How do I get started homeschooling?


These words of reflection and friendly advice are given by New Life Homeschool members especially for the beginning home schooling parent:

"Homeschooling is worth it, but it is a huge investment and sacrifice and you have to be willing to go in it for the long haul. Don't base your journey on one or two bad days, but keep pushing on; some days are very frustrating and challenging, but you will bear fruit as long as you stay committed and hang in there.

Don't compare your child to what another homeschooling family is doing, or to what the neighbourhood child is doing in school, but instead focus on your child's abilities and strengths, and set your program to help them reach their potential."

"As a first time homeschooler, I would have appreciated a homeschooling mentor. A 'go to' person that could have answered my 500 questions. Although I am affiliated with an online homeschool, my advisor at the time was not very available. My words of advice would be..."Breathe!" It's so overwhelming at first that you don't know what to do...."

"Home education is a process and continual journey of learning, both for us and our children. Take time to enjoy its development and don't get bogged down in seat work. Let your learning take you beyond the pencil and paper to nature, play, exploration of interests, no matter how peculiar or unconventional they may seem. Include as much movement as possible. Call out math problems as they bounce on a mini trampoline. Toss a bean bag back and forth as you memorize lines of poetry, Scripture, or beginning letter sounds. Education at its lowest level is spewing out memorized facts. Have your child build, create, incorporate learned concepts into real life projects such as planting a garden or baking cookies or sewing. (or whatever suits your child's interests) Learning happens in so many different ways."

"Allow yourself time to develop your own philosophy of what home learning means to you and your family. My husband and I wrote down the reasons we began homeschooling and in times when we lose our vision (usually on the hard days), I go back to those reasons and I am reassured that, yes, we are doing the right thing and following the path we desire for our family."

"Glean from others and adopt things that resonate in your heart into your homeschool style. There is no right or wrong way to school your children. Don't be afraid- experiment and find what works for you. And give yourself and your kids, time to adjust and fall into a rhythm that is exactly right for your family. Show yourself some grace, don't be afraid to fail, and enjoy the beauty and wonder of being with your kids. The years are truly short."

"I would strongly recommend attending a few homeschool meetings in your area, to find one you are comfortable with. Ask some homeschoolers who have children their ages or older if they can come and check out what they do. I have had people visit me from time to time over the years, don't know if I've helped anyone or not, but homeschoolers tend to be a rather independent lot and no two are alike! I would also suggest going to the public library and reading various books on the subject."

"Here are a few ideas:
Tip #1 - Mellow out, especially if you are a former teacher.
Tip #2 - Have fun! You want your kids to have happy memories.
Tip #3 - Have a plan, not a crazy, unattainable plan, but a doable one with a few clear goals.
Tip #4 - Respect your child's learning style. What works for one child may or may not work for the next.
Tip #5 - Connect with others. Get ideas. Share resources. Let the kids play.
Tip #6 - Don't compare your family with the next. Find out what God is calling you to be and don't worry how it compares to others.
Tip #7 - Enlist your spouse. He/She may not be the primary teacher, but they need to be on board and maybe there is something unique that he/she can do with the kids.
Tip #8 - Don't give up all of your hobbies. Tell your spouse that you need a break each week and have him/her carve a little time out for you to be by yourself.
Tip #9 - Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray for your kids, for you, for patience & love & more patience. Pray for the world and that your family might have an integral part in it. Pray that your family would live out the kingdom of God on earth."

"I think one of the most important things to remember is that education doesn't happen in a day, it happens in a lifetime. We will make mistakes. We will forget to teach them some things (or we will remember, and our kids won't!) However, kids in school don't learn everything either. As long as we have taught our children to think, and to serve God along their journey, they can learn anything else they need when they need it.

Also, the first few years we as parents have so much more to learn than our children do. Much of what they will learn they will bump into as they explore their world; it is us that have a big learning curve at the beginning. Another frequent mistake is to try to do too much too fast. Kindergarten only needs about 30 minutes of academic work a day, and first grade about 45-60 minutes. The reason for this is that one-on-one teaching is so much more intense, focused, and successful than group teaching, where much time is spent giving everyone a turn, or repeating things for those that missed them.

As a new/future homeschooling parent I would recommend joining your local support group, attending a conference WITHOUT buying curriculum, and reading some books on homeschooling."

"I think it would be helpful to join a support group before you start homeschooling (or even if you are only considering homeschooling) as it's the best way to get more real-life perspective, information and support from other experienced families. Talk to as many homeschooling parents as possible."