The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling
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You’ve made the leap to begin homeschooling. Congratulations! But wait…you’ve made the leap to homeschool…yikes! Take a deep breath now…truly you have made a great decision. It is such a blessing for those of us to be able to homeschool because now we can pour ourselves and the love of God into everything our children learn. We don’t have to hope that someone else shows our child biblical examples through actions and words. We know exactly what our children are learning and how they are learning. It is an exciting adventure!
I have been an educator for over 12 years. From teaching kindergarten, 3rd grade and middle school to being a K-5 librarian, I have experienced an seen a lot! During that time, I decided to take my child out of kindergarten to homeschool her. Although I was working full time, I was involved in planning and watching over her curriculum and learning. Blessed by the help of my husband and mother, we were able to pull it off. Now, I’m full time at home with her and continue to learn, change and grow with homeschool education founded in a biblical worldview. It is my passion to help others in their homeschooling journey not only by helping with learning and curriculum, but also making sure that the content fits in with God’s Word.
What is homeschooling?
Seems obvious…school-at-home, oh but it’s so much more! It’s making amazing connections with your kids’ hearts and minds. It is being able to take a break when needed, without anyone else’s permission. It’s the ability to make any place your classroom…the outdoors, the grocery store, a nice drive, a park, your backyard…the list is endless. It’s the amazing feeling when you are learning things along with your children. You get to see their immediate reaction to what they discover. You get to learn new things and relearn old ones. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. Why? Freedom.
Common Misconceptions about Homeschooling
- I don’t feel qualified.
The resources for teaching your children are endless. In fact, once you start looking at all the great help there is out there, you will know that the homeschool community has your back. The hard part will be narrowing it down and wading through all the great information. My advice, keep it simple.
- I can’t afford it.
Homeschool curriculum and courses can get pricey. The wonderful thing is, there are many quality, amazing, free resources out there to get you started on your journey. From there, you will have more time to learn about paid resources and decide if they fit your family and your budget.
- My children will not be socialized.
This is the most common out there. Let me ask you this, do you go to church? Are your children involved in any sports or activities? Socialization will only be neglected if you choose to just stay home with your family and never go anywhere else. Not only can you have your children involved in sports, outside electives or clubs, many times there are homeschool communities and co-ops your family can attend. The best part is, unlike with a regular school week, you can can choose when, where and how much time your family spends on outside activities. Now that’s the best kind of socialization a family can ask for!
How to get started with Homeschooling
Make sure to check your state’s laws about homeschooling. Some states require certain procedures to follow should you choose to homeschool.
Give yourself at least a week to research homeschool curriculum.
- This will be overwhelming at first, so have a note taking system to write down pros and cons of different curriculum as well as the website where you can find them.
- Simply typing homeschool in your search bar will yield tons of results. If you want to be specific, add words like Christian homeschooling curriculum in the search bar.
Here are a few free and paid curriculums that I have either used or have come highly recommended:
Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool is an excellent FREE Christian homeschool curriculum from preschool to highschool. It is a complete program that even features lesson tracking, all for FREE! It is thoroughly Bible based, which always puts my mind at ease.
A wonderful history program is Learn Our History. It is U.S. history for kids at its very best! Co-Founded by Governor Mike Huckabee, each exciting animated history film features a group of time-traveling history students who go back in time to see U.S.history in the making and young viewers enjoy a front-row seat to all the exciting action. Everyone of our films is expertly researched and free of the biases often found in many textbooks in use today.
Tips for Success when Homeschooling
- Prayer – The basis and foundation for all decisions and guidance start with seeking God. This will give you comfort and wisdom as you navigate this exciting adventure called homeschooling!
- Flexibility – Don’t be rigid with schedules. Be flexible. Allow for adequate time for understanding, even if it means longer than allowed for in the curriculum. If a subject is quickly understood, then move on when kids are ready.
- Don’t try to do it all – Don’t try to do the “7 hour school day” that is done in public and private schools. It is better if your kids are understanding concepts than trying to rush through or sit for long hours due to a “deadline” that you put on yourself. You only need a few hours a day to cover the basics.
- Forgive yourself – If some, or everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed one day, take an unplanned break to go to the park or just spend quality time together. Take a deep breath and be thankful that you are there with your children in their formidable years.
- Look into joining a homeschool association – Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of homeschooling, or even allowing us the freedom to raise out children as we see fit. Legal problems can arise, even in the freest homeschool states. Seek out either a state homeschool association or join Homeschool Legal Defense Association. There are fees involved, but you get a powerful group of protection when they are on your side.
Common Questions/FAQ About Homeschooling
How much does it cost to homeschool?
- Homeschool curriculum ranges from free to the thousands. Even if the curriculum is free, you have to take into account the purchase of at least basic school supplies. Whether you choose free or paid, I would suggest buying the most basic and the least amount of supplies necessary to start off with. As you continue the homeschool journey, you will find what supplies best suit your family.
- One of the reasons I suggested to give yourself at least a week to choose curriculum was both for cost and quality. As you read about different types of curriculum, try to find one that your children can understand, but with a challenge as well. They will be more successful when they realize they are familiar with some content. This will give them confidence to learn the new stuff.
Am I qualified?
- Absolutely! YOU are your child’s first and best teacher! No one knows your kids the way you do. Growing with them as they learn will bring out qualifications you didn’t even realize you had.
Does my state have requirements to be able to homeschool?
- A great resource for state homeschool laws and a great place for a lot of homeschool help and information is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They have a specific page about “Homeschool Laws In Your State”.
Will we be completely on our own?
- Absolutely not! I hope you will return to my page for support and look at other homeschool blogs to see the wonderful variety of ideas and support out there. Seek out homeschool groups in your area. Join homeschooler Facebook pages. You will not only find support for your teaching and curriculum, but also ideas about activities for your kids!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Homeschooling
After reading this, my prayer is that you come away with these 2 things:
- Know that there is no one on earth who can better teach your children than you or your spouse. The father and mother are considered the adornment of teaching to their children. As Proverbs 1:8-9 in the King James Version clearly states, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
- Have no fear to take the step that will bless you and your children for life. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 KJV.
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But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.