We have been homeschooling for eleven years. Longer, if you count preschool. Our oldest is in 10th grade and our youngest is in 1st. We also have a 3rd, 5th, and 7th grader.
This is the first year I've felt like I've really "got it together," but I still have regular moments in which I feel completely inadequate. I hope that is encouraging to you if you are just starting out. It's not gonna happen perfectly overnight.
We started homeschooling because honestly, I wanted all the credit. Yeah, back then if you'd asked me I would have been all, "It's the best choice for our kids," but really I knew I could do it. Imagine my surprise when my kids were awful! And I was awful! We were all awful! I made lots of plans but nobody ever cared or so it seemed.
For a brief time, I wanted to put our oldest in public school, but only because then I could blame her poor behavior on the school and not take responsibility. I was angry all the time, and tired, and sad. (The anger, tiredness, and sadness wasn't necessarily because we were homeschooling.) I remember talking with an experienced homeschool mom about this and she said, "No matter how your kids are educated, whether homeschool or public or otherwise, you are accountable to God with how you raised them." That scared me, in a good way. Even though there were challenges, I knew my oldest in particular wouldn't thrive in school. I was afraid. We pushed on, adding more children.
We joined a co-op when our oldest was 10. I felt late to the party, but it was a good addition to our week. Still, we struggled to "get it all done." In my mind, nothing was good enough and I was always failing. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that I would do a million things for other people but not for myself. I was exhausted.
It turns out all I needed was a pandemic to fix the problems. Not really. We still have problems because we are all still people, and can frequently be awful. But I'm prioritizing my family and my health. We have a lot of "free time" in our day. Most evenings are free. The lists I make for the each kid actually get done, with little yelling and nagging from me.
This fall we've been able to do so many homeschool things I always wanted to do, but never had the time. Things like, mummifying a chicken! His name is King Cluck and he's happily mummified on a tray on my wine cabinet. We might make a pyramid in which to entomb him. We also dissected owl pellets! It was pretty gross. And we've been having good conversations about the election, understanding the processes, and generally spending a lot of time together as a family.
It's been the best homeschool year yet.