If this is your first year homeschooling, you may be feeling excited about having made the choice but a little overwhelmed at the task and maybe a bit doubtful as to whether you can really do this. I know because last year was our first year homeschooling and that is how I felt.
It took me months to get past the “Did we make the right choice?” phase. I am no expert, but here are my suggestions:
- • If you have not done so yet, find a homeschool group. Check out yahoo groups for a group in your area. Check your church. Look for museums in your area and other educational type places (like your area Audobon) for homeschool days or homeschool classes and make plans to attend them. Meet other homeschool moms there, network. Make friends, for yourself and your child. Having a support system of people who are also in the trenches is vital.
- • Spend time getting to know about your child’s learning style. Learn about visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Read about Cathy Duffy’s outline for learning styles. Figure out which fits your child.
- • Spend time learning about what your child is interested in, what they want to know.
- • Spend time just cuddling and reading with your child. If they are older, just set some time aside to just read in the same room together.
- • Book a day to just relax and be with your child, after all, at least part of the reason why you are homeschooling is because you love them. Go on a nature hike together, go shopping together, make something together, whatever is in your hearts.
- • Provide a rich environment and have faith that they will learn. Leave books you think they may like lying around. Plan trips to museums and plays. Just don’t make yourself crazy trying to do EVERYTHING.
- • Pray. Pray for wisdom, peace, patience. Pray that you will have the right words to explain something to your child. Pray for focus.
In these first months it is so easy to get bogged down in trying to do everything right, trying to get everything done, trying to be SuperMom. And you know what? None of us are SuperMom, we all struggle to get the laundry done and wonder when we will find time to grocery shop.
Last year I spent HOURS reading blogs, days perusing curriculum. Everything sounded great and I bought so much stuff, more than we could EVER even hope to do! I was all over the place trying to do this and that and go here and there and worrying that I was not doing it right. I stayed awake at night worrying that my girls were not learning enough.Eventually at some point things just came into focus. I can’t say when or how or why, they just did. By the time I was ready to purchase our curriculum for this year, I knew what worked and what didn’t (we went through 5 different math programs with my older daughter last year!). I knew what areas my girls needed to focus on and what areas they wanted to focus on. I knew what school supplies we needed and which we would never use. I felt confident that while my girls may not be learning all of the same things they would be learning in school, they were learning A LOT.
Theresa Bond blogs at Our Life in Words and Three Thinking Mothers. She is a former teacher who is now a full time wife and mother. Theresa and her husband brought their girls home to learn last year, after 5 years in public school. Theresa works part time as an Assistant Children’s Librarian. She lives in New Jersey. She sees God at work in her life all the time and she enjoys sharing her many blessings with others.