Oh, dear, sweet mama.
If you found yourself here because this question of how to start homeschooling is heavy on your heart I hope you will find encouragement here. I wish we could sit down and chat with some hot cups of tea. Or mugs of coffee. Whichever you prefer. I happen to greatly enjoy both.
I remember when I was pregnant with our second (and last) child and I had these enormous feelings of fear that I couldn’t handle two – I couldn’t imagine it. How would I balance two under 18 months? How would I feed them both? Get them both dressed? Would I ever leave my house again? I laugh looking back. I would even forget all those fears if they weren’t so well documented in my journals. The baby arrived and life just continued. We fell into a rhythm. We figured out what things worked and what things did not work.
Isn’t that how life works?
Looking forward things are often scary, intimidating, and larger than life. Looking back we can see things in their proper perspective, and often times see the beauty and blessings and growth. Right now you’re looking forward; wondering how to start homeschooling. But know that just as you’ve passed through many milestones of uncertainty and newness in the past you will pass through this one, too. I have some practical, tangible steps to offer, but first and foremost I want to encourage you to remember that we serve a good and faithful God.
Encouragement From His Word
He will not leave you, nor desert you. (Hebrews 13:5)
God has not given you a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I LOVE that verse. In it’s fullness it says;
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Sound mind. Fears and insecurities abound as a mother. And they are multiplied when it comes to the education of our children. But God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear – we have been given a sound mind. We can logically and rationally reason out our choices and live free from the fear that Satan would want to cripple us with.
Find the Joy in the Journey
You might be at any stage right now, looking at jumping into this wild ride. Where ever it is that you find yourself jumping in, know that all of the past has been a part of this journey. You haven’t missed anything. This is a journey, and while we must stay the course and do it well and strive to honor the Lord through it, it is neither a race nor a journey to compare to one another. We all move differently. We live uniquely. The places you have been in the past, the lessons the Lord has taught you, are pieces He is bringing together to equip you for this journey forward with your children. You can do this. Because you are not alone.
Our journey into homeschooling started in the early years. I cannot recall how old they were when we started, but I used Leapfrog DVDs early on as they did an excellent job at teaching letter sounds.
I read to them every day, both at level and above level stuff. (You can see some of my book lists here) I also played a lot of audiobooks – the Bible on audio being the main one while they were young.
Learning letter sounds is the foundation to reading, and being read to is the foundation for learning to love to read yourself. Those were the important foundations we built in their younger days. I talked to them a lot, and that filled in a lot of blanks. Incorporating basic “skills” in conversations rather that stressing about making sure things got done – like getting them to help me count how many apples we put into a bag, going over shapes with household items we were using, telling me how many plates we needed on the dinner table if we had three dinner guests join our family of four, etc.
We have moved on from those simpler days, but if your journey finds you at the early days of your children’s education enjoy the entire journey. Don’t get frazzled and worn out before they finish kindergarten.
There are many schooling options, and it’s truly overwhelming looking at what they all are. I think it is useful to have some understanding of the pros and cons of various “styles” or “educational philosophies” – the danger is that it can be extremely time consuming and I would caution that there is no perfect approach. However, I have found my reading to be useful in terms of helping me define what I do and do not want in my home.
I have chosen Charlotte Mason because it most closely lines up with what makes sense to me for raising my children. Her principles are strong on discipline and habit training. She uses narration, which is where the child recites back to you in their own words what they heard/understand from the book read to them. She embraces beautiful, rich books, encourages outdoor exploration, and diving into the arts.
In fact, Charlotte Mason has a beautiful quote which states;
“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
Resources For Those Looking to Start Homeschooling
Some precious resources to encourage you at any stage during your homeschool journey:
Teaching From Rest; A Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah McKenzie
For the Children’s Sake; Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Sally and Clay Clarkson
Questions to Consider:
- What draws you to the idea of homeschooling?
- What is holding you back from homeschooling?
- Is it worth crossing the bridge between what you want and what is holding you back? What would the cost be?