Aug 13, 2011

How to Homeschool in 5 Easy Steps

Homeschool-To provide educational instruction in the home, outside the institutional setting.

It’s so simple, yet so complicated at times. Education begins at birth and seems to come naturally as a mother encourages her baby to suck the bottle, respond to cooing, reach for a toy, and eventually sleep through the night. Babies DEMAND our time. As a child gets older, they slowly become more
independent and demand our time less and less. One day you wake up and realize that your child can dress himself, fix himself a meal, and make phone calls without your help.

It is important that we focus our time on our increasingly independent children just as much as we did when they were babies. Our focus changes from diapering and feeding to educating and inspiring. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds, and with some prayer, will come just as naturally as soothing a crying baby.

There are some key points to learning how to homeschool and knowing where to start. 

1. Think about it.

This may sound too simple. Often moments of inspiration and learning pass by quietly from our lives. With a little thought, these natural moments can become an event that creates curiosity and engagement in learning.

*Think about your day from beginning to end. Write down at least one moment when your child showed each of the following emotions: curiosity, excitement, positivity, sadness, being bored. How could you have turned these emotions into an educational moment?

2. Make your house a home

God created the foundation of the family way back in the Garden of Eden. Throughout the Bible, we see prime examples of characters who show us how to be a Godly mother and wife. Homeschooling brings the family back together to spend the majority of their day at home. For this to be a success, the home must be a non-threatening, comfortable, yet controlled place where everyone can feel refuge.

There are many aspects to creating a home. This involves all of the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. As mothers, we commonly misconceive that a clean home is a happy home. The only way to have a truly happy home is to make Christ the center of it.

*Include your kids by having them use their senses to brainstorm ways to make your house more comfortable.

3. Have Confidence

The birth of your first baby can be an exciting, yet terrifying time. Many new parents are almost scared to touch the baby for fear of breaking him or doing something wrong. The reality is babies are tough, and just want to be near their mom and dad to bond and grow.

Homeschooling can be terrifying also. You have to dig in, just like you did with that first dirty diaper, and remember that your child is tough and resilient, and deep inside, still longs for your attention and love, no matter their age. You’ll find that the more time spend together, the more that bond strengthens.

*Find Philippians 4:13 and post it in a place where you can remember it often. When doubts enter your mind, quote the verse and have confidence that God will help you through!

4. Find your Style

It may not happen right away, but you will eventually find a homeschool style that works for you. It takes a little patience, and a lot of prayer, but as you get to know your child better, it will become more evident which style is right for your child. There are many styles including classical, unschooling, school at home, unit studies, eclectic, and a variety of other styles to choose from.

*Consider your child’s learning style, whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Also, take into consideration any learning disabilities, attention problems, and special interests the child may have. This may help to determine which style is right for you.

5. Develop a Plan

Decide how you will incorporate learning into your day. Search for books, curriculum, units, and other resources to make learning fun. There are many resources available for a range of budgets. Set some goals for each subject area, and develop a plan for how you will achieve those goals. Of course, it is important to know the homeschool laws in the state where you live. Many require testing, documentation, or a requirement of days or hours for homeschoolers.  

*There’s nothing wrong with buying a “box” curriculum and just following their plan, especially if this is your first year. With your child’s help, write down things throughout the year that you may want to change or do differently the next year. 

There are some great resources and books out there for moms and dads who are considering homeschool as an option, or are trying to learn how to homeschool. It's good to be open minded to the ideas of others, but always pray and ultimately go with what God puts on your heart to do.

Until Next Time,