When people find out I homeschool I get two distinct reactions, and they usually come from the same people.
- Wow, that’s great!
- Even so, I could never do that.
The reasons I get are varied, but I rarely hear the old standby: “what about socialization?”
Parents can be their children’s teachers. I’m the perfect example.
- I have little to no patience (I’m working on it), but I put one foot in front of the other each day and I have just enough patience each day.
- I do not have a teaching degree, but there’s so much help out there that if I’m not strong in a subject I can get help (and at the elementary level that Reagan is at this hasn’t been a problem).
- We’re not rich, but I find bargains for curriculum and other ways to get things for free.
- I have to have “me” time everyday, and I still manage to have that, even with spending so much time with my children.
I’m writing this post, not to chastise those who truly don’t feel they can homeschool. I’m writing this post to encourage those who are thinking about it or may be on the fence. You can do it!
So, here is my Friday 13 for this week:
FRIDAY 13: 13 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN THINKING ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
- Keep an open mind. Weigh the benefits of homeschooling with the risks that may be involved. I could write on and on about the benefits. If you’re thinking about homeschooling then I’m sure you’ve considered those. Seriously take a look though at the “risks”. Can your family subsist on one income? (That answer can be yes). Will you be dedicated to teaching your child in the best way for him/her (and that’s easy to figure out)? Can you be flexible enough to give yourself a break (don’t be hard on yourself)?
- Pray about it. Seriously. Ask God what His will is for your family. If you get the idea that He’s for it, then by all means, go for it!
- Research your options. There are so many different ways to homeschool. From the stricter Classical method (to which we try to adhere) to unschooling. There are video courses, online courses, mixing curriculum, making up your own curriculum, 9 month schooling, year round schooling. So many different options. You’re not locked into anything. And if you try something and it doesn’t work for your family you can change directions.
- Know state rules. The Home School Legal Defense Association is a great place to start. HSLDA lists state regulations so you know what you’re required to do as a parent (and what you’re not obligated to do).
- Ask for help. Ask other parents who are currently homeschooling. Pick their brains about any and every question you have. We love these chat sessions. If you decide to take the plunge seek encouragement. The first few months or first year can (will) be tough. Seek out that encouragement. And don’t be hard on yourself.
- Curriculum Fairs. Go to them. Ask other homeschoolers if they know of any coming to town. Do a little google research and you’re certain to find a couple. Curriculum fairs are the best way to get a good look at tons of curriculum at once. It’s a lot easier to decide if a program will work for your family if you can flip through the books. Often you get curriculum discounts if you buy at the fair.
- Buy curriculum early. Many companies offer discounts for buying early. Alpha Omega has a 20% off sale in early spring. MUCH cheaper than waiting until later in the summer. If you’ve missed these sales don’t forget to search websites like ebay, half.com and amazon for curriculum deals. There are tons of curriculum sites on the web as well.
- Sign up. There are plenty of homeschooling organizations you can join. HSLDA, state and local organizations, website groups (CafeMom has some great ones to join), there are lots of organizations that are geared towards helping you be a successful homeschooler.
- Co-ops. Seek out and join co-ops or get together with other homeschooling families. If you have trouble teaching a certain subject (calculus? chemistry?) there’s bound to be someone in your area who is competent. Co-ops are great for pooling resources and also a good source of “socialization”. In some subjects, like drama, there is strength in numbers. Online co-ops can be a great help as well. Homeschool Buyers Co-op gets their members deals on curriculum by buying in bulk.
- Prepare your child. If you make the decision to homeschool make sure you talk to your children extensively about what is going to happen. Let them know what you expect of them as a child and what they can expect of you as a teacher. Let them know that this is a big experiment and there are likely to be changes along the way. By all means, be excited (both you and your spouse). The enthusiasm will catch.
- Prepare others for your decision. Other people will be affected by your decision to homeschool. Family and friends may not understand your decision at first. Boundaries may need to be set as to when people can call on you by phone or visitation. Be prepared to answer questions positively. You’ve done your research, you know the benefits!
- Set up your homeschool space. Or not. Many families have one room that they have designated their “school room”. That doesn’t work for us. We’ll “do school” in the dining room for a month or so and then switch to the living room. We’ve done school in the kitchen and in the bedroom when it suited us. Be flexible. Work with your house, your family’s needs, etc. And it doesn’t take a lot of money to get a room set up. All you need, really, is the curriculum. A white board is the next thing I’d suggest. A table would be good if you don’t want your child doing school on the floor. See? That’s easy!
- Internet help. Never forget that you have the world at your fingertips. Do research online. Find curriculum online. Find help online. Find immediate answers to your children’s questions online. How did people homeschool before the internet? Use it!
Intrigued? Do you have questions about homeschooling? Ask me! I’ll be happy to answer them.