I have had many moms tell me that they would like to Homeschool, but just couldn’t do it for one reason or other. I’ve also had moms look into homeschooling and ask me what or how I’m doing it. I’m not going to lie to you; just like anything in parenting, there are good days and stressful times. I would like to give a layout for things to look into when considering homeschooling or to prove to you that it isn’t really that difficult; it all boils down to choice.
#1 Know why you’re doing it and if you know you have God’s blessing, whatever happens, you know that the end result is what you’re working for.
Make a list of pros and cons then pray about what God wants you to do. If you receive peace when thinking about which way you want to go, you have your answer. If you feel like the subject just won’t leave you alone, you have your answer. The Spirit works in still, small ways to get your attention.
I started out with one reason. I wanted my son to have the self-confidence he needed to deal with the hard things in life. His and my personality take things hard and I felt I could teach him to handle things well. At the time, I even set a goal that if he wanted to attend high school, I would let him choose. The Lord has dealt with me on this issue over time. Homeschool has done wonders for all of my children and the reasons have multiplied!
#2 Know the laws of your state.
I’ve never had my kids signed up for public school, so I don’t know if you have to sign something saying that you’re pulling them out? In some states, the only law is to keep track of attendance. There is also a group of lawyers, HSLDA, that protect homeschoolers if needed.
#3 Curriculum choices: The Choice is Yours for the taking!
Some people don’t see any difference with public school curriculum or any other that they would choose. If you agree with their programs and just want to keep them home, I believe you would just sign up to do at home study and meet online with a teacher once a week for a video conference. The up-side is the cost, and you don’t feel like you’re schooling on your own. The down-side is that you have no freedom to take time off when you want, and you have to stick to a strict schedule. If it’s not done in time, they still do fail.
Some people go with a group that helps with subjects private school or public. There is K-12, Classical Conversations, and many other groups that you can sign up with. They send you the schoolwork and you send it back completed. This is the type of schooling that I did in high-school. They may also have the schoolwork available to do online if you choose. The up-side is, again, you don’t feel like you’re doing it on your own, and you still can choose the school. The down-side is the cost.
My favorite is doing it all on my own. But I started since pre-school, so I know what works now in certain things and others I’m still learning. The up-side is that you have complete control of how fast your kid is learning, and what he is learning. The down-side is that you are on your own (except I’ve felt the Spirit lead me this far) The financial is in the middle: it’s not expensive, but it’s as much as you would pay for public school books unless they are free.
Supplemental work is up to you. I feel that if there is one subject that they are having a hard time grasping, that a workbook in that area would help to catch them up and help them feel confident. I also like to find cheap or free video learning games to help and use that every day to help with our Spanish, typing, and multiplication tables. I also love Sign Language videos that inspire us to learn and sing along. These are all extra fun things that make it fun for us. There are always cheap innovative ways to make learning fun, if that’s something that you choose. These things have helped us to “do school” while I’ve been sick or need to catch up on additional work myself.
#4 And finally, you decide your week/day. How much time do you want to put into school for the day? What subjects do you want to study when? Are you available every day or do you need to work? Do you have to work around any other schedules or events?
This is the most fun for me. When I first began home-schooling, I worked 3 days/wk and my son was with me all the time. Then, it was only pre-school, so I only did “school” with him while I worked. (He was in the same house as me) When I transferred to another place, I continued doing school on the 3 week-days that I was NOT at work. When he began Kindergarten work, I had him do some worksheets while I worked and my mom watched him those two days/wk.
Now that I’m home with 4 kids, I do full school 3 days/wk and 2 lighter days. We used to take Monday as a lighter day because attitudes and work ethics are in need of adjustment… now I plunge in. I feel we need a break in the middle of the week to spend time out of the house or with friends and Fridays we do projects of what we learned or go out on a Field Trip a lot of times with other homeschoolers we know.
We used to have each subject get one day of the week, unless it was harder to understand. Now, science takes up a little more of our time because we love it so much. I spread it out now to 3 days/wk instead of one and have since done the same with all the rest. There’s always the main subjects, but if you want to add extra, that’s up to you and what’s right for your family.
As for P.E., I have had a difficult time physically, but I just make sure they do 15 minutes of aerobic activity a day. My kids love the Wii games for Wii Fit and Dance Kids. Other times, when it’s nice, they run around for 15 minutes or ride bikes or even dance to music inside. We also do special strengthening exercises on the side to make sure our joints don’t pop out of place. Like I said, everyone’s different. =)
As for our Daily Schedule, I find that it’s better to get our work done in the morning. The problem is that I also need time for me to take care of myself. So, the kids get up at 8am, breakfast around 9am, and school starts on the dot at 10am. Currently, I have to divide my attention, so I do school with the younger two first while the older two do Science and History together. We have a snack in the middle for a quick break.We usually end with our studies around 1pm unless someone is having a hard time with self-discipline.
Some days, my children have fought me on doing their schoolwork and procrastinated. I learned, for us, that the threat of getting up all the earlier the next day to do school before breakfast worked. Working on graded work after school wore us both out considering there are also chores for us both to do. So, we’ve decided to go over graded work on Saturday before pancakes. If they refuse, they miss out on pancakes and have cereal instead. Everybody finds their own discipline methods. It’s hard to teach self-discipline, but it is worth it.
We also don’t do our school year the same as everyone else. I started doing our schoolyear in January with my first because I love the New Year change over. We take days off when convenient… like my sister coming home and visiting for a month. (they did worksheets everyday, but that was it) or when I had a baby we took off a month. Or vacation time etc. I also end the school year around Thanksgiving, so we can concentrate on what’s important. It’s too stressful around the holidays to focus on our studies, however, it’s also stressful having them complain about being bored or picking on each other. They do worksheets on most days. I don’t think it’s fair for them to work on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day… or even their birthday. Depending on what method you choose, you can do it whatever way is best for your family.
I hope you are inspired to research for yourself on what is best for your family instead of being held back by yourself or others’ opinions; even those of your own kids. Pray about it and ask the Lord what He wants you to do, and go from there.