Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blog Cruise: Considering or Beginning Homeschooling~I Say, WHAT?

Question:  What advice do you have for those considering homeschooling or just starting out?

The question of homeschooling is a large one when we are just getting started in our journey.  There can be so many reasons to homeschool.  Reasons include:
  • A desire to train up our children at home with our family's personal values.
  • A desire to avoid the negative impact of the public school system.
  • To be available to individually help a struggling learner.
  • To raise up God-like Christian children for Christ.

  • To help take care of special physical, emotional or psychological needs our children may have that make public school days more difficult.
  • To further avoid a disagreement over many things concerning our child with the teacher, principal or board of education.
  • Or any other reason or combination of reasons!
You may find you have one  or more of these as your reasons or none of them.  The longer I homeschool the more convinced I am that I hold quite a few reasons and they seem to have expanded through the years.  While our reasons matters to us, in the process of homeschooling, it really won't matter why we are doing it.    Most important is the how.

Just HOW are we going to GET this job done?

I began thinking of our past nine years, and how fast they have flown by.  FLOWN like a jet engine going at warp speed like something from Star Trek to where today,  I have literally young adults: one with a job~granted, it's her first summer job, and a young man that everyday looks more and more grown up!

It does go by too quickly, but I suggest that aside from all the tech/organizational things you will want to do~and do them, you must, but

FIRST, after you've decided to go ahead and homeschool,  get on your knees and pray.  Ask God for the wisdom, love and patience to make learning fun and to seal your family unit tight and strong in Christ.  

When we give our children back to God for His purposes, we have made a convenant with Him to do what He will do in their lives.  This is the most, MOST important first step for a parent with children.

THEN I'd consider things like how old they are and what they need to know.

Get organized using a good planner (The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a very good one! HERE) and great tools like curriculum.

Contact your local homeschool group~you may have to hunt for them as many groups fly under the radar, but in almost every area, they do exist.  Get up with those people and ask some questions.  What are they doing? Is it something you can participate in with your child? Do you already know a homeschool family? What a great resource you have in them! Make yourself a list and ask them the questions too!

Find out your homeschooling laws~You can do this by checking out the Homeschool Legal Defense site and click on their map for your area. You may be able to find that co-op listing by looking for national, state and LOCAL supports as well.

Once you're done your homework, then decide on curriculum and how much or how little you can spend for it. Shop around as there are some great resources for low cost curriculum.  Check out my buttons for the FREE stuff AND also the age graded materials. You'd be surprised how much is FREE online today for homeschooling!

When mine were littles, I started in boxed curriculum.  Don't think I'm putting it down either because today, we don't use this kind, but remember that NOT ONLY are the kiddos learning by books we learn by  doing too! Oh my! If I could tell you ALL that has been stuffed into this poor pea-sized brain of mine because of the information I've taught them that I HAD TO KNOW FIRST!! LOL...

Since you have decided to jump onto the band-wagon, I want to offer some TIPS to really make your homeschooling special...This isn't the nuts and bolts kinds of advice designed to take you into planning and use of curriculum with your child, but rather some sweet and loving ideas that have made homeschooling a wonderful place to raise a child~

  • Have fun. (Don't model after the school.  This is HOMEschooling!)
  • School in pjs and don't let anyone stop you! (WHY not sometimes? Not all the time...or maybe...LOL)
  • Snuggle up with good books and read ALL the time aloud to each other!  Getting close and staying this way for littles...soo sweet! They will want to be more "grown up" in time, but do it while you can~this fosters love and closeness!  Do you have afghans or blankies~pull them out for this sweet time!
  • Put NO energy into a schoolroom, but focus the home. (BEEN there, done that!) If you have a room to organize and focus schooling supplies, great! But otherwise I'd make the home the castle of the family!
  • RUN from a school room model, schooling on the couch, recliner, floor, kitchen table, outside, at the park, zoo or anywhere else besides a stuffy "classroom" no matter how brightly colored or decorated!
  • Weekly trips to the library.  READ and read some more!
  • Weekly trips to a homeschool co-op. Foster friendships with people who think like you do: LOVE God and their families!
  • At least once a month head somewhere INTERESTING for a field trip.  LOOK in your own area for low cost or free stuff to do, but always find somewhere to go to learn about another place! Live the Adventure  has a  nice BIG list to get you started with ideas!!
  • Train up children to know God and to have faith and family values. Don't leave the religious education to the church~it's a couple of hours a week! TEACH THEM to know God, loving and serving Him!
  • Teach as well as able, making your school time a priority and continue to grow as a teacher but know that we, parents are learning RIGHT along with the kids!
  • Take lots of pictures because the time will fly by, and they're great for remembering...
  • Above ALL bathe your home and children in prayer constantly~walking in God's love and light! With His presence and guidance, homeschooling will be the BEST it can ever be in our lives!
Remember the why is not as important as the HOW and once you're make the decision to homeschool, it's PRAYER first then these other things that will establish a wonderful education for your family!


Julie Coney said...

Great advice.... reading is so important! so is the realization for a new homeschooler that school is EVERYWHERE.... and the couch qualifies!

Our Village is a Little Different said...

That's a whole lot of great advice. Thanks. I loved it, and I'm already homeschooling!

Vickie said...

Great advice and I appreciate having the links to different resources available and I'm on my 9th year as well :)

God's Blessings

Jodi said...

We school in PJs too sometimes, especially in the winter - that's the beauty of homeschooling. Great advice! Thanks for participating in the Blog Cruise this week!