I was you two years ago.
My daughter was going into kindergarten and, while I was excited to begin our homeschool journey, I was also full of questions and what ifs.
What if we didn’t get along as well over math as we did over story time?
What if I couldn’t stay organized?
What if I couldn’t teach her to read?
What if she missed her friends from preschool and hated me for not enrolling her in school with them?
What if our decision to homeschool ruined her life?!
Cue the melodramatic music. Thankfully, two years into our journey, I have managed some semblance of organization, my daughter reads like a champ, our battles have been fewer than I feared, and she has made a new boatload of friends through our Classical Conversations community, American Heritage Girls, YMCA sports, and church activities.
5 Things to Remember as You Begin Your Year
Thinking back to where I was when we began, here are some things I want you to know as you begin your journey.
You can do it.
Even the state says you can, because all they require for a parent to homeschool is to have a high school education and follow certain minimal rules. You don’t need teacher training or even a college degree. You need time with your kids, access to good books (hello, public library!), and the heart of a learner. There are SO many resources out there to help you. Don’t bow out out of fear that you won’t measure up.
It helps to have a community to support you.
I found mine in many places. Our Classical Conversations community, both the one we belong to and the one I found online through Facebook groups and bloggers that I follow. Family members who also homeschool, even though they are not nearby, and parents who support our decision. A local community that I found on Facebook and have since met face-to-face with on many occasions. Fellow church members who also homeschool. Friends whose kids are in public school, but who honor our choice to teach our kids at home. I’m blessed to have a lot of support, and you may not be in the same situation, but all you need is a few friends who can encourage you on the hard days and cheer you on in your victorious ones.
Your homeschool doesn’t have to look like mine.
…or anyone else’s. It also doesn’t need to look like a traditional school setting. It needs to suit you and your child’s and family’s needs. There are so many kinds of homeschooling today, and so many reasons people do it. It is helpful to find that community to support you, but don’t fall into the trap of comparing what you are doing to someone else and feeling like you are falling short because you are doing something different than another homeschooling parent.
You are making a valuable investment in your child’s future.
Did you know that every year children in traditional schools spend about 1,440 hours in that school setting? Assuming that kids spend about 10 hours a day sleeping, that is the equivalent of 102 waking-hour days that you will get back with your child this year alone. More than three months. What can you do with that time? What interests can you nurture? What character qualities can you encourage? What memories can you make? This year will not just be about learning lessons and completing a curriculum, but about making memories and building a stronger relationship with your children.
No educational decision is permanent.
If your child is in elementary school and the idea of homeschooling through high school makes your brain hurt, don’t think about it yet. Take it one year at a time. Try it out this year, talk with other more experienced homeschooling families, read lots, and then decide about next year, and then next year, do the same thing.
So, newbie homeschool mom (and yes, I know there are homeschool dads, but this is a blog aimed at moms), welcome to the club! If you need encouragement along the way, feel free to contact me here or on my blog where I share from time to time about our homeschooling journey. You can do it!