Looking back over the years there is so much I have learned on this journey called “homeschooling.” So many times it is like God is teaching me as much, or even more, than my kids. If I could go back and change so many things I would, yet I know that God worked it all for good. I also know I have an opportunity to share what I heave learned with those who are now just beginning their homeschool journey… and that is a gift. To pass down some lessons learned (many the hard way!) so that others can learn from them.
So today, I talk to my new homeschooling mamas that are my sisters. Have you ever wondered what are the most important things you need to know to begin homeschooling? How do you even begin to start homeschooling? You may be surprised at my answers- many of them don’t even have to do with academics.
1. Understand as you begin this journey, that you are not in charge.
Your kids are not in charge. Your husband is not in charge. God is in charge of your homeschool. He is the One who called you to this journey for a reason and for a purpose. He will lead you to places you never imagined with your family if you just let go of your own expectations and let him lead. Take every decision to prayer, whether it be about curriculum, co-ops, or tests. He will lead you, and in fact trying to do it by your own strength will be nearly impossible. You must let God lead!
2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s homeschool, homeschool room, books, style, etc.
Sure, we can learn from others and take advice, but when we start to let our attitude switch to “everyone-is-doing-this-thing-called-homeschooling-better-than-me” mode, we are doomed. We fall into the comparison trap and we lose sight that God created each of our homeschools uniquely. He didn’t intend for us to homeschool like the neighbor down the street. He will provide all that you need if you keep your eyes on Him. The comparison trap is sure to defeat you. So as you begin homeschooling, seek God’s plans for your family, and write down the goals you have for YOUR family. Write a mission statement and hang it on the wall in a prominent place. Refer to it often when you need reminding of why your are homeschooling.
3. Find the curricula that you will use, and stick with what works.
The vast and never-ending array of curricula available to us homeschoolers is astounding. The types, the methods, the styles, all of it. There is just so much! I spent the first three years of our homeschool switching form one thing to the next. I was always planning and never really doing. Everything looked so good that if we were having a bad day I blamed it on the curriculum and looked for a new one. The truth is, there is so much good stuff out there– we just need to pick something and if it works, stick with it. Throw out the catalogs if you get tempted. Once you find something that is working for your family, there is no need to continue searching.
4. Let life get in the way.
We are raising our children to live in the real world and what better way for them to learn about it, then to live in it? Homeschooled children are immersed in life each day, and life is full of lessons. So when the washing machine breaks down in the middle of school lessons, or a family member is sick, or severe weather moves in and the power goes out, consider the fact that your children are seeing real life in action- how Mommy handles problems and inconveniences everyday and how the world works. Often the most important lessons learned are not in the schoolbooks.
5. Enjoy the journey.
Enjoy your children. Everyone says it goes fast, but truth is, it goes even faster. So when you are just beginning this journey, make a decision to truly enjoy each moment. Love on your kids. Let them know you love them enough to spend each day with them. Even the hard days, remember how temporary it is. Don’t lose focus. Give them love. You will be giving them a gift far greater than any diploma.