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Number 1: Homeschooling is Harder and Easier Than You Think
It is harder because your children are home all day during the week, and so are you. You probably won’t get to go to all those daytime bible studies or morning coffee dates. But you’ll still have time for Saturday brunch.
It is harder because you can’t blame anyone else if your child can’t read by the age of 12 or is a discipline problem.
It is harder because, like laundry and dirty dishes, homeschooling is an ongoing job that requires daily energy.
It is easier because you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to pack lunches, get everyone dressed, breakfasted, brushed, packed, and otherwise presentable in time for that big, yellow bus.
It is easier, because your children won’t have to rush home, eat a snack, go to soccer, finish homework, practice piano, help with dinner, go to youth group, and hurry up and play. Because your children will accomplish many of those things during the day before everyone else trudges wearily home from the bus stop.
it is easier when you realize that so much learning happens with a little one curled up in your lap or by your side on the sofa.
Number 2: You Will Waste Money
Number 3: Find Support
You need it.
Find a community of homeschool moms you can relate to, learn from, and commiserate with. Or, if you live in the middle of nowhere, find just one other family. If you’re truly isolated, find one online, or read homeschooling blogs and join homeschooling chat rooms. There are lots of wonderful options to connect you to like-minded moms. One place to start? Our Facebook group, The Homeschool Collective.
Number 4-Library Fines Happen
Budget for them, because you will occasionally forget to renew (or return) those history stories, biographies, early readers, books on cd, and dvds. Okay, and novels.
Number 5: Anticipate Rude Questions
They come from uninformed folks. I’m frequently astonished at the personal questions some people ask that range from moderately irritating to wildly inappropriate.
Is that legal? Of course not. but don’t tell anyone. Actually, yes. in every state and in most of the industrialized world.
Are all these kids yours? Yup. I rarely look around for extra children to bring grocery shopping with me.
Do your kids have any friends? Do yours? Actually, yes. gobs.
Do you and your kids just stay inside and read all day? Yes. except for soccer practice, basketball practice, baseball practice, art lessons, music lessons, youth group, field trips, the library, museums, the science center, community service, movies, dances, and co-op.
Are you going to keep homeschooling forever? Are you going to keep public schooling forever?
Do you have a teaching degree? Nope. nor do i have a culinary arts degree, but i have managed to successfully cook for my family for the past 17 years.
I bet your kids are really smart, huh? Nope. just average.
I bet your kids are really behind, huh? Behind what, exactly? A public school system that is owned and operated by our wonderfully efficient federal government and currently ranks well behind other nations? Is that a trick question?
Anticipate those questions, and many more, deciding ahead of time what balance of grace and snark you’ll effect to answer them.
Number 5: Read. A Lot
Blogs, books, podcasts. There’s a ton of good information out there; you just need to find it. Here are a couple places to start.
There are lots more, but that should get you started.
Number 6: Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
Number 7: Go Places
Lots and lots of places. One of the best things about homeschooling, is that you get to go on field trips whenever you want to. And because most other children are in school, those places usually aren’t very busy. Not sure where to go or what to do?
Number 8: Join HSLDA
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is a wonderful legal group that is all about protecting and advancing homeschoolingthrough the US and the world. Family memberships are around $100 per year, and give you access to legal aid helpful forms and even curriculum discounts. They also offer online classes for high schoolers. You can look up the homeschool law by state so you’ll know what you need to do to be in compliance.
Number 9: Find a Local or State Conference To Attend
Whether you are just starting out or have been homeschooling for years, you should try your level best to find some sort of conference or curriculum fair to visit. These are places where you will find encouragement and help for the journey you are undertaking. I arrived at my first state convention burnt out and discouraged. I left a mere two days later energized and excited for continuing on this path of homeschooling.
- record keeping
- legal questions
- struggling learners
- gifted learners
- how to plan and teach during the high school years
- homeschooling on a budget
and much more
Number 10: Pray
Pray, pray, pray. Actually this one should probably have been number 1. Pray with your children each morning. Pray for your children every day. Pray with your spouse. Pray with other moms. Encourage your children to begin the habit of daily prayer time.
Some books on the subject to help you get started or become more intentional in prayer are,
Number 11: Enjoy This
Consider this your free bonus. Enjoy the limited time you have to enjoy teaching your children at home. These moments are so special and go by so very fast. Really. It can be so easy to get caught up in the stress of doing more that we lose sight of how precious this gift of time really is.
Take it from a mom who just graduated my eldest. The days are long but the years are short. Make them count.