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Homeschooling – When You Don’t Know Where to Begin

13
Jan

Homeschooling – When You Don’t Know Where to Begin

homeschooling when you don't know where to begin

 

Knees knocking as I walked out of the principal’s office with my 5 year old son happily skipping beside me, I didn’t feel any great big rush of empowerment. I could hardly breathe as I thought to myself I am going to mess this child up for life.

How will I know I am covering everything? Where do I find curriculum? How am I going to test my child? All of these questions were just the start of what I didn’t know as I started on my homeschool journey, which seems not so long ago.

I wish I could put to rest all your fears now. But, in my many years of personally helping new homeschoolers I have come to appreciate that struggling is part of the process. Sure, nobody likes to struggle, but like all things treasured,  a bit of struggling can build a priceless value. Homeschooling is no different.

Homeschool Metamorphosis

Changes take place during the homeschool metamorphosis. Learning how to lesson plan, understanding the basic approaches to homeschooling, determining whether or not a support group is a good choice for your family, choosing curriculum more carefully, homeschooling to high school, understanding the importance of capturing a child’s heart for learning, instilling Godly values and taking time for self are all issues new homeschooler’s struggle with during the change.

It is exhausting to say the least when you think of the many issues thrown at you at one time. Short of infusing you with a big dose of all the practical tips a seasoned veteran has, it takes time to cull over which tips work for you and which ones do not.

When you know which areas to focus on first, the change from struggling homeschooler to empowered home educator can be less daunting. The tips below are based on not just what I have personally gleaned, but based on my own experience from guiding new homeschooers.

 

4 Short Cuts For New Homeschoolers

 

  • Focus on the Needs Of Your Children. You may think this what you are doing, but it has been my experience that most new homeschoolers are researching every curriculum provider known to exist. If you know that the textbook approach is not working in public school right now, then focus on Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason or curriculum that allows for a relaxed approach. If your child is a pick up and read the book child and prefers more hands off learning, then look at textbook providers. Energy zeroed in on the immediate needs of your children instead of the plethora of wonderful curriculum out there gets your school off the ground with minimal steam and stress.
  • Adjust Your Expectation Ruler to Acceptable. Keeping your expectations for both yourself and your children to acceptable during the first year brings a peace to your new year that sometimes many new homeschoolers do not experience. For example, if your child is struggling with reading, an acceptable goal is instilling a love for the delight of reading instead of worrying about bringing him up to grade level with his peers.
  • Avoid Socialization Over Load. No matter how many articles are written on the abundant amount of socialization opportunities, new homeschoolers still may overcompensate for the perceived lack of it by joining every club, field trip and activity that they research. Instead of having meaningful time at home where you can build a relationship with your children, much time and energy that should be spent on educating yourself this first year is spent appeasing this perceived need. Take time in your first or even second year to educate yourself on the how to of homeschooling. Carefully select activities that allows the whole family to be together and learn. One or two activities a month as you begin are enough for now.  As you move to the status of expert and you will, you will be able to schedule exactly for your family’s needs.
  • Plan With Purpose. Instead of floundering around in my first few years of homeschooling, I wished that I would have clearly defined my purpose for homeschooling or my goals in each subject.  I was so busy picking out curriculum without a purpose that some of my early choices ended up being a waste of my energy. For example, I used a curriculum to teach writing and knew that writing structure was important. However, equally important was the subject matter. Because I wanted my children to write thoughts worthy of filling their learning minds,  learn the art of persuasion and not write what is necessarily in vogue, writing topics mattered. It took me a whole year to articulate the problem. Had I focused more on my objectives instead of thinking I had to make curriculum choices so soon, I would have weighed out my options better.  Pen your homeschool goals to paper and preserve them. Use your goals as your guide to planning with purpose.

 

During times of doubt, a well-defined plan will give you a clear sense of direction. Many new homeschoolers fail in the beginning to have a plan of action. Then when confidence lacks and questions come up about their ability and conviction to homeschool, they can’t take the next step or change directions.

Instead of starting out by following what you know about public school and bringing that to your home and children, step out of your comfort zone. Investigate what is not homeschooling. Do not use the model of public school because then you are only changing the geography of where your children learns instead of learning what it means to homeschool. Do you have a clear grasp of the definition of homeschooling?

True, homeschooling is about the parents making the decisions for how, what and which subjects the children will learn, but that only touches the fringe of the homeschooling lifestyle.

Homeschooling has been my lifestyle now for the past 15 years or so. My then five year old, Mr. Senior 2013, has now graduated and I am still learning how to homeschool. I have learned there are no quick solutions and empowerment comes by doing. Failure is part of learning, then move forward. Focus on the big picture so you don’t lose your way.

Go slow and breathe. You can do this!

I am here for you step by step through this process. Your turn to share.

What are your biggest fears as you begin to homeschool?

10 Responses

  1. Pingback : Where to Find Tips on How to Get Started Homeschooling

  2. Andria Gipson

    I basically feel clueless. I have a bunch of books on philosophies of education on reserve at the library and that’s pretty muh it. My daughter is about to turn three so no rush. I keep hearing how great our community is for homeschooling but don’t know how to break into it. I got invited to a co op but dont know if it is the right time to start since she is so young. I don’t even know how/where to start researching curriculum! So overwhelmed! Basically all we do know is public school isn’t for us. Phew

  3. Shannon

    my son will start kindergarten this year and I am beyond nervous. I have no idea which curriculum to use and keep researching and find one I like then second guess myself. I was feeling so confident in this decision and I know in my heart it’s the path for our family but the closer I get to the “start of the school year” the more unsure I’m becoming. Help please!!

  4. marlene weyand

    Thank you for your site. I will homeschool for the first time this year. My son is starting 6th grade. We are blended family with my step daughter staying in public school. I also have two babies. My son has some disabilities that have made school a nightmare for him and me. I have similar traits as he does. Is this a recipe for disaster? I hope I can mend our relationship and change his outlook on life and on his self for the better. He will do science, history, and language arts away from home, attending various classes that the homeschool community has going on locally. He and I will attend a Bible study and do the homework together at a local church that some homeschool families do. He will do math at home. The Life of Fred books caught my eye more than any other. Actually, I planned on only choosing an online curriculum so that he work with out the stress of me stressing him out. The L of F seem to be a good blend of paper and pencil work with a light hearted approach, visual stimulation and maybe just a little assistance from me. I hope it is just that.

  5. Valerie Boness

    I fear my weaknesses will become theirs?? For example im a terrible speller always have been and my 2nd grader already serms to fall behind in this area. 🙁

  6. Pingback : The Ultimate Guide for New Homeschoolers

  7. Laddie

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. I am going to my first home school convention in SC this week, so this was helpful. I guess my fears are all me. I fear that I’m NOT teaching my kids the right/correct subjects, I fear that they will NOT be social, I fear that I will fail. But like life, you try and try again…and keep going. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks!

  8. Tina Shay

    Thanks for the “cheering up!” This article calmed my nerves a bit. I’m VERY new to homeschooling and still in the freak out mode! I REALLY needed this article!!

    1. Hi Tina,

      You are so welcome! Well a huge welcome to homeschooling! I am so glad you found the article helpful and don’t forget I will have one of my workshops free coming up on the 20th.

      You can find out the details on my blog here:
      http://www.tinasdynamichomeschoolplus.com/2014/01/13/new-homeschooler-my-2-hr-workshop-will-be-free-on-january-20/

      Just remember there is NO need to go it alone because seasoned veterans ooze by the thousands.

      Me? I am here for you every step of the way!

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