Monday, June 17, 2013 marked a special occasion for our family. We began homeschooling!
The decision to home school my teenager started this past January, when my husband and I concluded that even after two years in a exemplary rated high school, our 16 year old son just wasn't reaching his potential. It appeared as though he was just going through the motions with nothing to inspire him to learn or to help him toward the career path he wanted to take after high school.
By April, we all agreed that Matt would be finishing the year and then staying home for the rest of high school. With only two years left until graduation, taking him out was in no was a simple decision! However, knowing Matt as we do, we are confident that he will make bigger strides in these next two years at home.
It was one of the last days of school that I had the opportunity to talk privately with my youngest son's fourth grade teacher. The conversation was enlightening and frank and helped confirm some other hesitations that I had about homeschooling Joshua. It was only a week later that my husband and I agreed that we would home school Joshua as well.
What was I getting myself into?
From a mom who went from "No way!" to homeschooling to "I'm all in!" -- Let me share a couple tips that I have learned that could be helpful to you if this is a consideration for your family.
1. PRAY. As parents of the possible home schooled child, this is imperative. We knew our family dynamics would change. The "Go" from God is necessary. With His direction, we are at peace about what we are doing, no matter what may come.
2. Get advice from other homeschooling moms. I have friends who have been homeschooling for some time, and it was highly beneficial to sit for coffee and get their opinions, suggestions and recommendations. While choosing curriculum and the method for schooling is solely your husband's and your decision, encouragement from others is certainly appreciated! I haven't yet met a homeschooling mom (or past homeschooling mom) who regretted her decision. The best comment I heard was from a friend who said: "Of course you can do this! You'll be great!" Sometimes that's all you need.
3. Refrain from sharing your decision right away with moms (or family) who don't home school. When I started mentioning our intentions of homeschooling both boys, I received a lot of "Wow. I could never, ever home school my kids!" and even "That's too much for you to handle." Hearing this from friends and family, I began to wonder if I should rethink my decision. (Thank goodness I followed Lesson #1!)
4. Once you decide, start. We started June 17th. Why? Because one to two days a week for a couple hours is perfect for all of us to get our feet wet, and I can observe with intent the best ways that my kids learn. My teen is a great independent learner with not as much hands-on needed; my youngest works better when I am sitting right beside him.
5. Start simple. We chose two summer subjects for each of our boys. They will be completing Music Appreciation (the curriculum was free online), our teen is doing English Literature, and the youngest, Science. Because we are not on anyone else's schedule, we can take as little or as much time as we need this summer. And since they are already reading, I make sure they are getting books on the subjects they enjoy!
6. Start looking for lessons in the day to day. Things to begin teaching are right in front of us. My husband gave the boys a horticultural mini lesson as they helped him with landscaping last week. The reason that Josh is learning weather science this summer is because he has been completely enamored with watching the series "Stormchasers" on Netflix. We are also incorporating American History by planning a couple stops on our summer vacation road trip that will give both boys a learning experience about the Civil War. (How I put together curriculum for free will be shared in a subsequent post.)
Since the goal of Muses of a Mom is to minister to women of all stages of life, sharing my homeschooling adventures seems like a natural progression. Hopefully my muses here will be helpful and insightful if you are thinking about homeschooling, preparing for homeschooling or you are already in the thick of homeschooling! Nothing is better than knowing that someone else out there is going through the same experiences! More to come.
Are you currently a homeschooling parent? What is a lesson you learned as you started on this adventure with your family?