Are you thinking about homeschooling?
It was a very long time ago that I was in your shoes. It was the 1980s and homeschooling was still unusual and quirky. However, when I met homeschooling families, I was so impressed by what I saw in the children's manners, character, and ability to think and communicate. They were impressive!
If you are thinking of homeschooling, I would talk to some families that homeschool and love it! Find out why they enjoy educating their children at home.
In addition, you and your spouse should talk to one another and the Lord about the possibility of homeschooling. This is a big decision--make it together.
Once you decide homeschooling is for you, here's some advice on how to get started.
Discover Your State's Homeschool Laws
Look up your state's homeschool laws. Your Aunt Matilda will want to know if it's legal. It is.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a page with all the state laws in the United States of America. They keep information updated, too. Visit there page here.
Most state laws are quite simple. You can always homeschool under an umbrella school if you don't like the state laws or want to avoid registering with the state, if required.
Renew Your Mind about Education
Homeschooling is a lifestyle of wonder and curiosity. Learning is not restricted to "school hours" because there is always something to discover in the world around us.
While traditional school hours are filled with busywork, homeschooling families are not restricted to traditional methods of education. Families can explore a number of options. Unit Studies, classical, notebooking, living books, Charlotte Mason, video courses, online, or workbooks all work effectively. I think each one is exciting to investigate. I can never decide which I like best, though I lean towards units and living books. I have used a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Before I started homeschooling, I read books on homeschooling, talked to several homeschool moms with various philosophies, and poured over homeschool catalogs and magazines.
Explore Homeschooling Methods
I encourage you to investigate several methods of educating children at home before you purchase curriculum. Each method has its own philosophy behind it. Have you ever thought about what you believe about education? Reading up a little on different homeschooling philosophies might start you thinking about what you want to accomplish long-term by educating your children at home.
My goal is to equip my children for whatever the Lord has called them to be and do. The Bible is a foundational part of my homeschooling and I often purchase Christian curriculum. That is one thing I love about homeschooling.
Prepare Your Children for the Adventure
Talk to your children about homeschooling and have them meet other homeschoolers, or at least show them families online that homeschool.
As them what they want to learn about, discover, explore, and read. Their answers might surprise you.
When you educate children at home, you will need them to listen and respond to you respectfully. If your children has problems in this area, I would put a lot of effort into those relationships. Love them, win their hearts, and require good behavior. Whatever time and effort it takes, it is worth it because this will make a huge difference in your homeschooling adventure.
Establish a Homeschool Budget
You can homeschool on a shoestring budget, but you will have to spend some money. Find out how much money you can spend.
Don't spend your money right away. Wait until you determine what you need and what you will purchase. Look for sales and bargains. Also, you can get used curriculum, too.
Determine Your Teaching Style/ Your Children's Learning Styles
I love the idea of math manipulatives, but truthfully, I would probably never pull them out. However, I love to read aloud to me children. We have logged many hours snuggled on the couch enjoying a well-written classic.
How about you? How to you enjoy teaching others? Do you like to ask questions and discuss things? Do you like to watch a video together? Or do you like to read books to learn information. What about your children? How do they learn best?
Now, don't panic if you can't answer these questions. Over time, you will discover more and more abut your children and yourself.
As a young homeschool mom, I loved to attend curriculum fairs and the vendor hall of a homeschool convention. It is so fun to see all the different curriculum available. I would make a list of everything I wanted to purchase and pray over the list for awhile.
It is easy to be impulsive when purchasing curriculum. If you have a budget, don't overspend. God is capable of providing within your budget. I have even had people give me beautiful books for free!
Build Friendships with Other Homeschool Families
One of the greatest blessings in my life have been my friendships over the years with other homeschooling families. I love hanging out with them! I have also grown so much from rubbing shoulders with moms who are a few years ahead of me in experience. Their wisdom has inspired and encouraged me.
Not only friendship, but co-oping, or schooling together, with other homeschooling families has been such fun. My friend Laura and I taught history together for over a decade one day a week. I have also been part of different weekly co-ops. I try to limit outside activities to once a week.
Homeschool Support Groups can be a great source of encouragement, too.
I wish you the best as you undertake this new adventure. I have a wonderful book covering all the basics of homeschooling, as well a chapter each devoted to how to teach each subject with curriculum suggestions. In Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, I talk about learning styles, teaching styles, educational philosophies, choosing curriculum, making lesson plans, management, scheduling, field trips, family ministry, and the seven R's. You can purchase Joyful and Successful Homeschooling at Amazon. The E-book is available at PayHip or Currclick.
God Bless you and your new adventure!