Homeschooling is an amazing experience where you can make your own rules and unleash your child’s full potential towards their passions, strengths, and development. In light of COVID-19, many parents are entertaining the idea of homeschooling — but there are certain challenges you need to consider.
Homeschooling requires careful planning and practicality, among other considerations. You may have a Pinterest-inspired idea of homeschooling in your mind, but how to navigate the reality of that idea to fruition takes patience, determination, and creativity.
Here are five crucial tips to consider before homeschooling:
Know Why You’re Homeschooling
Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk discussing how the greatest brands didn’t grow their companies by telling the world what they do. They grew their companies by starting with why they do what they do. Homeschooling should not be an “easier way,” but it should be the best decision for you and your family. So ask yourself, “Why am I willing to change the dynamics of my family’s lifestyle to homeschool? Is it to provide a better education? To spend more time as a family? To provide a safe space for my children to grow and flourish?” Once you know your “why,” establishing goals will come naturally and be the driving force when you face homeschooling challenges.
Identify Your Strengths & Skills
Many newcomers to homeschooling feel they have to know everything about everything to provide their children with a quality education. This is one of the greatest myths of homeschooling! If you’re good at just one subject (i.e. art, writing, math, culinary) or have one set of skills (i.e. baking, debate, research, organization) you’re qualified to teach your children. For example, when I was homeschooling my son in 2nd grade, I asked him what he wanted to learn about. He said excitedly, “Bread!” We researched the history of bread and how it was a political, religious, and societal staple in ancient civilizations (history, reading). We learned how to cook bread from scratch and the different ways other cultures cook it (math, science, social studies, and anthropology). Then he had to write a paragraph about what he learned and present it to his family — I mean, class (writing, speech, leadership). One topic that he was interested in covered nine subjects! What was my skill that was the foundation for this endeavor? As a PhD, it was “research” and “leadership.”
Check for Availability of Resources
Homeschooling does not require you to have a full-on chalkboard in your living room (although many mamas are that ambitious). But it does require you to have the resources you need to make sure you and your student(s) are successful. Are you more of a digital mom who needs a Google Calendar and iPhone notes to stay organized? Traditional mom who uses a planner and printouts to plan your day? Whimsical mom who kind of tracks everything mentally (and forgets it all — that’s me!)?
Once you figure out how you roll, make lists of the essential items you need to purchase or ensure you have on hand: Furniture (i.e. desks, kitchen table, chairs, command center), materials (i.e. paper, pencils, notebooks, bins), and most importantly curriculum (i.e. online curriculum, Christian curriculum, advance studies curriculum). You may think of other lists, but the goal is to write down the things you’ll need.
Know the State Laws
Instead of explaining this, visit this link and educate yourself!
Be Ready to Breathe
Many mamas come into homeschooling worrying about social skills, the perfect curriculum, regression of development — the list goes on.
I want to give you permission and space to breathe. For the past few months, you were teacher, principal, secretary, disciplinarian, and maybe even chaplain. You have shown how capable you are of leading your children through a learning experience. And guess what. You survived! Take some time for yourself when you need to and mentally guide yourself to putting the teacher hat back on. Speak life into your children and enjoy watching them flourish before your eyes!
The success of homeschooling depends more on your mindset and how prepared you are to persevere and overcome challenges. The tips mentioned above can help you prepare yourself mentally for the road ahead and encourage you to think through why you’re homeschooling, how you’re going to do it, and what you’re actually going to do. God speed!