My husband and I officially decided to homeschool last year. At the time, it was a scary decision because we just weren’t sure how we would make it all work. He works at night, I work from home and we had three kids (ages 2, 4 & 6) who we were now going to be responsible for educating.
While we are newbies at this, we’ve learned some things over the last eight months. I can also officially say that we’re going to stick with it as long as absolutely possible. It’s such a rewarding experience to have a hand at your kids excelling in their studies (our Kindergartner is learning on a second and third grade level in reading, spelling and math, and our pre-schooler is reading, writing and understands addition). While we know this way of life isn’t for everyone, I wanted to share some tips that could help those who are in the “debating” phase where we were over a year ago.
1. Do your research.
A year prior to making the official decision to homeschool our kids, my husband and I started really looking into our options. We found articles online, reached out to people who were already doing it and put a plan into place in regards to how we would make it work.
2. Stand your ground.
People will try and give you 20 questions as to why you have chosen to homeschool. Some of them with good intentions, and some with the intention of making you feel “less than” or crazy for doing it. Either way, it’s not really any of their business as long as you have your own reasons. Understanding your “why” will make things much easier to navigate through the naysayers.
3. Don’t try to compare: Homeschool to traditional school.
Since my kids had already been going to private school (my son for three years) prior to our decision to homeschool, that’s the only perception of “schooling” and teaching that we had in mind. We had to realize that as their teachers, we were now making the rules. And no, we didn’t have to have them “in school” for six hours a day. We could plan the lessons and finish their school work in two or three hours and that was okay.
4. Don’t try to compare: How one family homeschools to yours.
There is a such thing as doing too much research and I may have gone a little overboard on this one. I wanted to adapt to everyone else’s homeschooling styles, and create the same files, documents, handouts, projects, rules, routines, etc. It was exhausting. I had to realize that our family was unique in our homeschool dynamics. Other families’ needs weren’t necessarily our needs so we had to take all of the little pieces of info we had, and create our own system.
5. Find and build your own support system.
With all the research and reaching out to other people, and meetings about homeschool, we were able to find a homeschool co-op group. We looked into two different ones, and ultimately chose the one that we felt would best fit our needs and that of our children. We found a community of support and have never felt alone (especially with 70 other families) since starting this new journey. The kids enjoy going “to school” once a week and taking classes with kids of all ages.
If you’ve considered homeschooling, what are your biggest worries?