Are you googling homeschooling today? Have you been thinking about homeschooling for a while? Are you unsure if this is right for your child, your family, and you? Are you scared? Worried? Full of questions about how on earth this would work in your life?
Well, first let me say you’re not alone! We homeschool moms (and dads!) have all been through those similar emotions and lists of questions as we pondered whether this path was the right one for our children and our families. Some days, I still feel like I’m on the ‘just thinking’ train and have to re-convince myself to homeschool!
This will be our first ‘official’ year homeschooling in our home. My son will be starting Kindergarten this fall. I went through so many emotions and doubts leading up to our decisions. I started officially homeschooling a year ago for Pre-K, and haven’t looked back! Here are 5 steps that helped me get off the ‘just thinking’ train and onto the ‘We’re doing this’ one:
1. Shop for and BUY Curriculum
I think one of the most daunting things for me was wondering if I could give my child all he or she needed academically. Would I miss something? What if I taught something the wrong way? I was a teacher in public school for nearly 5 years and I have a Master’s degree in Education! I NEVER thought I’d doubt my ability. However, when it came to homeschooling, I had no direction. The homeschooling curriculum available now is awesome. Daily plans, state benchmarks, Bible memorization. After I ordered my curriculum, I already felt I had taken a step in the right direction. You may feel no need to go out and buy the fanciest books around, but for me, this helped me find a starting point.
2. Talk With Your Spouse
My spouse was the one that pushed ME into homeschooling, so you’d think that there wouldn’t be much of a conversation to have. However, I had some reservations that we needed to discuss. I knew that with several children under the age of 5, I would need a break to keep my sanity. How would we arrange that? Can we afford to buy the Cadillac of curriculum? Or do I need to get creative and garage sale it? I also wanted this to be a family affair. What subjects would my husband teach? When? What happens when chores or dinner take a back seat to school? These are just some of the questions and conversations we had and will continue to have over the years. If you are a single parent or even a grandparent, you may have your own list of questions or concerns. Write them down, address them with family.
3. Take it For a Test Drive
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that researching, shopping, talking, and THINKING can only get you so far. You can really wear yourself out by over-analyzing whether or not you should homeschool. I know I did. However, one day, I just opened the books and I started. Just. Do. It. You’d be amazed that you CAN do this. You’ll also be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy it. I know I was. When I stopped thinking, and starting doing, my perspective and confidence level totally changed.
4. Find a Co-Op
If you are worried about the dreaded ‘socialization’, the best advice I can give is to find a homeschooling Co-Op before you start homeschooling. A group of like minded or even not like minded parents who also homeschool their children. Take field trips with them. Email. Talk on the phone. Schedule play dates or study groups. Have a school day together where you integrate what everyone is learning. Doing this helped me feel less isolated, and again more confidant in our decision to keep our children home. There is more than likely a group of some sort in your area. However, if not, jump online and find an online support group so that you can see how other people schedule their days, handle errands, and what curriculum they are buying (or NOT buying!).
This may need to be #1 on your list, not #5. For me, it was a step that went along side each of the above strategies. I knew the Lord had planted a seed in my husband’s and my heart. A seed I NEVER thought would be planted. Homeschooling just wasn’t what I’d envisioned for our family. However, here it was staring me in the face. So, I prayed a lot. ”Lord, Is this the right decision?” ”Give me peace and confidence to do this.” “Bless us with others in the homeschooling community to help me feel less isolated.” ”Show me that public school is for us.” Etc. I kinda let God guide my feelings. I still do. Everyday.
I hope and pray that this may help you in your decision to homeschool!
Liz was a cheerleader swept off her feet by the football player back in high school. They’ve been married nearly eight years and are the proud parents to three young boys. She’d always envisioned working and sending her kiddos off to school so she could live the ‘normal’ American dream. However, life and the Lord surprised her and she’s learning to ‘redefine having it all’ while being a homeschooling housewife. She enjoys finding strength from God’s word, the Today show, talking on the phone with friends, and being real about finances and parenting. She’s blogging about homeschooling and much more over at The Hesitant Housewife.