school, but my oldest, who is in kindergarten, is a little high strung, and I feel like he is better served by the school he is in. I feel like they have the resources to help him in a way I can’t. But hats off to you for tackling such a monumental task!
Thanks Trena! Blessings to you.
This is one of the best explanations of the cycle of emotions people go through with most new experiences. A new job, a new school, a life change… the list goes on.
Thank you Kelly! I learned it from folks who were a lot smarter than me!
When I was a kid my parents homeschooled me and my siblings. I really liked it and I felt that I learned better because I could learn at my own pace. If I have kids I would definitely homeschool them. My sister is homeschooling two of her kids and they really like it. Her son especially wanted to be homeschooled. Thanks for sharing this with us!
I love your story and I am amazed at how many people are homeschooling.
I think I am always going through the stages — it constantly changes!
My best friend is currently homeschooling her child via a telecommunications method which is now available in my state. Prior to this, I remember her frustrations with being her child’s teacher and trying to keep him focused on his school work. I’m going to share this site with her.
Thank you Elizabeth!
So true! My husband and I just bought our first home. I am still in the honeymoon phase but after so many late night trips to Lowes I find myself veering toward the “What have I done?!” Hate phase lol
Congrats on the new house! I hope it becomes home for you soon. I, unfortunately, have some things I’d like to do. It gets placed on the back burner.
Wow what a great way to look at things. I can’t wait to apply the 4 H’s to my life. Thanks for this great advice.
Thanks for the kind words, Melissa.