TODDLERS

My Full Heart: Thinking About Homeschooling?

I’ve been homeschooling for more than fifteen years, and there are so many things I wish I could tell parents who are considering homeschooling their children. Oh sure, you need to know the laws in your state and ensure that you are following the requirements to homeschool legally, but that is not the only (or the most important) thing I would say. Here are four truths I want every parent who is thinking about homeschooling to know.

Homeschooling takes commitment. Lots of it.

There will be days when you don’t want to “do school.” There will be days you feel like quitting. There will be days, or even weeks, when you fantasize about the yellow bus picking your kids up in the mornings. 

You have to work through that.

You have to be committed to your child’s education. As a homeschooling parent, you are in complete control of making sure your child receives the education that is appropriate for that them. Waking up in the morning and getting into the routine of schoolwork is vital. Teaching your child that school is not optional, it’s not a “if I feel like getting to it today” type of task, it’s not going to be hit and miss each day – homeschool work is going to be a non-negotiable.

You will have to be committed to more than just teaching your child each day. You will be committed to finding social outlets for your child, such as homeschool co-ops, sports programs, or clubs. You will be committed to spending money on your child’s educational needs (more on that below). You will be committed to stay the course when your child is struggling with phonics or math facts or handwriting. But even though you will need to have dedicated hours to complete your schoolwork, especially as your children get older, homeschooling is not just a three hour a day job. This brings me to my next point:

Homeschooling becomes a lifestyle – it’s not just another project.

Your house will start filling up with books, books, and even more books. You will have boxes of math manipulatives, science equipment, art supplies, maps, and pencils. If you don’t have a dedicated room for homeschooling, and even if you do, your house will definitely showcase that you are a homeschooling family. There will be salt-dough maps and craft stick creations on your dining room table, timelines hanging on your wall, and pencil sharpeners on every flat surface. Instead of a beautiful vase of flowers on your sofa table, you will have a bucket of colored pencils.

More than that, you will learn to take every situation and make it an opportunity for learning. Playing outside becomes an informal nature study – “Look at those nimbus clouds, Mom!” or “Cool! Watch this spider wrap up this fly he caught in his web!” Simple questions from your child become a jumping off point for deep discussions. Vacations become field trips. Car rides can become the perfect setting for drilling – math facts, states and capitals, scripture. You will read books and then watch the movie and compare which one was better (always the book, by the way). You will cook together, clean together, run errands together, read together, and spend the majority of your time together.

And it will be beautiful.

Homeschooling is an investment – money and time.

You don’t have to have all of the newest, shiniest curriculum out there to homeschool well. But it will take some curriculum! You will have to buy math books, grammar workbooks, lots of science and history books, as well as science equipment and counting bears and pencils and paper and … the list goes on. Homeschool curriculum isn’t cheap, either – especially if you’re buying for multiple children. I do like to buy curriculum I can use with several kids at one time, but it still takes quite a bit for a large family!

It will seem like every week you need to buy something! A book that the library doesn’t have, new playdough since yours dried up, more paper for the printer, copper wire for a science experiment…making allowances for these surprise items in your budget in a good idea! Anything I buy for homeschooling purposes is an investment in my husband’s mind – an investment into our children’s future.

You will also be investing your time into your child each day. Time spent teaching them new concepts, discussing the books they’re reading, counting dried beans, sorting counting bears by color, subtracting with borrowing, and diagramming sentences. 

You will invest time into finding homeschool groups and taking your kids on field trips. You will spend more time at the library than ever before. You will spend time researching the perfect curriculum, pouring over samples and syllabuses. You will spend time re-learning algebra so you can help your freshman with their lessons. 

You will invest in your child – talking to them, answering their questions, asking them questions. You will learn so much about your child because you will spend so much time with your child.

You will learn so much right along with your child.

You have to know something to be able to teach it. Sometimes homeschool moms don’t know what they’re teaching before they teach it, and that is okay. You will learn as you teach! I have learned so much from teaching my kids, things I should have learned as a child but was never taught. I have had so many “a-ha!” moments with my kids. They love seeing me with a lightbulb moment! It shows them that learning is life-long and always enjoyable. I get really excited when I learn new things, and my excitement spreads to my children. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reading our history lessons aloud to the kids and stopped and said with excitement, “I never knew that!” or “Wow! That makes sense. Now I understand …” 

Let your children see you learning. Let them watch you learn a new hobby or read a book on something you don’t know much about or follow a YouTube tutorial to complete a new project. Children do mimic what they see. If they see you learning new things as an adult, and having fun with it, they will be more likely to want to learn new things. Model a lifestyle of learning for your children.

Homeschooling has been such a blessing in my family’s life. It takes commitment and investment, but the returns on both are outstanding. 

What would you tell to a parent considering homeschooling?

Originally Posted Here

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