Our new homeschool year is upon us. We started today and this is my fifteenth year to start a new school year. I can remember being so very anxious about teaching my older children to write their ABC’s. I so longed to do it right!
This year, two of my sons having already graduated, I have three high school students and two junior-high students. My methods have varied greatly over the years to accommodate the learning differences of each child. That’s the beauty of homeschool. The way we go about our studies can be adjusted to fit the child more easily than in a larger classroom setting.
In my early years of homeschooling I tried to recreate school at home. That was ok in the early primary years. Then I discovered unit studies and oh the fun we had learning in a delight driven manner. When some began to approach highschool I found Switched-on-Schoolhouse and I was so thankful. Help with proper records, grading and subjects was provided.
If you are contemplating homeschooling your children and wondering if you can do it, I want to assure you that you can. Will you do it just like me or a public school teacher? No, probably not. But, if you do your research and work hard, you will have a unique learning environment for your unique student.
You don’t have to know it all to be a homeschool teacher. You have to be willing to learn along with your child. To me, this is one of the greatest rewards.
Don’t expect perfection from your children nor yourself. That’s a sure way to have a miserable year.
My goal is to teach my children to be learners, to think and reason, to know how to find the information they need. Then no matter if it is an Algebra problem or a life problem, they’ll be okay.
Expose your children to poetry and art and music that they wouldn’t normally experience. It’s ok if it is beyond them at their present stage, let them listen to cadences and sway to rhythms. Go to museums, visit libraries and science centers.
Ask for help when you need it. Attend conferences and classes. Find a group to participate in. Join teams or take karate or let them try ballet. Get connected with a local church body and participate!
Teach your kids that there’s a whole world that does not revolve around them. Volunteer together. Serve those less fortunate. Help those who are struggling. Develop character and integrity in their hearts and lead by example.
Music is a huge part of our homeschool days. We have a large assortment of instruments, some of which we are still experimenting with. We play board games to encourage strategic thinking, like chess. We spend time outside. We paint and we craft and we cook and we explore.
I want to increase their appetite for knowledge. I want them to be curious and inquisitive. I want them to consider and contemplate. I want them to think outside the box. I want them to try and fail and try again.
Some of my children came to me as older-child adoptions and I missed the first years of their lives. I cherish my time with each of my children. It is my moment to make deposits into their lives, to influence them and help define who they are. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Homeschool is not the best choice for every child or every family. But, it is the best for mine.