I am so happy that you are reading this post. Maybe you have decided to homeschool or are considering homeschooling your children!
I can honestly tell you that homeschooling is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Looking back, I remember our first year of homeschooling fondly! It was truly a blessing to draw our children close and rediscover the joy of being a family.
- We got reacquainted
- We experienced milestones that otherwise we would have missed
- We cuddled and read
- We made treats
- We worked on character and relationships
- We… “de-schooled”.
Our first year was so much fun… but it also had it’s own set of challenges. We were adjusting and transitioning from institutional learning to home learning.
Oh yeah…and it didn’t occur to us that Grandparents, extended family, and friends were also adjusting. We realized that in their eyes, we had done something RADICAL!
They asked a lot of questions:
“What made you decide to homeschool? “Were the children having difficulties at school?” “Had we lost our mind?” “What about socialization?” “Will they ever go to college if you teach them at home?” “Were we qualified to teach?”
We tried to answer with patience. We wanted our family and our friends to know that,“Yes, we were having problems with school Yes, maybe we had lost our minds. Yes, we hope they will go to college if they choose to, but if not…it was okay, and finally… Yes, we would make sure that they were socialized, but…No, not by the world’s standards.”
Whew, was I glad when they quit asking questions!
I’m happy to report that after some transition time…our family and friends have become our biggest supporters.
We faced a transition at home too. I want to reassure you that this is very normal. After all change isn’t easy! I’m happy to report that, for us, it has been soooooo worth it. We are forever thankful God has called us to homeschool!
Here are some tips that I hope will encourage you as you begin your homeschooling journey:
1: Be Relaxed: Your first several weeks of homeschooling can become very stressful if you let it. It can be stressful to you, the children, and your husband. Try to ease into it without having huge expectations, and remember to be patient and flexible.
*This is the time to hug your kids! God has made a way for them to be home with you. Snuggle together on the couch and read to them. If they are older, do some fun things together. Get reacquainted!
2. Be Committed: Use the first couple months to reconnect as a family first without worrying about the academics. Encourage dad to get involved. Take field trips. Have a picnic. Let them see that homeschooling is fun. Help them experience the freedom that homeschooling gives and take the time to discover.
*You are free! Drink it in and thank God for it!
3. Be gentle: This is a transition for everyone. Praise your children every step of the way, even for little things that may seem insignificant. They will want to please you because you are… Mom! However, they may not be sure what to do with this new…Teacher Mom. They have never seen you in this role before. Be sensitive as they learn what you will expect of them.
*Make sure they know you and dad are their biggest fans!
4. Be tender: Consider your children’s feelings. Acknowledge that they may be experiencing a type of loneliness without a classroom of 25-30 kids. Some children grieve leaving the public or private school experience for a little while simply because it was their routine. This will pass.
*They will miss those “school friends” but it isn’t always a good idea to keep those ties. Use lots of discretion here. Those “friends” are probably one of the reasons you pulled them out of school to begin with. Join a homeschool support group and/or co-op to help them (and you) make new friends.
5. Be aware: Your children will love the thought of learning with you in their new homeschooling environment, but you may see competition for your attention. They may need your help learning to share you with their brothers and sisters. Encourage your children to work together and discourage sibling rivalry.
*Find subjects like…Bible, History, Art, and Science that you can all do together so that independent work and face time goes smoother.
6. Be Diligent: It’s easy to focus on the academic part of learning but remember that relationships and character training are equally important…in fact, I think they are MORE important. There are wonderful curricula and books out there that can help you in this, but remember that the Bible is the greatest resource you have. Try starting your day in a family Bible Study, devotion, and prayer time. My children still tell me that it is the favorite part of their day! It has also helped them practice kindness and courtesy with each other.
*A study in Proverbs is a great place to start a family Bible Study.
7. Be True to Who You Are: You might fall into the trap of looking around and listening to other homeschooling moms too much. You might feel that you don’t measure up. Try not to compare yourself or your children to anyone else. We all homeschool differently. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. Find your groove and embrace it. All children learn differently and at different levels. Celebrate that.
*Find your child’s learning style and love language. It will help a lot if you teach the way they learn best.
8. Be Joyful: Lastly, remember that God has called you to this and He will see you through it. He will equip you with what you need to teach your children. Take the time to really enjoy your children, after all you know them better than anyone!!!
*You will fall in love with them all over again as you discover the uniqueness of how God made them. You will delight in their wit, intelligence, acts of kindness and service, and joy of learning!
My prayer is for you to fill your home with love, and to build a strong relationship with your husband and your children! I pray that if you do decide to homeschool, that your journey will be richly blessed!