ME? Homeschool? – My Best Advice for New Homeschoolers
My Best Advice for New Homeschoolers
When we got started, I received a tremendous piece of advice. Remember, I’m calling people and desperately asking them what I should do. I took my son out of school on a Friday and school is supposed to start on Monday, right? This is what my friends said: Relax. Don’t panic. Pray.
That’s my advice to you. Not just in your homeschooling journey, but in every part of life. When starting anything new and potentially life-changing, it’s very easy for panic set in, isn’t it? You start thinking about everything you don’t know or can’t anticipate and you soon find yourself reaching for a brown paper bag to breathe into. As a longtime homeschool mom, I’ve had moments like that as recently as last week!
When my oldest graduated five years ago, he chose to attend college in New York City. At some level that should have caused me to panic, but I had been praying about where God would take him. And when God has led my child to where He wants him to be, I can rest in what God is doing in his life. This is a habit you, too, can form. Not panicking, but praying.
After you relax, don’t panic, and pray, then my advice to you is simply to read, read, read, read, and read some more! If you’re pulling your kids out of school, you need to make it a priority to learn what they’re interested in and what makes them tick. I didn’t know that about my kids. I was so caught up in what the culture said about what I was supposed to be and do as a mother that I had allowed myself to believe it was the school district’s problem to motivate them to learn. The best advice I got was from someone who told me to take Charles to the library and see what books he was drawn to, then read those books to him and get to know him better.
If your children have already attended public school and you’re taking them out, you are going to have to “unschool” them to some degree. In this first year of homeschooling, they may say, “But at school we did this!” You’re going to have to work with them to let go of routines designed primarily to corral large groups of children. In the meantime, there are some great books out there to help you get a handle on this homeschooling thing. Books such as Cynthia Tobias’s The Way They Learn.
Become a student of your children. How do they learn best? Each one will be different. Debra Bell has a best-selling book called The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. Cathy Duffy has written some great books on how to select curriculum for your home school. These books are great tools that you need to get your hands on.
Don’t miss the rest of my series on homeschooling: