The beginning of a new school year – it’s an exciting time for homeschoolers, especially those fairly new to our ranks! Welcome! You are probably all anticipation for your adventure to begin, or maybe you’ve already started. Whether you’ve been making your plans for a long time, or have just recently decided to make the leap, you are probably looking at this school year with a mix of emotions. Everything from eager excitement to nerves and jitters; and from idealistic confidence to worried self-doubt. We’ve all been there!
You will love homeschooling! But I’m not gonna lie – there will be days when it’s hard to find your motivation, mornings when that big yellow bus drives by and looks like a good option, and times when you are overwhelmed by the task you’ve taken on. There are so many options, and so many decisions you’re called upon to make, and so many different directions you could go… how do you choose? How can you be confident that you’re doing a good job? Let me encourage you with something I’ve learned that helps to stave off the second-guessing –
Knowing WHY you homeschool helps you figure out HOW to do it!
Think about WHY you made the decision to homeschool. Knowing why you do it will help guide your decisions about HOW to do it, and encourage you to stay the course on the days when you are tempted to throw in the towel. After all, you probably aren’t homeschooling because you want to recreate a school setting in your dining room, and using the same textbooks and methods the public school down the road uses. It’s more likely that you want a relaxed and nurturing environment where your child can learn at their own pace; and that you want your child surrounded by resources and influences that reflect and support your family’s values rather than be boxed in by some artificial standard or timeline.
If you homeschool because:
- you believe the family is the best setting for learning, and value the relationships: Prioritize the relationship over the workbook. When kids know they are loved and safe, they will learn. Look for ways to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company, and learn together.
- you want your child to have a customized education: Choose curriculum that suits their learning styles and abilities. Don’t feel you have to teach the same period of history or same branch of science ‘everyone else’ is doing. If your kid is gifted in some areas but struggles with others, customize their studies so they can work ahead and be challenged in their areas of interest and ability, while finding the best way to help them with the skills they need in math or in reading, or wherever their struggles lie.
- you want your kids to have the best education possible, and to become lifelong learners: Teach them how to learn, and provide them with tools and skills so they can learn about whatever they are interested in. Don’t be afraid of the subjects that you struggle with or that are beyond what you think you can teach (How will I ever teach Algebra? High school chemistry?) especially if high school is still several years away! You can be a student alongside your child, or you can find tutors, co-ops, web-based classes, etc to help out. Be an example of continuing to learn and finding delight in it!
- you believe that God has called you to it: Know that God will also provide what you need to get the job done.
Homeschooling is an awesome responsibility, but no one is more qualified than you! You are the expert on your child, you know them best, and you are more committed to their success than anyone else. You can do this! Be confident that although you may be choosing a different curriculum or style than others, you’re choosing what’s best for your child, and enjoy the adventure!