Adding a child to the homeschooling mix can seem a bit overwhelming. Having a newborn or a toddler is a piece of cake compared to the day you wake up and realize that your little one is ready to “start school.” Of course you’ve been working on their numbers and letters and the older ones having been reading them books, but when you start purchasing curriculum, it becomes official.

The moment I started telling people my daughter was joining our homeschooling day, I secretly said to myself, “how am I going to pull this off?” I would stress and wonder if she would receive the same attention that the boys did. Would I be able to provide for her everything I gave my sons at that age?

The answer, quite frankly, was no. And I am okay with that.

You see, she doesn’t need what they had because she has it better. When I started, I was just learning. Sure I pulled out all the stops and had my first son reading at the age of four and writing in cursive by the age of five but is that what really matters? Now that I am starting to school number three, I realize this isn’t a contest. It’s not a game to see whose homeschooled kid is the brightest. This is real life.

My daughter can now jump on board and be a part of an established structure that wasn’t there when I began. There is a learning curve with homeschooling. And just like other areas of parenting, it gets easier once you’ve gone through a trial or two with the older ones. You learn, you change course, and you find out what works for you and your family.

I don’t spend the same amount of time with my daughter as I did with child number one but the time I do spend with her is time well spent. I look back over the last year and laugh. She learned to read while I was couch-riden. Half the year I was sick as a dog with morning sickness. I felt useless but used that time to snuggle up with my daughter on the couch and teach her short vowel sounds. From there she learned basic three letter words which was a springboard for her love for reading. Now, she can’t wait for her reading time each day and is growing by leaps and bounds. I laugh because when I taught my first son how to read, it was structured and by the book. I had each lesson planned out and didn’t miss a beat. My, how things have changed!

The fact that my daughter is right there, a part of science and history with the older boys, is a huge benefit for her. She is learning so much more than the boys did at her age! She surprises me with the facts she remembers sometimes. She sits in on their classes and while they are writing paragraphs she is drawing pictures and absorbing the information right along with them. It is an awesome opportunity for her. And to think, in a few short years the little guy crawling around our homeschool room will be ready to join in and learn from his older siblings as well!