Homeschooling can be fun for even just one! Getting started takes some effort and thought, but it is worth it in the end for the majority of families. Remember, it’s like eating brussel sprouts–you’ve heard how nasty those little cabbages taste, but when you finally try them, you find they aren’t so bad after all–especially broiled with olive oil and garlic salt. Then you wonder why you waited so long to try them. Below you’ll find a few tips toward taking those first tentative steps:
1. Check with your state’s Department of Education to get any forms necessary for reporting your intent to homeschool. You need only give basic information. This lets the district know your child is not truant and is getting the required hours of learning per year.
2. Determine your personal “why I am homeschooling”. This is based on each family’s values and situation. It is important because it will keep you moving forward should you hit a tough spot along the way. Tough spots happen, but are usually resolved by talking to other homeschooling families and by asking God for guidance. (James 1:5)
3. Make a list of your pros and cons. It is good to evaluate this before-hand so you can plan ahead to nix any potential mole hills before they become mountains. If your pros don’t outweigh your cons, it is best to wait to see if you can find necessary resolutions.
4. Set a date to evaluate your successes. The end of a semester (twelve weeks or so) is a good time to process your accomplishments. Make sure to give yourself and your children enough time to get settled into your new normal. Everyone is making the adjustment and it takes time to find that sweet spot. Don’t stop just as you are catching your stride.
5. Determine your personality type before selecting your curriculum. If you are the type that easily beats up on yourself, choose a structured curriculum. It makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks. You have to try really hard to go wrong with this type. They are good for “first-timers”. If you are the confidant type, you might thrive on choosing your own curriculum combining bits and pieces from several sources to accomplish your child’s grade level learning goals. I enjoyed A Beka Books. Bob Jones University and Sonlight are also good curricula.
6. Check your neighborhood for local homeschooling support groups. If you know ahead of time where to turn should you feel “fit to be tied”, then you will find a quicker resolution and the support needed to get back on track.
Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to work at your child’s pace. Struggling learners can fall back to regroup without peer pressure and advanced learners can forge ahead unhindered. There is an underlying excitement that stems from learning something new. Every little advancement, especially for those who struggle, is reason to celebrate. Confidence grows bringing an assurance into their lives. The student starts to see learning in a more pleasant light. They begin to see themselves in a new and positive light. You, their greatest encourager, are there to see them shine.
God tells us to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and speak to them about Him and His commandments. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21) Homeschooling offers a great opportunity.
What next steps will you choose to start an awesome homeschooling journey?