Starting something new can be challenging… whether you are not sure how to begin or whether you know what to do but lack the confidence to do it.
I had both. Educating at home was a dream but there were LOTS of curriculum choices and LOTS of fears. And of course, there were lots of opinions from others.
I’ll cover curriculum in future posts, so we will move on to fear. Fear is not from the Lord. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” As a Jesus follower, you have the POWER to do this! You have the LOVE to do this! You have the SOUND MIND to do this! 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 talks about God being your strength when you are weak. With Jesus by your side, you have what you need to lead your children in any and every situation of their life.
One week before we announced to our family our intentions to school at home, a conversation came up during an extended family dinner that involved a dislike for homeschoolers. Oh boy. We anticipated an interesting reception to our coming announcement – but it actually went well. I’m not sure if it was because they really thought it was a good idea or if they just didn’t want to hurt our feelings. Either way… we have learned through the years that the opinions of others isn’t our driving force. We ONLY need the approval of the One we serve: Jesus.
No matter what anyone says or how you feel at a certain moment, you as teacher and parent are the BEST choice in teaching your children. No one on this earth will ever love your children as much as you do or desire their best as much as you will. You have been teaching them every day of their life and will continue to into their adulthood. ( Here is a lesson I learned not to long ago from my mom… after all these years, I am still learning from her!)
So now begins some preparation.
Remember when I said in Homeschooling Rocks! Part 1 that I’ve changed quite a bit since I first begin teaching 12 years ago? A deeper walk with the Lord and prayer life is one of those changes. Cover your plans in prayer. Things I prayed (and still do):
- Guidance as to what we should concentrate on each new school year (what subjects and how often to do them).
- What outside activities to participate in. (Yes, you can be too busy!)
- How to adjust my schedule (cleaning, laundry, phone interruptions, and internet) so I would be available to give school my full attention.
- That God would fill any gaps that I might miss. (and trust Him with that!)
A great second step is to buddy up with a veteran (or two) in the homeschooling world. Where do you find one? Look around you. Are there any in your family? Fellow church members? Friends? Friend of a friend? If you don’t find a real live homeschool person to buddy up with, there are many online sites – Google it. (that’s one of my favorite things to do) Here is a place to begin if you need help. If you like asking questions and looking through forums, this is a great one. A buddy can share “secrets” to what things worked for them and what things didn’t. I was always taking notes when I was with fellow homeschoolers. I wrote down websites that were recommended and tucked away experiences and ideas that sounded like they would fit our family.
I also researched. I love to research – anything and everything! In my research, I found two books that I highly recommend. I believe both can be found in a library. (Here’s a tidbit you might not have known: A library is a homeschooler’s best friend. So get a library card if you do not have one!)
The book A WELL TRAINED HEART is awesome for any parent – not just a homeschooling one (although it is written by a homeschooling couple).
And THE WAY THEY LEARNED gave me clues how not everyone is just like me – and others don’t learn like I do – it also gave ideas on how to handle that difference.
This is where I will say: Go read those two books! And stay tuned… next time you will learn practical tips in selecting curriculum as well as setting up your school day. It’s not as hard as you may think…