It’s funny. The things we find ourselves passionate about as we get older. If you had asked me twenty years ago if I would homeschool my children, Heck No…No Way! But now it’s one of the things I am most passionate about. I have now been home educating my children for going on six years and every year around this time the questions start to flow in. I get asked about curriculum, routines, planners, but the one I am getting the most is “Where do I start?” So I thought I would share some of the things I wish I understood when I first started out. Now I say “Understood” because I was told some of these things many times by beloved and trusted friends but it didn’t truly sink in, and oh how I wish it had.
I’m not going to address specific curriculum choices, routines, or even the requirements for homeschooling in this post, though I could talk about them for hours. In my opinion those areas are not the place to start. I want to talk about what I found important to setting a firm foundation for your homeschool years. I pray you find these helpful.
Ok these are in no particular order but this first one needs to come first.
Pray daily, multiple times, about homeschooling. Ask the Lord to guide your steps, Every Single Step, along the way. When you are planning Ask Him to lead you to the right curriculum, method of schooling, your routine, Co-Op and even friends for you and your kiddos. Pray every morning over your children and your school day.
*Stay in the Word:
I am going to be honest here, I slip up on this one, and I always feel it when I do. The enemy does not want you to home educate your children, so he will attack. You need to be putting on you armor every morning, sometimes you might need to polish it up in the afternoon as well.
*Write down you why (Mission Statement):
I didn’t do this until just this year, and oh my goodness let me tell you it was amazing. The reason why it took me so long was because I kept telling myself I didn’t know how to do it. I’ve never written a mission statement before but here’s what I figured out. It didn’t matter if I knew how to write one because it’s only for me. Of course I can share it if I want but the bottom line it the mission statement isn’t going on a website to tell others who or what my homeschool is all about. The sole purpose of this mission statement it to keep me on track. This statement I came up with is filled with what my “WHY” is. Why I chose to homeschool in the first place, why I am still homeschooling going on my sixth year. So when you sit down to write yours out it can be as simple as “Because God told me to” with a scripture or two to remind you where your heart is today as you get ready to start. As you get further into homeschooling then you can polish it up. Do not let the thought of “I don’t know how” stop you as long as it is coming from your heart and out of prayer…you’re golden.
*World View Matters:
When I first started out I used a Christian curriculum, that I loved, however they used secular books. They did this so you as the parent could decide how you wanted to teach subjects like evolution, big bang theory, and the age of the earth. Though we loved the books we were studying out of, I mean they had amazing pictures and stories, but I was spending twice the amount of time correcting the curriculum, explaining to my kids that what was being taught wasn’t what we believed in, it wasn’t truth. In the end my kids where confused on why the textbooks, which was supposed to be the “authority” wasn’t accurate, and I was frustrated because we were always running long in our days. Everything is a world view. You either have a Secular world view or a Biblical world view, of course there are variations in each one but I’m not going to get into those. The world view in the curriculum you choose will set the foundation for your kid’s adult life. You might not think so but think back to when you were a kid, things you watched and read they all influenced your way of thinking as an adult. It has the potential to plant a seed of doubt and even disbelief. The percentage of children who have grown up in the church but walk away by the time they reach high school is alarming. Now I do still teach my children all these subjects, including other cultures and religious beliefs but I teach them from a biblical world view. This helps to set a firm foundation as well as help teach them how to defend their faith. Another perk of putting world view at the forefront is it will narrow down some of your curriculum choices. Which in the homeschooling pool of abundant curriculum choices this could really be helpful.
*Homeschooling is just an extension of parenting:
When we bring our bundles of joy home we feel all the emotions, right. We’re excited, exhausted, terrified and just overcome with more love then we ever thought possible. However, most of us never truly question if we are qualified to be their parents. Oh sure we question if we’re “good enough’ or “doing the right thing” or “Oh Lord please don’t let me screw them up” right? Deep down we know we are qualified because the Lord chose us for them and the love we feel for them drives everything we do, as parents we would do anything for our kids. It’s the same for homeschooling. Think about it you have already been educating your kids. You teach them to eat, walk, talk, use a toilet, ride a bike, brush their teeth and hair, ABCs and 123s, Shapes, colors… Most importantly you are teaching them right from wrong, Christian morals. Home education is no different. I promise you the Lord has fully equipped you to be your child’s parent, He has already equipped you to be their teacher as well.
*And lastly, Enjoy every second:
Oh…I have been told this from day one. Just have fun with them, enjoy the journey. But I did not listen back then I stressed and worried about the academics and if I was doing enough and it made all of us miserable. Our kiddos are only little for such a short time, let them be little. They will learn through play and discovery. Sure you want to cover all the academics but don’t stress if they aren’t reading by the end of kindergarten they will get there in their time. Just enjoy it all, even the rough days, because there will be rough days. On those rough days do not forget to give yourself grace. Open up your mission statement read it again, put on some worship music and praise the Lord for allowing you to have this day with your kids and pray for the strength to do it again tomorrow.
Well my friends I hope this was helpful. I know there is so much more to think about before starting but I felt these were the most important things to set a good foundation for your homeschool. Now if you have already started and you haven’t done these things that’s ok, every school year is a fresh start.
I am so excited for what the Lord has in store for you all. I will be praying for you and your journey ahead.