I remember being very frustrated when I first started out. There are so many options! And each time I would ask someone who I knew homeschooled about “how they did it”, I’d get another answer and another option. And so many of them sound so good. But I would come away from the conversation feeling like they wouldn’t tell me “how” to do it. Now that I’m a few years down the road, I have friends asking me how to homeschool and I feel myself on the other end of the conversation doing the exact same thing. Here’s what I think, the main reason I can’t tell you how to homeschool is the main reason that I do homeschool – Homeschooling is all about specialized education, tailoring what you are doing to meet the needs of your students in their learning style and your teaching style! What a blessing!
That being said, I can narrow down the options with two important pieces of advice that I’ve heard and managed to hang onto so far (and one bonus one). Maybe someday I’ll have some more.
1) Know your ‘WHY’!
2) Do your Research
* Have Fun
Why do you want to homeschool?
This is an important question. And the answer to it will be different from mine, and from the friend down the street. ‘Why’ you want or need to teach your children at home will inform so many of your decisions and should be the thing you come back to over and over. And it might change as time goes on. And it might become multiple ‘whys’. Part of knowing your ‘why’ might be creating a vision statement or list of goals for the year. Then you’ll be able to look back and see if you are meeting the need you originally set out to meet.
Do your Research
I know it is overwhelming! Learn about learning styles, learn about teaching styles, learn about your kid(s). Lurk in forums, read the intro pages in your teacher guides, ask questions. Once you know a little about these things, find curriculum that lines up with your style AND meets your ‘why’. This will narrow down the overwhelmingness into a manageable chunk. And if there are still a lot of options, just pick one. Try it out, you can try something different later if you find it isn’t working.
Probably one of the reasons you list in your ‘why’ is that you want to spend more time with your children. Or you want the opportunity to pass on your knowledge and values to them. And if it isn’t in your ‘why’ you will soon find that it is one of the greatest outcomes of making this decision. So, enjoy yourself on your journey. Give yourself a little grace as you figure things out, give your kids a little grace as they learn with you. Have fun together! I doubt that when we are done, my kids will be able to recite any single lesson that we’ve done. But I do think they’ll be able to say, we had a lot of fun on the way!