Monday, June 6, 2011

Tri-Moms: Beginning Homeschooling

This week, the Tri-Moms want to discuss beginning homeschooling.   If you've read my blog long enough, you know I'm a big proponent of homeschooling.  I was even homeschooled myself from 6th through 12th grade. That experience helped immensely when it came to choosing curriculum for my own children.  I knew what I had personally enjoyed and if I got stuck, I knew lots of other moms I trusted  to ask advice.  

However, I was surprised at how inadequate I felt when I began homeschooling.   I think it could be better defined as unsure or vulnerable... and even though I gain more enthusiasm every year, there are still  many days when I feel that same inadequacy now.   I love curriculum talk, but I thought it could more beneficial to address the emotional and mental side of beginning to homeschool. 

5 Things To Remember When 
Beginning Homeschooling

1) You can do it!  This is not some feel-good pep talk.  That's just not my style.  But you really can do it.  I have so many women tell me that they can't homeschool because they don't have the patience or the money or the education to do it, but if you want to homeschool your children, you can do it!
I lose my cool sometimes...I don't have super-human coping skills.
My husband cuts grass for a living...we are far from rich.

I didn't graduate from college...

You can do it! 

2) There is no perfect curriculum.  Gavin will be entering fourth grade in August, and through trial and error, we have stumbled upon curriculum that fits our family.  I feel like we really hit our stride last year, but what works for me might not work for you.  What works for me today might not work for me tomorrow.  (We learned last year with our math curriculum.) 

You don't need lots of money to teach your children either.  When Maddie finished her first grade math and phonics programs early last year, I purchased a workbook from Target that she loved so much we plan to buy her the same workbook in the second grade level when our school resumes in August.  We also utilize our public library system.  Nothing beats free!

3) You know best for your own children.  One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is that children do not have to conform to the timetable of the school system.  If your child can read chapter books, but is struggling with basic addition, that's okay.  If he can multiply three digit numbers, but has trouble writing his numbers correctly (or writing at all), that's okay, too.  As moms we have the ability to sense our children's abilities and adapt our teaching to their needs. 

Sometimes the academics are going smoothly, but you still wonder if you are teaching enough or teaching too much or teaching the right things.  You wonder if you are kind enough or firm enough or taking too many days off or pushing  too hard.  You wonder if possibly someone else could be doing a better job...someone who has a teaching degree, perhaps.  My husband went to public school for all 13 years of his grade-school education, but he is my biggest cheerleader.   He reminds me to look at the big picture,  focusing on how happy they are and all that they've learned and accomplished.

4) Life is learning.  Take the pressure off of yourself.  There will be seasons of rigorous learning and there will be periods of rest.  We've had a new baby every other school year.  We moved to a new home this year.  For you it could be a surgery or a trip or a death in the family.  Regardless of the circumstances, we've had to adjust our expectations accordingly and remember that even if we aren't picking up the pencils, we are most definitely learning-- learning life skills, learning to care, learning to live.
5) Reading Shakespeare or learning to count to a million means nothing if your children can't stand each other.   So you're not sure you have the confidence to teach chemistry... and you don't have money to buy the latest math program... and you wonder every day if you doing a good job.. and you haven't had a full school day in the past month?  It all pales in light of what is most important. Homeschooling is about relationships-- relationships with each other and ultimately a relationship with our Saviour.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

If we remember that our most important job is raising people who love the Lord, the rest will fall into place.

Suzanne is this week's hostess.  Hop on over to her blog and read her take on beginning homeschooling.  She's a huge proponent, too!  And don't forget Kathi!   If you need a bit of encouragement, we're all in this together.  If you have something to add to the conversation, don't be shy about typing out a comment or a question or a whole blog post of your own.  We'd love to read what you have to say. 

Up next: Tri-Moms talk Routine
June 21
Linky Hostess: me

Coming Soon:
July 5: Bulk Shopping
July 19: Worshiping at Home
August  2: Summer Fun on a Budget


  1. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I think it's also important to remember that even trained, public school teachers often feel inadequate.

    I know when I taught 5th grade there were many times I wished I could change the curriculum or the timetable in which it was taught, I'm very excited that with homeschooling I will be able to do exactly that.

  2. ohhhh i loved this post!! it perfectly spoke to my heart...and i'm not even "beginning" homeschooling. thanks for sharing your heart!!

  3. a great post of encouragement! =)
    keeping it real, homeschool style, love it.


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