This is a post from Mandy Pagano of Suburban Stereotype
You start by asking your friends for insight. Then, you move onto looking at blogs. Maybe next you start scrolling Pinterest.
An hour into your “research” you give up, throw your hands in the air, and decide maybe homeschooling just isn’t for you.
I’ve been there.
I grew up watching a family homeschool their children. I even helped homeschool during the summer. My sister homeschooled my niece from kindergarten through 8th grade. I saw that it could be successful and it could be such a benefit to both the parent and the child.
Two and half years after enrolling our oldest (followed the next year by his brother), my husband and I pulled both of our children out of public school to traditionally homeschool them.
I can tell you that at this point I had some grand plans and ideas. I scoured blogs and websites trying to find the right curriculum. It seemed whenever I would find one that was “exactly” what I was looking for, the sticker shock left me fearing we could never afford to do this.
One day while wandering the aisles of Target, I came across Brain Quest workbooks. I flipped through the kindergarten book and looked at the bright and colorful pages, checked out the various subjects, and nearly jumped up and down at the amazing price (This one in particular was under $15.) It covered all the subjects I would need and didn’t break the bank!
Next I discovered various websites that offer FREE curriculum, many offering lessons for grades kindergarten through high school. I thought it was simply too good to be true. The more I looked, however, the more I found resources for free or very cheap.
The main thing I realized in all my searching was that there is no “one method” or one curriculum for homeschooling. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
While spending several hundreds of dollars on curriculum may be possible for some, others ( like our family) simply don’t have the same budget.
- The most important thing you need when you begin homeschooling is the desire to give your children the very best education you possibly can. Be willing to seek out advice and insight from other homeschooling families and look for online resources.
- Pinterest is a wealth of information for lesson plans, curriculum, arts and crafts and even inspiration for setting up your classroom. I like to use it as a guide, but can become overwhelmed if I try to follow someone else’s vision too closely.
- Also important: realize that having a game plan is great–and encouraged–but stressing out over every little detail is counterproductive. Some of the best times with my children are those “teachable moments” that occur spontaneously. One day as I was going over the Pledge of Allegiance with my 2nd and 3rd graders, one thing led to another and my 7 year-old ended up asking Jesus into his heart. That is the kind of thing I would never give up for the sake of staying on task.
- Homeschooling may not look like traditional schooling (i.e. public or private school) and that’s okay. My husband had fears in the beginning when the kids weren’t doing work for 7 hours a day (like they had in public school), but once I explained to him that without restroom breaks, lining up, assemblies, attendance, announcements, recess breaks, etc, we get the same amount of work or more done in 2-3 hours as they accomplished in 7 hours at school, he relaxed. Sometimes parents can feel guilty or like they aren’t “doing enough” if their lessons only take a couple of hours a day.
- Give yourself wiggle room. As you go, you will devise a method and a rhythm that works for you and your kids. If you hit the ground running and all is smooth sailing? Great! If not, don’t worry too much. Sometimes it takes a little time to get into a groove and learn the best time of day and method for teaching your kids. This will be an adjustment for you and for them.
The most critical piece of information I can offer you is this: If you feel God has called you to homeschool your children, you can rest assured He will equip you to do the job and to do it well. While blogs and websites and even friends are a wealth of information, the first place we need to go with our questions and concerns is our Heavenly Father. He has all the answers and He knows you and your child(ren) better than you do. Educating your children at home can be intimidating in the beginning, but keeping your perspective in check and not expecting too much from yourself or your child(ren) can help you to have a laid-back approach to homeschooling.