So here we are, just you and me.
For the moment, my 5 boys are all wonderfully occupied and I thought I would write to you, the new homeschooler. (if you are a seasoned homeschooler, please read and then add your 2 cents at the end of this article).
What Advice Would I Give a New Homeschooler?
Here is my top ten list of Unsolicited Tips and Encouragement from Me to You…
1. Pray. Every. Single. Day.
Homeschooling is wonderful, but it can be completely overwhelming at times. I do not know about you, but I can barely complete my laundry without talking with the Lord. Here’s an inside look into my heart…
2. Release Your Expectations.
When we begin homeschooling, it is easy to paint a very romantic picture of our children quietly studying at the kitchen table, or reading contentedly on the living room floor…
Whatever your imagination cooks up, release it now.
Homeschool is a living thing. As you and your children learn and grow things will morph and change.
3. Get Outside and get Dirty.
You decided to homeschool for many reasons. I know, me too. Do not try to create a public school classroom around your kitchen table. The very nature of homeschooling is that we get to teach our children as we walk through our day. Make sure you get out with your kids as often as you can. Explore. Talk as you explore. Go to the library and learn about what you explored.
4. Model Hunger to your Kids.
Be hungry for knowledge and show your kids what an adventure life can be. Each and every day look for multiple chances to say, “I do not know, but let’s find out together!” Introduce them to the library and have a ball researching whatever they are interested at the moment. If they are not interested in anything, find something that interests you and learn about it together!
5. Experience First.
You really cannot teach a toddler what the word “Sticky” means until they stick their hands into the honey. Always look for the way to have your kids taste, see, hear, touch, and feel before they create, explain, write, and defend a subject. Trust me, the more senses you hit before the lesson, the more exciting the lesson will be!
6. Spy and Steal.
It’s not what you think! Spy on the “best” homeschoolers you can and steal their best stuff. This may not sound very Christian. All joking aside, I am serious. Philippians 3:17 encourages us: Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
Look for great homeschoolers and glean from their years of wisdom.
7. Smile. A Lot!
Learning is amazingly fun. Mounds of unfinished worksheets, quizzes, and tests are not. Make sure to focus on learning. Have fun with this homeschool thing. Sure there is a time for serious work, but even that can be fun if your heart and focus is right.
8. Keep your priorities straight.
While school and education is very important, model true compassion to your kids. If life happens and you need to focus on family or neighbors, do so. People should always come first.
9. Do not Compare your family to another.
Every family, every student, every child is different. Resist the urge to compare your children to anyone. I can tell you from experience that this is a hard one. You may know homeschoolers who have violin playing, chess champion, football quarterback, novel writing children. Great! Do not feel like you are failing if your children are not interested int he same subjects as the homeschooler next door. Embrace your unique family.
10. Keep it simple.
With all the buzz about failing public education it can be tempting to show “the world” how it is done by over scheduling our own homeschool children. While activities are wonderful, be on constant watch for balance and imbalance within your home.
That’s it. My 2 cents worth. I absolutely love homeschooling my children. I hope you are enjoying every day you are blessed to homeschool yours.