I've gotten a lot of inquiries about homeschooling- how to start it, where to get curriculum, and how to make it all work. But mostly moms wondering, "Can I do this?"
We'e going to keep the kids at home next year. It seems the right move for our family not to send them to school yet! But I cannot imagine a world where I home schooled these kids all the way through high school!That made me smile. I think most homeschooling moms feel very tentative at first because they lack perspective. Unless mom was homeschooled herself, or knew some homeschoolers, she really doesn't quite know what she's getting into!
Yet two generations of women have successfully homeschooled their children to adulthood and so WE KNOW it can be done.
Here is a little experience and perspective that I would share with any new homeschooling mommy that asked me.
- This is HOME school. Emphasis on the home! So make that the center of this experience. Teach the kids to help you with the cooking and the cleaning and that will go a long way towards everyone feeling comfortable being in the house a lot of the time. Even a kindergartner can make sandwiches and sweep up a little mess. Consider housework part of their training time. And honestly, education goes a lot easier if the family feels peaceful in their space - and nothing brings peace like order. When they're little, I would try to work on that the most.
- Which doesn't mean that the home has to look like your trying to sell it with an open house scheduled for the weekend! A family lives there all the time. So it's okay to have spelling words taped to the wall, or a volcano sitting on the dining room table.
- The beauty of doing school at home is that you can concentrate on what your kids really need. So it's okay if you don't do science one year if your children are really fascinated with one period of history - or inversely if the children are fascinated with astronomy, make that the main focus and try to interweave some history into it.
- Concentrate on the two pillars - reading and math. The goal is to make your students independent learners. If they have the basics of reading and math down, then they can do lots of their school work independently - which gives mom a chance to work with other kids that need help, or on her own projects.
- Group classes- The most fun we ever had as a family in our homeschool time was doing literature, history and science classes together. Most of the fond memories my children gleaned was from sharing the good books we read, the history stories we learned and the science projects we worked on together.
- As the mom and main educator, your job isn't to be an expert in algebra, English literature and composition! Your job is to find the resources to teach those things for your student. That may be online, it may be curriculum, or it may be a co-op class. I've always found that when I needed a resource, I eventually found it.
- This year won't look like next year. And next year will be different from what schooling five years down the line will be. Things change, children mature, and their skills increase.
- Sending kids back to school is just exchanging one set of problems and difficulties for another.