“What advice do you have for those considering homeschooling or just starting out?”
My main advice would be
Just Do It.
Trust yourself. Trust your instincts as a parent. Pray and ask your spouse for their opinions and support.
Enjoy being with your children. Trust that you know what is best for your child. Research what the best is for your particular child. You have already been teaching your child since they were born.
Remember that you are specially equipped to want to provide what is best for your children.
Learn as you go–this is pretty much how you parent, right? Love your children and listen to who they are.
Research, research, research what is best for your family.
- Go online and find out what the law is for homeschooling in your state. Find and join your state’s homeschool association and Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). If you cannot afford to join these you can still gather much information through the sites.
- Go to some of the big websites and read what others are doing. Find a simple curriculum to use for your first year while you figure out all the details. Choices for this really depend on the ages of your children.
Whole Heart Online–Their book, Educating the Wholehearted Child is a particular favorite of mine. This book really helped me push aside all my organizational plans and goals and sit and consider what emotional and spiritual needs my kids have…
- Go to your local library and ask about support groups in your area. Find and check out their books on homeschooling. Skim them.
- Find a local homeschool and/or teacher supply store. Browse the aisles.
- Don’t be intimidated by all the varied curricula and ideas out there–just soak up all the ideas you can. Start jotting down the things that appeal to you.
- Think about your learning styles and your kids learning styles. This will help you narrow down your choices when choosing a curriculum. I have one kid who learns by listening–audiobooks delight him. I hate audiobooks…but I have learned to value them because they work for him. On the other hand, this kid might love unschooling by nature, but I am not comfortable being that laid back. We had to find a happy medium.
Realize some days will be difficult–but difficult compared to what, I suppose. I mean, you will be home with your kids. You cannot just put them on the schoolbus and wave…some days that will look attractive.
But, on the other hand, you can all roll out of bed at 8 and get to school by 8:30. You can read to your children while you drink your morning coffee–not be stuck in the car pool lane. You can have a good time with your children.
I am teaching my son Geometry (ha, not me, actually, ALEKS for that one) and we are reading the Iliad, Ivanhoe….Beowulf. We are learning History with Mystery of History–what a fun textbook–and not hard to teach. (most of our history and literature, geography… is all through Illuminations by Bright Ideas Press
When I began homeschooling I was scared it would be too hard–that I might fail my children…but, in some of the areas I was lacking knowledge, like geocaching to cave exploration to music…God really provided opportunities and curriculum for my children.
Today, when I look through some of our photos from this year of homeschooling, I do not feel overwhelmed or sorry about ANY of my choices.
NOTE: I did not ever consider homeschooling until I had watched one of my children go through years of difficulty in public schools. And, when I began to homeschool, I did it because I felt that it was the right thing for my child, and that to be a good parent, homeschooling was something I needed to try.
So, I share that bit of background so you know kind of “where I am coming from” I am not an expert, but I do have 5 kids and have experienced the public school system and homeschooling. Now that I have been homeschooling for a few years, I can look back and carefully consider what I think of homeschooling.
Overall, I think it is a fantastic option.
You can visit my homeschooling page for some more homeschooling thoughts, reviews and links.