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New to Homeschooling or Unschooling?

When you’re first getting started with homeschooling it’s easy to be confused – whether you’re pulling your child out of public school or you’re just getting your little ones started.   There are a lot of myths about homeschooling because it’s all custom work.  No matter how you decide to educate your kids – it’s your choice.

One thing about homeschooling is that you shouldn’t even use the word “school” in the description, though we all do!  Think about the reasons you wanted to start educating your children at home in the first place – it’s probably not to duplicate the “school” environment – so don’t.  This is the reason that most homeschoolers send their children back to public school is because they think they’ve failed at doing “school” – this couldn’t be more wrong!  Start educating instead – give your kids the love of learning instead of forcing them to do what you wanted to get or keep them away from in the first place.  Play around with them in the kitchen, outside, read to them give them some craft/art supplies, and see what they like doing – stop worrying if they’re up to par with public school grade level.

And if you’ve taken them out of public school – they may need some time to “deschool” first – this can take weeks, months or a year – and you sometimes have to gradually introduce your homeschooling methods – though some children would rather have a desk and chalkboard with a regular schedule.  But, always remember – you don’t have to teach every subject every day – try to give them time to be creative.  The truth is no matter how much you put into lessons – if the child is interested in space and you’re teaching botany – they aren’t going to learn much.  So, you do have to do some planning around what your child is interested in – but at the same time it doesn’t mean that because he doesn’t like math that he doesn’t have to learn it!

New to Homeschooling?We had the same trouble with a couple of the kids – my eldest responded very well to the “school-like” environment, so I thought I was doing it right.  I found with the second two that it didn’t work the same and after trial and error I found it was my methods, not my ability.  We have since become very eclectic in our teaching as the children have gotten older and their interests are more apparent.  Though I still prefer to teach from a more classical perspective, we do some subjects a little different.  We now teach the main subjects – such as English and Math, by their needs and ability.  Subjects like Science, Art, Music and History we teach by interest level – we delve deeper into what they’re most interested in and use a wide variety of methods.  With homeschooling you really have the opportunity to think outside the box and do what you do best.

Never compare yourself with anyone else and never let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be homeschooling.  There’s people everywhere that will tell you how to live your life – but nobody, anywhere, anytime knows how to live your life but you and your family.  And just because someone else’s kids learn better using this or that curriculum doesn’t mean you have to get it or that you’re family will do well with it.  I’m going to repeat myself – Home Education is all Custom Work!  There is no right way or wrong way to do it – nobody knows what your children need better than their parents.  Period.  It’s written on your heart and soul how to take care of your children from the minute they’re born – it’s instinct, it’s already there – you know what to do even if you  don’t know it yet!  It’s the same with homeschooling – you’ll learn as your children do.  And – don’t think that you’ve messed up with the first one or two and have regrets about wishing you would have known about this or that “before” – your children are given to you in the order they’re supposed to be and you are to know what you have learned when – just as they are.  Amazing to think about – isn’t it?  Never any reason for regret – things really do happen when and how they’re supposed to.

The big thing really is to enjoy being with your children and not try to duplicate public school – let them be creative, give them the tools to learn and do not worry about anything.  You do not have to teach every subject every day, you don’t have to keep any certain schedule.  If your child doesn’t do well with worksheets, then drop them for awhile and do something else – instill the love of learning before you try to teach anything. Sometime next year she may love the worksheets – but if she doesn’t – don’t fret.   Try audio cd’s, videos, books on subjects she’s interested in, give her some markers and paints and look more into unschooling and state laws, do what works for you, your kids, your family – it’s easier than you think to give your kids the best education without having “school” at home.  Always remember – God gave you the children you have because you’re what they need – you’ll always be good enough.