My name is Sam. I am happily married to my high school sweetheart Rick, and mom to six children, ages 13-3. This will be our third year homeschooling. I felt convicted to homeschool before then, but fought it. I wanted to keep a spotless house and quiet time. The Lord had other plans, and we brought our children home to learn. I am very happy that this is our path, and wish I had done it sooner. I am trying to keep my OCD at bay while I have the privilege of educating these wonderful gifts.
I will be posting about homeschooling multiple children, organization, homeschooling methods, planning, homeschooling and faith, and fighting with, or using to my advantage- perfectionism.
This first post is for those just getting on the homeschool track. What do you do first? There are so many decisions to be made!
Our first year I poured over books, magazines, and blogs for months before we started, to make sure that I got it right. I ignored some of the best advice I found however, which I should have clung to. Learning from my own mistakes, I would like to share with you five things you should not do when starting to homeschool.
Shop for books first.
It isn't all about the curriculum. I repeat- It isn't all about the curriculum!
Don't get me wrong, good curriculum is important, but it is not the first thing you should do when deciding to homeschool.
You first need to decide what you value most about educating at home, and then look into learning styles, and also what kind of educating method you think most fits your family. When you look at the styles, one will jump out at you. You may combine several, like me. Don't laugh- my new definition for our learning is "Eclectically Biblical with a splash of Classical Charlotte Mason".
Try to mimic public education.
There is a reason that you are home educating your children! Whether it is religious conviction, less than stellar school district, or anything in between- you have them home for a reason. Find your state regulations, and then spend some time deciding what you want your home education to feel like.
Think you have to teach every subject, everyday.
You don't! I was stuck in the rut of following the public school example, and I burnt all of us out pretty quickly. Some subjects lend themselves to less rigorous schedules, or you could spend more time on a topic by supplementing lots of living books, hands on activities, and videos. I finally understand, two years in, that our family learns more this way.
School for 8 hours at a desk.
Homeschool just doesn't work like that. I don't have 32 children to teach, classrooms to switch out, or long hallways to transport. Learning happens all day long, and "school" can be anywhere you are. Our fondest memories of home education are no where near our school desk! The togetherness of family, off on an adventure, means so much more.
Buy everything you see advertised through the year.
When you search the methods, and formulate a plan (prayer included for us), you should then buy your curriculum. If it is working for you, DO NOT BUY anything else. You will be tempted by the promise of the "best" science or writing curriculum. How else do companies sell curriculum? Of course theirs is "the best."
If it isn't working-don't be afraid to drop it-many will tell you to give it a long try, but I say you know you and your kids. If it isn't working, lose it. If it is working run from every email, flyer, or conversation that makes you run to an order form.
If you truly think that the curriculum would be a good match-write it down in a homeschool ideas notebook. Then, later in the year, if you realize your current curriculum isn't working, you can come back to it. You can also use this list for purchasing your next year of curriculum.
Take a deep breath and get planning. You can do this!