Homeschooling is not going away any time soon. Not in Florida anyway. Seeing as our state is something like 49 out of 50 in the National rankings…even the public schools are throwing their hands up and saying to parents everywhere…go ahead…lets see if you can do it any better. I also…wasn’t willing to work non-stop to afford to send them to the countless overpriced private schools in our area starting at 12-14K a year..PER KID. Talk about cray cray….
I am asked ALL the time why we would ever choose to do something as crazy as this. The very short answer, (which is sometimes wildly misunderstood or better yet so simple people think I don’t care about educating my kids…that I have had to add many others to the list just to satisfy the naysayer) is relationship and leadership. I want the kids to KNOW their parents well, and we want to KNOW them well, KNOW each other well and KNOW their God well….in addition…we want them to KNOW how to lead well. If they have those foundational things….all the rest settles into place nicely.
Number one thing people say against homeschooling is “socialization”. I used to rebuttal that…now I just say “sure” and inconspicuously roll my eyes. I mean really..at this point… I don’t care to change anyone’s mind.
Yes, I hate the FCAT….yes I hate how little exercise kids get in public schools, I hate the food offered, I hate the amount of unnecessary work given at such young ages…and I hate the classroom model as a whole. I think it is broke, broke, broken….at least broken if you want to develop kids who have deep relationship, grow into leaders and actually can think through a problem instead of think through the latest music video or fashion trend but all of that is secondary really. That does happen in very small margins within the traditional model…I just wasn’t willing to take the chance that my kids would not hit that part of the bell curve.
So..if you are new to homeschooling or a veteran, I have compiled ten tips that will help you as you move along in your journey of curious exploration together as a family….
2. Have a plan or scope and sequence, I like to think of it as structured curiosity and observation…
3. Be prepared to tweak the plan…at all times..because you will think you are superhuman and want to teach 75 things amazingly well…when in actuality you will find a rich life of experiences all the time and 4 strong core subjects daily will do the trick nicely in the early years.
4. Surround yourself with a few friends who cheer you on…not question your every move.
5. Your first year out… be prepared to be questioned at every turn by everyone from the grocery store clerk to the well meaning parent at sports practice. Make darn sure you know why you are doing this and where you are going or you will end up frustrated and second guessing yourself hourly. I recommend writing out your educational goals for the year and for the full 12 years and going back and reading it quarterly if need be. It will guide you along the way helping you chart the course of creating educational experiences for you babes…who will fast grow into adults.
6. See #1
7. Be okay with the fact that not every day or every year even will be rainbows and unicorns. This is hard but worthy work. Just keep your eye on the prize. Homeschooling isn’t nirvana for sure! I like to say….the grass is not greener anywhere else, you just have to pick the side with less weeds.
8. You will quickly see your child is unique and learns in their own beautiful way and their own pacing. Oh sure strive to keep them on some type of “standard” with kids their age within reason but realize it is a bell curve. My oldest was reading at a 12th grade level in 3rd grade…my youngest is just above grade level in reading in third grade but will start Algebra next year so…how do you put that on a scan tron? Likely all of your kids will be as different as mine are.
9. Try to stay organized from the beginning. It will make your life easier at the end of the year when you need to do your portfolio review. My organization is just slightly above a box with each kid’s name on that I throw their work in each week. My girl friend has color coded everything and when I look at it, I start hyperventilating thinking how does she pull this crap off..this is amazing. Then I remember, I am unique too. God gave me these kids, knowing I was the best for them, and I am doing my very best to bless them with a life of learning. Which leads me back to my first point.
10. See #1..again…daily most likely. It is key to make sure you take time to keep developing your own hobbies and interests outside of kids. Keep working on yourself. Homeschooling, much like parenting will expose your deepest strengths AND weaknesses and give you a chance to work on both. Embrace it, and enjoy all the joy that comes with working away at a noble and worthy task.
Praying many blessings for you and yours as you jump into this life of learning!