You will love the glorious adventure of homeschooling! But, it is an adventure, so buckle up and get ready to learn new things about yourself, your children, and the Lord. If you are starting out this year, homeschooling for the first time, let me give you a big cheer! You are taking a step of faith that will bless your children and strengthen your family relationships.
So, what should you do to get ready for the big step? Well, it's easier than you think. Let me share some tips for getting started and enjoying success in your first year.
Partner with your Hubby!
Talk and pray with your husband about homeschooling. Make sure the two of you are in agreement with one another. You will need his support and encouragement in the days ahead.
Discover your State's Law
Find out what your state requires to homeschool legally. You often have several options including umbrella schools and registering with the county. Here in Florida, I am registered with Seminole County. I turn in test scores or an evaluation for each child every year and keep a portfolio of my children's work. The people I deal with in this county are wonderful and supportive. We are blessed to homeschool where we do.
Here is a place to go to find out what your state requires: HSLDA State Laws . HSLDA, or Homeschool Legal Defense Association, is a wonderful resource for homeschool helps, especially in the legal department. We have been members since 1991.
Research Homeschool Philosophies
There are several homeschool philosophies out there. You need to discover what is right for you and your family. Here are some of the methods to investigate.
There is not a right way or a wrong way to education your child, except what is laid out in Scripture. Think about how you were educated and how you would like to educate your own children. Talk to other homeschool moms and find out what their philosophy of educating is. Be clear in your own mind about how you want to homeschool. This will give you focus in your teaching and help you to choose your curriculum.
Begin at High School Graduation
Start with the end in view. Imagine what you want your children to look like when they graduate from high school. It won't just happen. It will be determined by the way you homeschool through the elementary, middle and high school years. Make adaptable long range plans for your children.
Find Mentors & Support
A homeschool support group is a great place to meet other homeschooling moms. Look for mentors, women who have homeschooled a long time and have godly children. Ask them what they do and learn from their successes and mistakes. Most homeschooling moms are happy to pass on what they have learned along the journey.
Prepare to Teach
Read books on homeschooling. Magazines are great too! I read Teaching Home cover to cover when I was first homeschooling. Now, they have an online newsletter. Today, I read The Old Schoolhouse Magazine --they have many free newsletter that you can receive through email.
Read a books and watch other moms to learn how to teach. Realize, though, that you have been teaching your children already. You taught them how to talk, walk, and eat. You can teach them to read, add, and write their name. You can also teach them about photosynthesis, fractions, and the Revolutionary War.
Make Your Home a Nurturing Center
Make your home a place that inspires your children to learn and grow in wisdom. Invest money in quality books--a homeschool library is indispensable. Buy classic books. I have found many classics at thrift stores and used book stores. Buy some classical music CDs and start a folder on your computer of class art works. You can look at art online now. (I had to go out and buy art coffee table books when I got started!) Maps and globes are another great resource to have in the house.
Keep your home quiet, peaceful, and clutter-free. Avoid arguing and yelling. Learn to speak with a gentle, but no-nonsense voice. Stay in control and expect your children to obey you! All of these things foster learning.
Choose your Curriculum
There are so many choices now. . .we are so blessed! Whatever you buy, be faithful and consistent with using it. If a phonics program has catchy songs to listen to, then don't forget to listen to the songs. If you are supposed to enclose their writing assignment in a letter, then do that. If you follow the curriculum and it doesn't work, then try adapting it to make it fit your children.
Make a Schedule
I am not a rigid schedule person, so I schedule in chunks of time: before breakfast, after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner. We do chores before breakfast, eat breakfast, do school work, starting with math, eat lunch, read quietly, practice music, clean house, run any errand, make dinner, eat dinner, and collapse. That is our general homeschooling plan. We have certain subjects we do each day. But we have a routine that is followed day after day, week after week. It helps us to be productive and efficient.
Okay, you are ready to go! Why not make a special dinner and yummy dessert. Throw a party to get your family off to a great start on your new adventure. And, may God bless you!