As you watch your child grow up, you are amazed! The way that they pick up on things is fascinating to you. They really are like little sponges just soaking up the world around them. It gets you thinking, “Is she ready for formal education?”, “What do I need to teach her next?” And “Do I need to sign her up for preschool or, can I do this on my own?”
As a mom of nine I can tell you that every child is different. I can also tell you that because you are asking these questions, you are taking the next step of intentional parenting. You don’t have to do what everyone else does nor in the way they are doing it. Instead of following the crowd, why not investigate the possibility of home education? God gave you this child, you are the perfect one to parent and teach them!
Oh, I Hear Your Concern:
Am I qualified to teach my child? Absolutely you are! The passion you have to educate your child will motivate you to seek out all of the resources that you need. You know your child best and you have their best interest in heart. Consequently, your motivation as a homeschool mom will not just simply be to pass this year of school but, to equip your child for lifelong learning and adulthood.
When do I need to start? As you play with, observe and interact with your child, be a student. Just watch them with delight. Every child is unique in their timing to start a formal education. Playing is the job of children and a great way to learn! As they play, take notes. Support those areas of learning that are fascinating to them. You may find that there is no official start date. Life learning will just be the next step that will become their education.
I don’t know where to start. This is a really common situation and you are not alone. Rest assured that at this point in history, many have gone before you and have helped pave the way for your success. An excellent place to begin is to find your state homeschool association. To do that you can go to HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) and find out the laws of your state as well as how to contact a local support group. In addition, track down many support groups on facebook like Homeschool Successfully and Homeschool Freedom Discussion Group or follow a hashtag like #homeschoollife, #homeschoolmom, or #homeschooling on Instagram.
What about curriculum? The curriculum world is HUGE. It does take a little time to find out what style fits you best. You will find that individual publishers have sites you can google. However, getting an overview on a site like Timberdoodle , Rainbow Resource, or Christian Book Distributors will get you started. These sites all give a good description of products and carry several publishers.
I need simplicity and, I don’t want to spend too much. You don’t need to spend a ton of money for a good education. Often we think that a formal theory is necessary to accomplish learning. For example, instead of a workbook that shows the steps of sweeping a floor, washing a dog or making a sandwich, let your child do those things! If you want a book as a guide for you I can suggest a few. Though it is out of print one of my favorite books to refer people to is “Early Education At Home” by Jean Soyke. You can still find inexpensive copies on Amazon and several thrift retailers like ABE Books. Another very simple preschool curriculum that will bring you joy in learning is “Five in a Row”.
Here’s The Bottom Line:
Live life! Playing is learning! Encourage a lifelong quest for knowledge and an inquisitive mind. Read. Inspire imagination. Try new things. You never know what will spark their interest. Don’t discount life learning like caring for elderly, younger siblings, or pets. You want to do more than check the box of “school time” or “academics”.
And what if you “get it wrong? The truth is, we as parents are learning too. The example we give to our children of our journey in education can be a lesson in and of itself. Don’t give up! If a particular method doesnt work, try another way. You are resilient and you are teaching problem solving methods! You may not feel “smart enough” or “patient enough”. It is ok. You only have to be a few steps ahead and you will not only grow in your own knowledge but grow in patience.
If as you travel down this homeschool road you find your toddler looking for some diversion, I share a few ways to keep your toddler busy in this post if you need some ideas.